Botched bodies

Plastic surgeon wants law to protect Jamaicans

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Senior staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

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ONE of the island's top plastic surgeons is advocating the establishment of a specialist registry in light of a significant increase in the demand for body contour surgeries across the island.

Senior plastic surgeon at the University Hospital of the West Indies Dr Guyan Arscott also wants the Government to format legislation that would facilitate this registry, something, he said, the Jamaica Medical Council has been working on for some time now.

The issue came to the fore at yesterday's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange where Arscott told reporters that legislation to decide who can perform this procedure does not exist.

Body contour surgery, Arscott said, includes surgery on the breast, liposuction of the stomach, back, buttocks, and thighs, among other areas.

“If we try to educate the public of what is available then they have a choice, and if I tell you that we have a training programme at the university with doctors...then the patient at least has a choice [about who operates on them],” he said.

“Not only can any other doctor go out there and inject whatever, but there are instances in this country where non-doctors and in fact even non-nurses fly into this country and inject all sorts of materials into buttocks all over the place,” Dr Arscott told editors and reporters at the Exchange held at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue headquarters in Kingston.

“We are familiar with prostheses, implants, knee joints and so on, but the wave of interest in terms of body contour surgery has sort of increased. I know in France they were using non-medical grade silicone to inject. We have had patients, when they come with these complications you can't get it out. They're just going to leak pus for months and years,” Dr Arscott said.

He also said these procedures are not taking place in medical facilities or medical centres but instead at homes or even hotels.

The surgeon said in the event of complications resulting from botched surgeries, if the patient fails to make a report there is nothing the medical council can do.

“The laws tell you about that. So it's a very difficult [situation]. We have a particular dilemma, in that we know these things are happening. People come to us; we see them. I see patients come from the Dominican Republic. Jamaicans fly out to Dom Rep a lot; some get good work, some get poor work. Some come back and we try and sort it out,” said Arscott.

“It (legislation) is desperately needed. That would give members of the public, insurance carriers, other interest groups, a reference point to deal with many aspects of health care,” he continued.

He noted that the only step to countering these ill-advised procedures is through public education.

In April, the British Broadcasting Corporation ( BBC) reported that the Government in England had set its sights on launching a campaign to tackle botched cosmetic procedures.

The BBC said this follows a rise in the number of people seeking surgeries such as “Brazilian butt lifts” overseas, which, in some instances, have led to deaths.


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