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  1. ITV Report

Campaign warning of dangers of 'botched' cosmetic procedures set to launch

A Government campaign to warn the public about the dangers of unregulated cosmetic procedures and inform and educate them about it, is set to launch next month.

UK law currently allows anyone - whether they are a medical professional such as a doctor or a non-medic such as a beautician - to administer injectable cosmetic products such as fillers.

An ITV News investigation earlier in 2019 found a huge number of these procedures are going wrong - and those carrying them out are often not able to correct mistakes.

The number of official complaints about non-surgical procedures has more than doubled to over 600 cases in the last three years, according to Save Face, a company running a government-recognised national register of accredited practitioners.

In a survey carried out for ITV News, it found lip filler errors made up almost 70% of all corrective work and 47% of procedures that led to complaints were carried out by beauticians.

The vast majority of complaints over injectable cosmetic procedures are over botched lip fillers. Credit: ITV News

Yet because there is no legal requirement to report mistakes if things go wrong the exact number of errors may be far higher.

Rachael Knappier suffered a catastrophic injury after a lip augmentation treatment went wrong and filler was injected into an artery.

A filler was incorrectly injected into an artery in Rachael's lip, which left untreated could have cause necrosis. Credit: ITV News/Rachael Knappier

Ms Knappier, whose treatment was administered by a beauty therapist, told ITV News of the unbearable pain she suffered after having filler injected into her lip to even out a lump.

"My top lip was touching my nose and it was then that I started to realise just how much pain I was in," she said.

"It felt like a burning throbbing pulsating feeling and it was as if my lips were just seconds away from bursting."

She added: "The filler had been injected into an artery and it’s the artery that runs from the centre of your lip, from up here, so it was causing a mass blockage.

"Left untreated that leads to necrosis, which is the death of the soft tissue on your lip. That’s irreversible damage."

Ms Nappier followed guidance from the NHS and contacted the beautician who treated her to ask for the work to be corrected, but instead discovered she needed the help of a doctor.

Fortunately she was able to find a doctor willing to dissolve the filler in her lip.

Rachael Knappier was able to find a doctor willing to dissolve the filler in her lip. Credit: ITV News

Earlier this year, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), a self-regulating body of medical professionals, called for much tighter regulation on who is legally allowed to inject fillers in the UK.

Nora Nugent, a spokesperson for BAAPS and a plastic surgeon, told ITV News she thinks to "perform an invasive procedure, which any injectable treatment, that person at the very least should have some medical training".

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England's Department of Health said it hopes to tackle the number of "botched" cosmetic procedures, and the resulting impact on a person's mental and physical health, as well as the cost to the NHS of treatment following such procedures.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: "Anyone considering a cosmetic procedure should take the time to find a reputable, safe, and qualified practitioner, and make sure they understand the impact of any treatment on their physical and mental health.

“We’re working to improve the safety of cosmetic procedures, through better training and clear information so that people can make informed decisions about their care.”