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Untrained docs enlarging breasts in Switzerland
J Webb (File)

Untrained docs enlarging breasts in Switzerland

Published: 08 Feb 2012 13:34 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Feb 2012 14:25 GMT+01:00

Non-qualified doctors are carrying out one in five breast enlargement operations in Switzerland, plastic surgeons have warned. 

Stefan Hägeli, director of the independent advice centre for cosmetic surgery, Accredis, believes that women between the ages of 20 and 30 years are especially vulnerable.

"This age group is particularly trusting and extremely uncritical,” Hägeli told newspaper 20 Minutes. “It is more important to them to have their breasts enlarged as cheaply and as quickly as possible.”

The Society for Plastic Surgeons (SGPRAC) has written to the government requesting tighter checks on people working in beauty surgery. The SGPRC will meet on Wednesday to discuss how to move matters forward.

The current law allows doctors to decide themselves what operations they are capable of performing. This means that doctors from other specializations such as dermatology or gynaecology are turning their hands to the more profitable enlargement operations.

Only in the event that a patient makes an accusation about her treatment is the doctor’s competency to carry out such an operation assessed.

"The scandal with faulty implants reflects just the tip of the iceberg," SGPRAC board member Dominique Erni said, referring to defective implants made by PIP.

The founder of the now-defunct French company is facing criminal charges over implants produced with industrial-grade silicone to cut costs.  

Despite the call for greater regulation, the Federal Office for Public Health (BAG) is resistant to introducing specialist permits for particular types of surgery.

According to a BAG spokesman, the keeping and updating of a list describing which doctors could perform which operations would be too complicated.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

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