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The Dangers of Black Market Injectables & Backyard Facial Plastic Surgery


The Sydney Morning Herald recently reported an alarming trend in NSW that is likely occurring in other states as well. Cosmetic surgery procedures, from seemingly safe dermal filler treatments to complex eyelid surgeries, are routinely performed by unregistered practitioners. Luring unsuspecting consumers with discounted rates, they put their clients…

“…at greater risk for poor surgical outcomes, severe infections, and even nerve damage or disfigurement.”Dr Jeremy McAnulty, Acting Chief Health Officer, NSW

According to the New York Times, the danger doesn’t stop with the practitioners.  They do business in a black market filled with unsafe, unregulated products.

“The most frequent side effects from these beauty treatments are lumps and bumps and lopsided or grossly exaggerated facial features.”

So, Who Can You Trust? A Licensed Professional, That’s Who

In an interview with the International Medical Travel Journal, Doctor Michael Edwards of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery said:

“Patients fall prey to unlicensed physicians because of the misconception that anyone with a medical degree can safely perform any surgical procedure. There is a need for countries to establish strict regulations controlling who can perform surgery procedures and the surgical setting in which they are performed to reduce surgical complications and deaths.“ 

The law restricts treatments with dermal fillers and neurotoxins. Cosmetic medicine injections are to be administered only by a medical practitioner or by a nurse giving the injections under the supervision of a medical doctor.

Despite the law, backyard operations using black market medicines are popping up every day. When questioned, practitioners admit that there is no doctor on site. Still they boldly advertise injectable treatments on consumer sites such as Gumtree. The results for people who choose them can be catastrophic.

She Paid the Ultimate Price for Cheap Injectables

An estimated 1.5 million doses of cosmetic medicine injectables are administered in Australia each year.The proliferation of these illegal “shot shops” makes it almost impossible to close them all down.

In one notable case, a 46-year old woman died as a result of a black market cosmetic treatment. An unlicensed practitioner who promised a cheap alternative to buttock augmentation injected cooking oil into her buttocks.The woman spent a week in a coma following the procedure and ultimately succumbed to multiple organ failure due to fat embolisation, as the oil injected into her buttocks attacked her body functions.

Don’t fall prey to these unlicensed hacks. Always check credentials and remember: What you pay for is what you get. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.