Dr Cormac Convery is co-founder and Medical Director of the Ever Clinic

CONTRARY to popular myth, most people do not approach the medical intervention of aesthetic surgery lightly. Rather, they are seeking a practical and enduring result to an issue which has been adversely affecting their lives.

In the overwhelming majority of procedures carried out by sensible, qualified professionals, this is exactly the result which is achieved, and it is no exaggeration to say that patients’ lives are routinely transformed for the better.

However, as in life, occasionally the unexpected can happen and something can go wrong during or after a treatment, leaving a vulnerable and distraught patient and a bewildered doctor seeking to rapidly rectify the situation.

This is why responsible medical professionals in the field are so willing not only to educate and support practitioners in the sensitive area of complication avoidance and management but to provide real-time expertise, advice and guidance to colleagues.

After several years of contributing to a worldwide group providing support in aesthetic complications, I became a founding member, and now Vice Chair, of the not-for-profit Complications in Medical Aesthetics Collaborative (CMAC), which was established in 2020 to maximise safety in clinical practice.

CMAC is focused on avoiding complications in the first place and, while it accepts that interventions come with inherent risk, it wants to educate and guide to accurately assess that risk.

It remains of concern, however, that not all people seeking aesthetic improvement turn in the first instance to properly qualified practitioners. Prospective patients understandably would like to minimise costs and there are charlatans out there who seek to exploit this impulse.

It may come as a shock that Botox, though it is a prescription drug, can be bought freely on sites such as eBay without the slightest medical justification. The results of this laxity can be quite horrific on a physical and personal level.

What is equally disturbing is that people who find themselves facing post-treatment complications can expect little help – and very little sympathy – from the NHS.

As a general rule, the National Health Service refuses to become involved in such personal tragedies. The view appears to be that, since the original treatment was carried out privately, as far as they are concerned it is simply misadventure.

In part, it is true that there is minimal complication management expertise in the NHS, but it is hard not to feel that they simply don’t want to be involved. The attitude is: we didn’t cause the problem, so we’re not going to fix it. However, that argument is immediately set aside in the case of, say, a motorcycle injury.

It is reassuring that medical and other professionals in the aesthetics field are working collectively and collaboratively to support people suffering as a result of the mistakes of unqualified providers and the indifference of the NHS.

While people with no training in anatomy, no understanding of pharmacology and little regard for basic medical disciplines can continue to trade with impunity, the services of organisations such as CMAC will continue to be of vital importance.