Patients run the risk of going blind by attending untrained ‘pseudo-science’ practitioners for dermal filler treatments.
A dermal filler is a liquid gel that is injected into the face to “restore volume in older patients” or to “change the shape and structure of younger patients”.
Sisu Clinic Director Dr Brian Cotter said receiving the fillers is “quick and safe” when done correctly – but they are not currently regulated properly.
“Anyone can purchase a dermal filler on the internet, and anyone, irrespective of qualification or no qualification, can inject dermal filler into the face,” he told The Pat Kenny Show.
While Botox is classified as a drug and can therefore only be used by doctors and dentists, dermal filler is a ‘medical device’.
“That’s the real danger,” Dr Cotter said. “Literally anyone can get it.
“It’s an unregulated industry targeting a younger demographic... they view it not as anti-aging but as ‘wellness'.
“The average age [of dermal filler patients] has gone from mid 50s to late 20s... we've had people as young as 16 with their parents, very distressed what’s happening.”
People often go to Sisu Clinic after receiving dermal fillers from "pseudo-science" practitioners that go wrong.
“If you inject anything into the face and if you unintentionally inject it into an artery,” he said. “You can block the blood flow to certain parts of the face.”
Dr Cotter said several people have come to his clinic with “near misses” after incorrectly injecting a filler, ranging from an infection to something much more serious.
“Somebody had injected in a dermal filler and narrowly missed an artery that can actually result in blindness,” he said.
Until the dermal filler is properly classified as a drug by the Government, the Health Products Regulatory Authority cannot enforce any sanctions on people administrating the product wrong.
Dr Cotter and his colleagues have contacted Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, asking him to take the steps to register dermal filler as an official drug.
“I implore the minster to give the HPRA the power, the legislation and the arsenal to go and do their job,” he said.
Legislation only comes in the backend of outcry of catastrophic events.”