Stephen McCulley, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon. MBChb, FCS(SA)Plast, FRCS(plast)

The Apprentice’s High Street Botox Business Slammed by Surgeons

The Apprentice winner Leah Totton may have won over Lord Sugar with her business plan for high street Botox clinics but cosmetic surgeons are not so sure. Leah, who has recently graduated from medical school, had the winning idea to open a chain of clinics specialising in skin treatments such as chemical peels, Botox and dermal fillers. Her prize was a cash injection of £250,000 from Lord Sugar.

Surgeons have condemned the BBC as ‘trivialising’ cosmetic surgery. In an interview in The Independent James McDiarmid, a consultant plastic surgeon and spokesman for Baaps, said “Having Leah Totton running Botox clinics is like saying that someone, aged 17, who has just passed their driving test can be a Formula One driver.”

TV presenter Dr Christian Jesson had similar concerns, he commented on Twitter, “Alan Sugar has certainly not done patient safety and medical aesthetics any favours by promoting very junior doc 2 run Botox/filler clinics.”

Regulations need to be increased

The winning idea is a stark contrast to the NHS’s recent report on cosmetic surgery which revealed that cosmetic procedures need to be more tightly regulated. Procedures such as dermal fillers, Botox and chemical peels were highlighted as particular areas for concern as these treatments can legally be performed by anyone, no matter what training they’ve had. Although these treatments are less invasive than surgery, they still carry risks and can cause blindness, infection and scarring if not completed correctly.

Finding a practitioner 

Non-surgical treatments are already available on the high street in beauty clinics and spas and although these may seem like a convenient option, make sure you do some research before committing to a treatment. Find out how long they’ve been practicing and what qualifications and experience they have. If in doubt speak to a qualified cosmetic surgeon who has experience in these non-surgical treatments for advice.

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