Glory Above Credibility?

Posted on the 09 March 2010 at 12:17

Last week I was privileged to be invited to attend a global experts meeting in Miami for a leading dermal filler company. Being the only UK doctor, I was quite apprehensive as the delegate list included doctors whose work I have admired and whose research has paved the way forward for the aesthetic speciality. The meeting was extremely educational on numerous levels and I felt I was able to contribute effectively on several topics.

However I was awestruck by the amount of research each of the American doctors had carried out to help advance our knowledge. The US Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) comes under a lot of criticism there, like the Care Quality Commission has done here in the UK, but what the FDA does create, is a culture to provide good evidence based medicine, more akin to NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) here in the UK.

In the US, the doctors strive to have work published in the peer-reviewed medical journals, and to have recognition from their colleagues from around the world. This culture is in stark contrast to how the British cosmetic doctors practice. Here, the most 'visible' doctors are just that. The 'journals' which they strive to be in are the consumer glossies, rather than the respected peer-review journals. This practice, goes all the way to the top of the British Association of Cosmetic Doctors (BACD) where highly experimental treatments are lauded in the consumer press before they have been established medically, all carefully planned to drive more business.

This is so wrong.

We are doctors, and if our 'leaders' don't practice with ethics and have no desire to prove their latest claims then how can they be a good representation for us? The BACD should, in my opinion, be encouraging its members to lead the field in research rather than focussing on public relations to the consumer press.

We all treat hundreds if not thousands of patients each year so we all have the resources to collect data and develop some research. Research would provide both doctors and patients guidance on which treatments are effective, as well as keep newer treatments under appropriate scrutiny. So instead of striving for publication in "The Daily Mail" surely we should aim for the likes of "The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology" or "The Journal of Dermatological Surgery".  Any publication in these journals would prove much more credible for all involved providing security in true data rather than glory of the sometimes tainted press.

As I result, I have started several research projects and hope to present this data next year.

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