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So many injectors- what’s the difference anyway?

Question Time

Ask Dr Imaan: So many places offer injectable treatments and the prices are so different! What’s the difference? 

Great question and one I am surprised more people aren’t asking!

At present, by Australian law, the following registered practitioners, who are appropriately trained, may undertake cosmetic injectables:

– Nurses who’ve undergone training

– Doctors who’ve undergone training

-dentists who’ve undergone training

What’s the difference? 

  • Most nurses cannot prescribe medications which includes anti wrinkle and fillers and the numbing agents used. They cannot legally buy them, prescribe them or store them. Most nurses also cannot independently inject patients for treatments with the appropriate supervision by a doctor, who must also prescribe the treatment for that patient.
  • Dentists are usually limited in what medications they can prescribe.
  • Doctors train and are usually able to legally prescribe, purchase and store these medications.

Most people in Australia seeking cosmetic treatments attend a clinic, either run by a nurse or a chain clinic wherein nurses operate. If you’ve attended one of these, you’ll recall that the nurse would talk to you, determine treatment, and then call a doctor usually via Skype or FaceTime. You may or may not see the doctor face to face, who may or may not ask you a relevant medical history before authorising the nurse to treat you. 

If you’ve been injected BEFORE the consultation with the doctor, this is illegal.

With a doctor such as me, here are the differences: 

– I meet you face to face, in person

-I spend the time to take your history, take photos in a series of movements. If you have medical reasons for why you shouldn’t have treatment, I’ll tell you.

– I sit down with you and ask you your areas of concern and offer my opinion and exact costs

– if your budget doesn’t meet the recommended treatment, I’d rather turn you away than to accept your money for a dodgy job that will disatisfy you. I don’t believe in upselling.

-if you’re willing to continue, I talk to you about consent and what’s involved in detail. I talk to you about common and rare side effects and complications. If something goes wrong, the buck to fix the issue stops with ME as I am qualified to treat them in most cases.

– I talk to you about before and aftercare and then you have two options- to go home and think about it and to book of you wish (or go elsewhere), or to have treatment that very day.

Theres no third party involved- I don’t need permission from anyone else, I don’t rely on someone else’s authorisation or prescription.

Training times for cosmetic injectables 

-all nurses must be registered. Usual training times to become nurse injectors are around 2 weeks after which they are free to work and have regular ongoing monthly workshops they may choose to attend for ongoing training. There are some great nurse injectors out there and I work with a few of them, and it works like a great team.

– all doctors spend years studying anatomy of the entire body. We learn on cadavers, and focus on bones, muscles, nerves and vessels. We learn about normal anatomy and normal variants that people may have. Most doctors who train in cosmetic injectables usually only need 2 days as we have the rest of the skills from years of medical training. More so if we trained in surgery for some years, as I have.

The market is largely an unregulated industry, with many loopholes, so it is important to do your homework and make the decision that best suits you- it’s your FACE and I am of the firm belief that you get what you pay for so choose wisely.







  • Dr Imaan Joshi has been working as a doctor since graduation from the University of Sydney in 2001. She spent years between 2004-2011 as a surgical trainee before switching to a different speciality program for work-life balance. She is passionate about her work in Medicine and especially about procedural Medicine, and loves her work as a Cosmetic Physician. When she isn't working, she is busy focusing on an active life with her family, which includes 4 active children! Dr S Imaan Joshi BSc, MBBS, FRACGP


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