Going to a properly qualified injector to perform injectable procedures is so important, and now one state is doing something about it.
Last week, the Nevada Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard Las Nevada SB10, a bill introduced by Nevada state senator Joe Hardy to prevent medical assistants, aestheticians and dental hygienists from injecting botulinum toxin and soft tissue fillers. The bill does not affect specially trained nurses.
“Botox and fillers are becoming increasingly popular across the country,” says Las Vegas plastic surgeon Goesel Anson, MD, who testified in support of the bill. “Their popularity and financial incentives attract medical and non-medical practitioners. As a consequence, many states are seeing the need to evaluate which professionals have appropriate background and training. I have a great deal of respect for medical assistants, aestheticians and dental hygienists and consider them very important members of a professional team, but they should not be considered qualified to perform medical procedures outside the scope of their training.”
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As Dr. Anson stresses, the issue is not simply a turf battle. “It really is a patient safety issue. I have been referred multiple serious complications after injectable treatments by unqualified injectors including infections and tissue damage. Of course, there are risks even with experienced injectors. In my view, that makes it even more important to keep the odds on the side of patient safety.”
Las Vegas plastic surgeon Christopher Khorsandi, MD, says he’s also treated a number of complications as a result of unqualified injectors just over the past year, and he backs the bill. “I have been working in the past year as president of the Las Vegas Plastic Surgery Society, along with the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS), on the ground in Las Vegas to oppose the use of fillers and Botox by dental hygienists. We feel that this practice is entirely outside the scope of training and practice for these individuals, and represents a danger to the public. Although these dental professionals work in and around the mouth, they aren’t able to handle the potential complications that can arise from improper injection.”
Both doctors stress that formal training is so vital to performing procedures on patients.
“A qualified medical professional that takes on the responsibility of injecting toxins and fillers should have the technical skills required with in-depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology,” Dr. Anson says. “They should understand the risks and potential complications, know how best to minimize risks, recognize problems if they occur, know how to treat complications and when to refer to someone with more experience.”
Dr. Anson notes that the bill has received widespread support and that dental hygienists were the only group that testified in opposition to the bill. “Currently, there are no states that allow dental hygienists to perform these injections.”