Medical Board of Australia releases new guidelines on cosmetic and surgical procedures

The Medical Board of Australia has released guidelines, informing practitioners who perform cosmetic medical and surgical procedures

The guidelines follow a series of mishaps where individuals have been harmed by cosmetic and surgical procedures. These guidelines intend to keep patients safe whilst not restricting practitioners from doing their job effectively.


The rallying support from stakeholders to create better protocol led to the Medical Board seeing advice from various professionals, attempting to find a middle ground to ensure that patients are aware of the risks involved, that patients are provided with adequate post-operative care and that costs of procedures are clear and not masked or vague. The new guidelines seek to address areas of concern such as informed consent, with doctors now being more explicitly requested to give concise and clear information on any complications that could occur during or post procedure.

Taking effect from the 1st of October 2016, the guidelines are as follows:

  • A seven-day cooling off period for all adults before major procedures
  • A three-month cooling off period before major procedures for all under 18s and a mandatory evaluation by a registered psychologist, general practitioner or psychiatrist
  • A seven day cooling off period before minor procedures for all under 18s, and when clinically indicated, evaluation by a registered psychologist, general practitioner or psychiatrist
  • The treating medical practitioner to take explicit responsibility for post-operative patient care and for making sure there are emergency facilities when they are using sedation, anaesthesia or analgesia
  • A mandatory consultation before a medical practitioner prescribes schedule 4 (prescription only) cosmetic injectables, either in person or by video consultation, and
  • Medical practitioners to provide patients with detailed written information about costs.

These new guidelines see a shift in the way procedures are handled, with a modification from past draft guidelines which imposed increased regulatory requirements but did not better patient safety.

Medical Board of Australia Chair Dr Joanna Flynn states “The changes prioritise patient safety and reduce some of the regulatory requirements proposed in the previous draft guidelines, when either there was no evidence of improved safety or the costs significantly outweighed the benefits of a proposal”

This article is a reprint of the media statement issued by the Medical Board of Australia, available here: