You’ll Soon Need A Psychological Assessment Before Having Cosmetic Surgery

Thanks to new regulations that will come into effect from July 1st 2023, anyone seeking a facelift, nose job, breast implants and even Botox will have to pass a psychological assessment first before going under the knife or needle.
The Medical Board of Australia's (MBA) new rules will require any patient seeking the aforementioned procedures to see their GP first for psychological evaluation. They will then need to get a referral from their GP and attend another two meetings with their surgeon to evaluate their mental health.
Dr. Tim Edwards, President of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, told the ABC that a GP referral wouldn't be required for those seeking fillers, injections or other non-surgical procedures. However, these procedures can now only be administered by a medical practitioner or registered nurse, and patients will still need to undertake a psychological screening first.
The new regulations state that a cosmetic practitioner has to discuss other options with their patient, including the option of not having the surgery at all. They also must discuss the patient's motivations for the surgery and look out for "red flags", including a perceived need to please others or strong feelings about their physical appearance. Patients will also be required to disclose if another practitioner has ever declined to give them cosmetic surgery in the past.
Ultimately, the assessment has been designed to determine whether the person seeking surgery has a condition like Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and as such, surgery might not ultimately be in their best interests. If the screening indicates that BDD or any other underlying psychological issue that's driving them to cosmetic solutions, the cosmetic doctor must refer the patient back to their GP or a mental health professional for further assessment before proceeding with any kind of surgery.
"We are requiring cosmetic surgery patients to get a referral from a GP and a longer, mandated cooling-off period between the patient giving informed consent and the procedure," said Dr Anne Tonkin, Medical Board of Australia Chair.
"We're also making it clear that it needs to be the practitioner themselves giving the patient the information at the beginning, and responsible for appropriate care after the procedure. It is also up to the practitioner to be up-front about their training, expertise and experience, and to be up-front about the total costs."
These new regulations come after a report revealed serious concerns about the cosmetic industry, as well as its effects on people with conditions like BDD. The independent review commissioned by the MBA followed "media reports that revealed serious patient safety concerns including hygiene breaches, poor patient care, unsatisfactory surgical outcomes, and aggressive and inappropriate advertising." As a result, certain terms and phrases such as "perfect", "hot" and "younger" will now be banned from appearing in advertisements for surgical and non-surgical procedures.
“The Board can’t limit surgery to surgeons – that’s not how the law works,” the Medical Board said. "[But] the new measure adds a layer of protection for patients, who will in future be able to discuss their motivation for cosmetic surgery with their GP who has the best knowledge of their medical history and can share this will the doctor being referred to."
"If the screening indicates the patient has significant underlying psychological issues which may make them an unsuitable candidate for the cosmetic surgery, they must be referred for evaluation to a psychologist, psychiatrist or GP."
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