Medical professionals share concern over beauty therapists’ facial anatomy dissection course

04 Jan 2016

Aesthetic medical professionals have voiced their concern following the launch of a facial dissection course designed to offer training to beauty therapists. Cosmetic Couture, a company that offers aesthetic training to beauty therapists, ran the two-day course in December, which aimed to raise the safety standards of those participating in aesthetic training and increase the anatomical knowledge of practitioners. An external anatomist who provides anatomy teaching through cadaver dissection performed the dissection. Following the release of Cosmetic Couture’s promotional video on YouTube, which has since been removed, aesthetic professionals voiced concerns with beauty therapists receiving training using a cadaver and subsequently offering injectable treatments.

Aesthetic medical professionals have voiced their concern following the launch of a facial dissection course designed to offer training to beauty therapists.

Cosmetic Couture, a company that offers aesthetic training to beauty therapists, ran the two-day course in December, which aimed to raise the safety standards of those participating in aesthetic training and increase the anatomical knowledge of practitioners. An external anatomist who provides anatomy teaching through cadaver dissection performed the dissection.

Following the release of Cosmetic Couture’s promotional video on YouTube, which has since been removed, aesthetic professionals voiced concerns with beauty therapists receiving training using a cadaver and subsequently offering injectable treatments.

The video was originally shared by the Safety in Beauty campaign, which aims to raise awareness and restrict bad practice within the cosmetic surgery and aesthetic industry. As such, the video generated a large social media response from medical aesthetic professionals concerned with its content. 

President of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) Mr Fazel Fatah said, “A cadaver dissection course geared towards non-medics beggars belief. How is a beauty therapist qualified to perform invasive treatments that require anatomy training? Non-surgical doesn’t mean non-medical!” 

Chair of the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses Sharon Bennett also shared her concerns, stating, “Although I applaud the initiative to expand on education and training, it is of grave concern that this course has been taught to beauty therapists by someone non-medical.”

Consultant aesthetic and plastic surgeon and founder of Facial Anatomy Training Mr Dalvi Humzah added, “A person who is performing a dissection should be qualified not only in the anatomy but also in the techniques of injection and problems that one may see when performing non-surgical treatments. I would expect that person to have a high level of experience in anatomy, at a level required for teaching.”

Social media users also criticised Newcastle University for allowing use of its facilities for this purpose, however Cosmetic Couture and the University have since confirmed that it was solely responsible for the materials and facilities provided and did not in any way accredit the course, which was run independently. 

Dr Debra Patten, director of anatomy and clinical skills at Newcastle University and senior lecturer in anatomy, said, “While predominantly our body donors are used to deliver anatomy teaching to medical, dental, speech science and speech therapy students, we also deliver anatomy teaching to paramedics and physiotherapists and to other practitioners who require knowledge of anatomy and physiology.” She added, “As always, any Human Tissue Authority guidelines are strictly adhered to and all cadaveric material is treated with the utmost respect.”

The director of Cosmetic Couture, Maxine McCarthy, is a beauty therapist and tutor with 20 years’ experience in the aesthetic, beauty and sports industries. She said, “The two days provided an invaluable resource for a small number of practitioners to study, in depth, the nerve structures of the face and to ensure that the highest level of safety and protection is offered to clients undergoing cosmetic procedures.” 

Consultant plastic surgeon and former president of the BAAPS Mr Rajiv Grover noted, however, “This is not just about teaching how to inject – anyone can wield a needle – it’s about those injectors not being equipped to deal with consequences should something go wrong.”

Mr Humzah added, “It is important courses are run for practitioners to uphold their skills and knowledge, however the problem lies with who is teaching it. We need to establish a faculty to monitor who is offering training and the standards of training available.” 

Bennett concluded, “2016 will see the announcement of a Joint Cosmetic Council, initiated by the British College of Aesthetic Medicine and the BACN, and supported by the Department of Health, which will allow for all cosmetic training and courses to work to industry agreed standards and be accredited. It has been a long time coming and will not happen over night, however it will put an eventual stop to this type of practice.” 

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