Government approved register Save Face are calling for an urgent ban on these procedures and say it is a crisis waiting to happen.
A new study has revealed that 99% of medical professionals do not perform non-surgical BBL and breast augmentation procedures as they deem them too dangerous. Despite this, they are being offered by laypeople, hairdressers and beauticians who have no healthcare experience and are unable to manage potential complications.
Save Face has conducted this research after receiving an alarming influx of patient reported complaints relating to these procedures which are being carried out using vast amounts of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers which are being injected directly into the buttocks, hips and breasts of people wanting to augment these areas without going under the knife. The treatments are advertised on social media as risk free, cheaper alternatives to their surgical counterparts but that could not be further from the truth. Save Face say that these treatments are becoming increasingly popular and that the Government must act quickly to prevent fatalities.
Since 2021, the government approved register has seen an exponential increase in complaints from patients suffering extremely dangerous, life-threatening complications that have left them permanently disfigured and in excruciating pain. In the past year, the body has been contacted by over 200 people who have had unwanted outcomes, adverse reactions, and complications, over 70% of which have required hospitalisation and 39% needing corrective surgery. All the complaints reported were regarding treatments carried out by non-medical practitioners.
To gather a wider evidence base of the issues relating to these treatments and to get a better understanding of the range of practitioners offering them, Save Face surveyed their database of practitioners.
Over 2000 registered healthcare professionals who practice aesthetic medicine responded to the survey and a staggering 99% of them said that they do not offer these treatments due to the ‘significant’ risks involved. Amongst the respondents were plastic surgeons, doctors, and nurses and who despite their extensive experience and qualifications would not expose their patients to the risks associated with these procedures.
Save Face Registrant and Plastic Surgeon Dr Paul Baguley said;
I made an oath to “do no harm”.
There is nothing about the way this treatment is currently offered that is either safe, moral, or ethical. The only outcome from this procedure is an unquestioningly poor result which comes at great cost to the patient who is drawn in by false advertising into a shockingly dangerous environment with a very real potential of death from complications.
The demand for these treatments is increasing exponentially as is the number of lay injectors offering them. With an average cost of over £2,000 per treatment, unscrupulous practitioners who have no healthcare experience are prioritising profits over patient safety and are leaving the NHS to pick up the tab and manage the complications. 96% of the patients who reported complications to Save Face were treated by NHS services after being ignored or misadvised by their practitioner.
Unlike with facial fillers where complications can be managed effectively by skilled injectors, these procedures often require hospital settings, intravenous drugs, and surgical intervention to rectify.
Save Face are calling for the government to take urgent action to ban these procedures.
Louise Moller was amongst the raft of women who contacted Save Face for help when her non-surgical BBL procedure went wrong. The 27-year-old had the procedure after seeing it advertised on social media. She travelled to Essex from her home in Bolton to get the procedure done by a non-healthcare practitioner. She didn’t have any consultation prior to the treatment, the practitioner injected 500mls of hyaluronic acid dermal fillers into her buttocks. During the treatment, she felt severe shooting pains on the left side of her buttock and leg and was given additional pain relief. She was then handed a basic aftercare leaflet and was sent back home to Bolton. Over the following days, the left side of Louise’s buttocks became very swollen and red, and she advised the practitioner that she was in so much pain that she could hardly walk. The practitioner said that all looked to be ok and advised her to take the antibiotics they gave her which were not appropriately prescribed.
Her symptoms got progressively worse, and she was taken to hospital by ambulance. At the hospital she was told by Surgeons that she had sepsis and that she needed urgent surgical intervention to remove the infected and dead tissue. Without surgery, Louise was told she would have been dead within the hour.
The impact that this has had on Louise’s life has been immeasurable. Over 2 months later, she is scarred for life, is still in significant pain and must have her wound dressings changed regularly by district nurses.
Louise’s experience is not isolated, 28-year-old Naomi from Birmingham was also admitted to hospital after contracting sepsis from a BBL procedure, she said:
I could not walk for the first week after the procedure because of the severity of the sepsis, because of this I was not able to deal with my 1-year-old for 2 weeks at all. I cried myself to sleep every night, I cried every time I changed my bandages.
It is 100% necessary that these procedures are banned because of how negatively it has impacted my life, not just physically but emotionally, mentally, and financially.
Save Face Director Ashton Collins said:
This is a crisis waiting to happen. We are launching this campaign because it will only be a matter of time before someone loses their life. I have seen firsthand the devastating impact these procedures have on the mental and physical wellbeing of the people affected. We need an urgent ban on these treatments to prevent people from being able to inflict the types of life-threating complications that these treatments can cause. Without it, these practitioners will continue to take risks with people’s lives. No practitioner should be offering a treatment that they have to rely on the NHS to manage potential complications.
I am flabbergasted and appalled by the unscrupulous nature of the people who are still offering these treatments even though they know some of their patients have been hospitalised. It is outrageous that laypeople feel it is appropriate for them to offer treatments that surgeons will not perform because they are too dangerous.
Based on the data collected, immediate action needs to be taken to address the risk to life and the financial burden on the NHS. The findings of our report highlight the urgency of implementing legislation to ban these procedures from the high street to ensure public safety.