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June 21, 2012

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Plastic surgery patients purchase risky products

DOCTORS from a plastic surgery hospital said they were shocked that a university female student purchased a 35 yuan (US$5.50) silica gel product online and asked the hospital to reshape her nose.

The product is similar to those made by professional companies. But it did not have a name, the manufacturer's name nor the expiration date on the package, said doctors, who refused the request.

Doctors said they have seen similar cases in which people purchased dermal filler and whitening injections online and then bring them to the hospital for cosmetic surgery.

"Plastic surgery and cosmetic injections are becoming popular among university students especially those in junior and senior grades as they feel it well help them secure a better job," said Liu Qi, a spokesperson from Shanghai Time Plastic Surgery Hospital, which yesterday offered consultations for local university students on plastic surgery.

"Double eye-lid, facial reshaping, nose reshaping and acne removal are the most popular services among these students," Liu said.

Licensed hospitals and clinics will refuse requests to use products bought online as they only use silica gels and cosmetic injections purchased through official channels. They keep all records about such products for government checks in case a dispute occurs.

"But such requests could be met at underground clinics or beauty parlors, which hire doctors to work in their off hours," Liu said.

"This is very risky as products bought online may be inferior, the doctors willing to do this may not be skilled and the surgical environment may not be hygienic at unlicensed beauty parlors."

She said questionable products could cause an infection or more serious consequences. "A cosmetic injection requires a highly skilled doctor. We have seen patients with uneven faces after they had a cosmetic injection at beauty parlors."

Nose reshaping surgery costs about 10,000 yuan (US$1,572) in local hospitals while beauty parlors charge less than 5,000 yuan, insiders said.

Doctors said hospitals use medical-grade silica gel products without side effects, while the 35 yuan product bought online could be made of industrial silica gel or recycled plastic.

Du Bing from the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration said authorities have given licenses for drug sales on Taobao and some 10 online stores have been given approval to sell medicines.

"These stores must follow the law for drug sales and it is illegal to sell drugs and medical appliances that expand their business scope without approval," Du said. "Stores without a sales permit can't sell pharmaceuticals."

"We received many complaints and have sent all this information to the state FDA," Du said. "Taobao is under the administration of Hangzhou FDA in Zhejiang Province."

On popular e-commerce platform, cosmetic surgery products are being sold at prices ranging from 15 yuan to 100 yuan per piece.

Taobao officials told Shanghai Daily they are looking into the case to see whether the products need to be pulled for violating the website's regulations.


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