Nowadays in Cosmetic Medicine it appears that everyone is an expert. Look up practitioners on the internet and everyone is a “key opinion leader” a “leader in the field” who has trained widely and who’s “opinions are sought by other doctors and practitioners”. The funny thing is that I have been doing Cosmetic Medicine on the Gold Coast for over 20 years, and I’ve never even heard of some of them. Which got me thinking – what does it take to be an expert in cosmetic medicine? How experienced should you be before you can perform treatments on the general public?
I certainly have a lot of experience – but I would be the first to admit that I sometimes get it wrong or make a mistake. And I have been to countless conferences, seminars and training, and I have performed demonstrations and spoken at many of them, and I have been a clinical trainer for several companies and a clinical trainer and facilitator for The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery.
The thing is this – you can learn the basics of Cosmetic Medicine in a week or even a weekend. And having done so there is nothing illegal in starting to perform treatments, and unfortunately that is exactly what happens. In fact some doctors, dentists and nurses do exactly this. Now Nurses legally must be supervised by a treating doctor in Australia, but there is no requirement for that doctor to have any experience or background in the field at all. Which works just fine – until something goes wrong….
The fact is that cosmetic medicine is not “one size fits all” – everyone’s face is unique. An experienced practitioner knows this – they don’t stock products from just one company, they have a whole ranges of products available so that they can pick the right product for the right area on any given face. They have learned several techniques for treating each problem that they encounter, and have the experience to know which product and which technique will likely work best for that particular patient. They know that one method will produce a good result, but that a different approach may produce a great result.
This is not something that can be learned in a week, a month or even a year. When Registrars of the College spend a couple of months with me as part of their training, I am always acutely aware that at the end of that time we have only scratched the surface of what I would like to teach them.
So beware of the practitioner (be they a doctor, nurse or dentist) who has recently started performing injectable treatments. Even if they are an expert.
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