26 Oct 2022
The Medical Board of Australia (the Medical Board) and Ahpra are making changes to how cosmetic surgery can be advertised.
These changes are being made as part of implementing the recommendations from the Independent review of the regulation of medical practitioners who perform cosmetic surgery (the independent review) by Ahpra and the Medical Board.
In November 2021, Ahpra and the Medical Board commissioned an external, independent review of patient safety issues in the cosmetic surgery industry, including how to strengthen regulation of medical practitioners in the industry.
The final report from the independent review was released on 1 September 2022 and made 16 recommendations to improve patient safety in the cosmetic surgery sector. Four of these recommendations were about cosmetic surgery advertising.
Ahpra and the Medical Board have accepted all the recommendations from the independent review.
Cosmetic surgery is defined as any operation that involves cutting beneath the skin to revise or change the appearance of normal bodily features where there is otherwise no clinical or functional need for the procedure. Examples of cosmetic surgery include breast implants, abdominoplasty, rhinoplasty, surgical face lifts and liposuction.
Cosmetic surgery advertising has particular factors that increase public risk. Because of this, cosmetic surgery advertising which breaches the National Law has now been categorised as high-risk, subject to stronger regulatory action and/or prosecution.
Ahpra and the Medical Board have started work to revise the Guidelines for registered medical practitioners who perform cosmetic medical and surgical procedures (Cosmetic surgery guidelines). We are also developing specific guidelines for medical practitioners who advertise cosmetic surgical procedures to support balanced and acceptable advertising about cosmetic surgery.
The Guidelines for medical practitioners who advertise cosmetic surgery will clarify the standards expected of cosmetic surgery advertising and reiterate the ban on testimonials.
They will make clear that cosmetic surgery advertising should not:
Additionally, the Guidelines for medical practitioners who advertise cosmetic surgery will make clear that cosmetic surgery advertising should:
Ahpra and the Medical Board will be releasing revised cosmetic surgery guidelines and proposed Guidelines for medical practitioners who advertise cosmetic surgery for comment soon on the Medical Board’s consultation webpage.
In the meantime, medical practitioners or others who advertise cosmetic surgery procedures should ensure their advertising complies with:
Advertisers are encouraged to consider the findings of the independent review.