Botched BBL in hotel probed and fillers and 'botox' seized in raid

A woman was taken to hospital after having the treatment in Glasgow as demand and concerns around procedures increase.

A woman had to be taken to hospital after undergoing a Brazilian Butt Lift procedure in a Glasgow hotel sparking a watchdog investigation.

It comes after thousands of pounds of unlicensed products used in cosmetic injections were seized from a warehouse in the city in a separate incident earlier this year.

Boxes of dermal fillers, needles and vials of Botulinum toxin, commongly known as botox, worth thousands of pounds, were seized by officers from the Criminal Enforcement Unit (CEU) of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in January.

Environmental health officers from the council and MHRA officers inspected the premises at an industrial estate in the north of the city after receiving complaints from the public and concerns raised by Police Scotland about the type of products being stored, distributed and sold from the premises.

“Environmental Health is currently investigating a recent incident where a woman was hospitalised after undergoing a Brazilian Butt Lift procedure in a Glasgow hotel”

Councillor Ruairi Kelly

During the inspection, a number of unauthorised aesthetic products including almost 400 non-compliant dermal fillers and 320 non-compliant needles/cannulas were seized as well as more than 180 vials of unlicensed and suspected illegally traded botulinum toxin.

It comes after Glasgow’s Environmental Health team received an increasing number of complaints about practices and procedures in aesthetic clinics.

Last month, people were urged to contact the City of Edinburgh Council if they had booked a procedure known as a non-surgical Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL).

Other local authorities in the UK have received complaints after similar procedures were carried out resulting in people suffering serious health complications such as sepsis.

Councillor Ruairi Kelly, Glasgow’s convener of neighbourhood services, stressed the dangers of using unlicensed fillers and unprescribed botulinum toxin.

He said: “The use of unlicensed and unauthorised products and unprescribed medicines in some aesthetics clinics is a serious concern. It is illegal and puts people’s health at risk.”

“Our Environmental Health team has received an increasing number of complaints about practices and procedures in Glasgow aesthetic clinics which don’t need to register with Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS).”

Councillor Kelly said demand for these types of procedures is high and practitioners are travelling around the UK to hold pop-up clinics in locations that are not suitable for this type of treatment.

“Environmental Health is currently investigating a recent incident where a woman was hospitalised after undergoing a Brazilian Butt Lift procedure in a Glasgow hotel,” he said.

“People need to be extremely careful when considering undergoing cosmetic procedures. If they go wrong – the consequences can be painful, disfiguring and require emergency medical treatment.

“Our Environmental Health officers are carrying out inspections of aesthetic clinics in the city to help safeguard the public and will continue to take enforcement action when required.”

Andy Morling, MHRA deputy director (criminal enforcement), said: “Medicines like these are powerful and dangerous in the wrong hands, potentially leading to serious adverse health consequences.

“The criminals trading in these products are not only breaking the law, they also have no regard for people’s safety.

“It is illegal to advertise, sell or supply medicines such as these without the appropriate authorisation. If you see these products, or any other powerful medicines, being sold on social media or elsewhere online, be very cautious. It’s highly unlikely to be legitimate. You can help the MHRA take action by reporting concerns to us through our Yellow Card scheme.

“Our criminal enforcement unit will continue working to protect your health by disrupting this harmful and illegal trade. We’re grateful to our partners in Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland, for helping in our efforts to do this.”

What is botulinum toxin?

Botulinum toxin is a medication used to manage and treat therapeutic and cosmetic purposes.

It is commonly referred to as botox after the trademarked brand of the same name.

The injections relax facial muscles to smooth out lines and wrinkles, such as crow’s feet and frown lines. Dermal fillers are injected into the face and lips to fill lines and wrinkles and add volume to areas such as cheeks. 

Botulinum toxin, which is a Prescription Only Medicine (POM) should only be used if prescribed by a competent person (e.g. doctor, nurse, etc.) and following a one-to-one consultation between the client and prescriber. The Botulinum toxins should also be labelled with the name of the person receiving the injections.

Aesthetics clinics which employ a medical professional such as a doctor, nurse or dentist, must be registered with Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS). But there is no such requirement on those which don’t employ a registered medical professional.

The Scottish Government is considering developing a Licensing Scheme for aesthetic activities.

What is a BBL?

A surgical fat transfer involving the bottom is often known as a Brazilian butt lift (BBL).

A surgical fat transfer is cosmetic surgery to move fat from one part of the body to another. It’s also known as a “fat graft” or “lipomodelling”.

The aim is to remove unwanted fat from an area of the body, such as the tummy or thighs, and use it to smooth or increase the size of another area, such as the breasts or bottom.

A liquid BBL uses hyaluronic acid filler and is touted as a cheaper alternative to the surgery. It typically costs between £2,000 and £3,000.

Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance used in dermal fillers.

The NHS warns that BBLs can be expensive, the results cannot be guaranteed, and there are risks.

In the UK, a surgical fat transfer usually costs between £3,000 and £8,000, depending on the procedure you’re having and size of the area being treated.

There may be additional costs for consultations, aftercare and any further treatment sessions you need.

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