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Underground clinics for cosmetic surgery: the risks you do not know about

Many people have paid a high price as “guinea pigs” for unlicensed cosmetic surgery clinics, only to end up in the hospital with life-threatening complications following botched procedures.

Real plastic surgeons have criticized the broad existence of non-invasive cosmetic surgery training services. When legitimate organizations conduct inspections of unlicensed cosmetic surgery clinics, the clinic proprietors vanish for a while before reappearing. 

Meanwhile, huge hospitals treat victims of botched cosmetic procedures performed at underground clinics, spas, manicure salons, and hair styling salons.

Patients who suffered complications after receiving Botox or filler injections at an unlicensed clinic. In most cases, an embolism was the cause of the necrosis and infection that developed at the injection sites. Filler injection procedures in the nose can sometimes obstruct the ocular artery, leading to blindness or visual loss. 

The patient with necrosis and fluid flowing from her temples had been working as a training model for filler injections at a spa.

The cosmetic surgery clinic utilized a cheaper alternative to the filler it had promised, or even banned substances like silicon and paraffin, with disastrous results for the patient.

The National Hospital of Dermatology treats patients whose filler injections went wrong. Bad surgical procedures and low-quality fillers are primarily to blame for these occurrences.

Swelling, bleeding, or infection are major symptoms of patients suffering mild complications. In extreme cases, patients may even perish.

Every week, the Vietnam-Germany Friendship Hospital treats similar cases. In prior years, the majority of patients were youthful, but now the majority are between 45 and 50 years old.

Since they consider filler injections to be a simple procedure, they frequently visit day spas and nail salons instead of hospitals. To further cut costs, they sometimes purchase fillers from the market and inject them into each other.

The question is, who can deliver?

A medical facility running filler injections and eyelid surgery requires a 54-month (4.5-year) practice certificate, and trainers are doctors and medical college professors.

A medical facility running filler injections and eyelid surgery requires a 54-month (4.5-year) practice certificate, and trainers are doctors and medical college professors.

According to the head of the plastic surgery department at Hanoi Medical University, only a select number of medical schools and specialized hospitals are authorized to provide instruction in filler injection and eyelid surgery within the existing regulations.

Only after nine years of medical school or residency training are doctors allowed to perform such procedures on clients. If they don’t pass the residency exam, they will have to spend time at school for another 10–13 years to get their master’s degree or become a specialist-1 doctor. 

The doctor will need a 54-month (4.5-year) practicing certificate to run a medical facility that offers filler injection services and eyelid surgery, and the trainers will need to be doctors and lecturers at medical colleges. In addition, hospitals must be certified as having met the criteria for giving training.

Conversely, social media ads for training facilities boast course prices of merely VND50 million per training. The high daily volume of patients with complications and the low cost of training shows that these businesses are clearly providing subpar care.

Classes and training sessions are held at the facilities of the centers. The classrooms and laboratories do not meet the standards on infection control and other conditions set by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The spas are currently autonomous businesses that are not under the control of the Ministry of Health. The clinics are allowed to provide standard skin care services, including the use of cosmetics. Since they are already underground, offering injectables like Botox and fillers is a breeze.

Criticizing the current lax supervision of cosmetic operations, a doctor who went to school for cosmetology remarked on his Facebook page that a doctor who spent ten years in school couldn’t make as much as a barber who spent three months in school.

One patient who was hospitalized due to filler injection complications explained to her doctor that the spa employee had shown her numerous certificates and degrees to prove that she was qualified to perform the procedure.

In reality, however, unidentified cosmetic centers rather than any hospital or medical college issued the certificates to one another.

Dentox is a resource for medical professionals looking to learn more about administering Botox injections safely and effectively. You can sign up for a seminar in any of our many accessible U.S. sites or find out more about our live courses at and our online courses at

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