The British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM) is the only UK body representing aesthetic doctors and dentists that conducts an annual survey of its members’ clinical data, collating information about treatments, complications and trends.
The Annual Clinical Review has been carried out since 2012 and the data is shared with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to update and inform government thinking on aesthetic medicine issues. It is used by BCAM to shape strategy and campaigning, providing detailed information about specific issues and patient demographics from the College’s 400 members.
The review is led by BCAM Trustee Dr Aggie Zatonska, supported by Dr Paul Myers who heads the College’s member appraisal and revalidation service. Members respond to dozens of detailed questions in an online survey and the results are collated and interpreted by Dr Zatonska, comparing them to previous years to identify trends.
The data collected in the 2021 Annual Clinical Review covers members’ clinical activity for the whole of the previous year and is mandatory for all BCAM members to complete.
The 2020 data was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; however, this year’s results reflected a trend that was observed in the 2020 survey; namely, BCAM members are seeing growing numbers of complications from treatments carried out by non-medically trained practitioners. Despite beauty salons being closed for long periods during lockdown, the number of complications was higher than that reported in the 2020 survey. Members reported 600 complications from other practitioners, 77% of the those reported were for dermal filler treatments.
The 2021 Annual Clinical Review collects data about member demographics – results show that there is an almost even distribution between male and female members in the College (50.7% of members were male). Almost 70% of responders were aged between 40-59. Approximately 60% of our members have been practising for between 10 and 20 years and 10% of our members have been practising for more than 20 years, highlighting the breadth of experience in the organisation.
Collaboration and connectivity are two key elements of BCAM membership, and the results of the Annual Clinical Review are shared with all members so they can benchmark their own clinical activity against others and compare issues such as complication rates. Members are encouraged to reach out to others with expertise in certain areas and share best practice to improve patient safety – as a registered charity, this is one of BCAM’s central aims.
The 2021 Annual Clinical Review shows that most of our members’ patients are aged between 35 and 60. Approximately 76% of respondents reported that patients aged 18-24 made up less than 10% of their practice. Additionally, 61% reported that men made up 10% or less of their practice.
The survey gives detailed information about the types of treatment provided by BCAM members and allows us to identify trends. As we have seen in previous years, injectable anti-ageing treatments remain the most popular aesthetic treatments offered by our members – 25% of respondents offer body sculpting treatments, which is similar to last year, and figures for weight loss medicine (19.1%), injectable lipotherapy (25.6%) and laser lipolysis (6.2%) also remain consistent with the 2020 data.
The scope of our members’ practice shows these are the most common treatments provided:
- Botulinum toxin injections (provided by 95.3% of members)
- HA dermal fillers (provided by 92.9% of members)
- Chemical peels (provided by 56.2% of members)
- PRP (provided by 42.1% of members)
- Non-HA dermal fillers (provided by 40.9% of members)
- Minor surgical procedures (provided by 36.5% of members)
- Mesotherapy (provided by 39.1% of members)
- Laser / IPL (provided by 35% of members)
- Thread lifts – resorbable (provided by 32.6% of members)
- Non-resorbable threads (provided by 2.6% of members)
Our members reported on approximately 147,000 botulinum toxin treatments, approximately 432 per practitioner per year. The results consistently demonstrate that botulinum toxin treatments have very low complication rates.
This survey allows our members to formally report their workload and demonstrates the quality of the clinical service that is provided. BCAM doctors and dentists can compare their own data with the pooled data provided, for example in the prevalence of significant adverse events. By comparing audit data from the member’s own clinical practice with nationally pooled data from a large sample of aesthetic doctors and dentists, individual members can report on the relative safety of their own treatments. This valuable information can be useful in appraisals as a ‘quality improvement’ activity.
The survey can also be used by our members as a tool for identifying areas to focus their quality improvement activities. It provides information on just under 299,000 individual treatment episodes conducted by respondents. Despite the variabilities created by the pandemic, the 2021 Annual Clinical Review has clearly identified trends that provide a valuable insight into the work of our members and their patients.
The key issues highlighted in this year’s review are:
- 56% of respondents reported seeing patients who required help for complications following treatments by non-medically trained practitioners, a significant increase from last year’s 43% despite beauty salons being closed for much of the time due to the pandemic.
- 77% of complications were for dermal filler treatments.
BCAM has a commitment to education and public safety and uses the results of the annual survey to tailor its member activity. The survey is a robust method of identifying trends and issues, helping BCAM to plan events based on the evidence provided. The College is able to respond effectively to issues highlighted by members and to pass on credible information to the DHSC based on thousands of hours of clinical practice. BCAM prides itself in leading with facts not opinion, which is reflected by this important data collection tool.
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