Pathway to Aesthetic Medicine for General Practitioners

Aesthetic medicine is an area of clinical medicine that aims at improving a person’s physical appearance through evidence-based methods. These methods can be invasive (surgical) or non-invasive and minimally invasive. General practitioners practicing aesthetic medicine in Malaysia are only allowed to perform non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures.

 

Such medical aesthetic procedures that are gaining in popularity include botulinum toxin injection for fine lines, dermal fillers for facial volume replacement, laser for skin pigmentation and skin rejuvenation, laser hair removal, HIFU for skin tightening, etc.

 

Aesthetic Medical Practice in Malaysia

Aesthetic medicine is a scientific discipline that is only a few decades old and is built on work done and published in established specialties such as dermatology and plastic surgery. It is not a specialty or subspecialty in Malaysia, rather, it is considered an area of interest in which medical practitioners registered under the National Registry of Registered Medical Practitioners Practicing Aesthetic Medical Practice can incorporate into their clinical practice.

 

This National Registry is divided into 3 chapters and general practitioners practicing aesthetic medicine are registered to Chapter 1 of the National Registry, while Chapters 2 and 3 are for medical specialists and surgical specialists, respectively.

 

 To be registered under the national registry requires the medical practitioner to first obtain a Letter of Credentialing and Privileging (LCP) in Aesthetic Medical Practice. This LCP is awarded by the Medical Practice Division of Ministry of Health after the candidate’s successful completion of the relevant training and assessments as determined by the Main Credentialing & Privileging Committee of Aesthetic Medical Practice.

The Main Credentialing and Privileging Committee for Aesthetic Medical Practice, appointed by the Director General of Health, consists of members from the Ministry of Health, Academy of Medicine, the Aesthetic Medical Practice Societies and Universities. This committee is directly responsible for all aspects of credentialing and privileging of practitioners involved in aesthetic medical practice.

 

Clinics offering aesthetic medical treatments in Malaysia must be registered with an LCP-holder as the person in charge, and this LCP-holder is responsible for maintaining and operating the facility and service. Only LCP-holders are qualified to practice aesthetic medicine independently in Malaysia. The LCP is valid for 3 years and is renewable upon endorsement by the Main Credentialing and Privileging Committee of Aesthetic Medical Practice.

Aesthetic Medical Practice is both medicine and art

The chief difference between aesthetic medicine and conventional medicine is that patients who seek aesthetic medical treatments are without illness, they are healthy consumer-patients who pay out-of-pocket with the sole aim of improving their appearance. As these treatments are elective, they are only offered in registered private healthcare facilities and are not covered by health insurance.

 

Aesthetic medical procedures although minimally invasive and elective, do still carry certain medical risks. These procedures performed by untrained hands have led to complications that are mild to life-threatening, and as such, there are regulations and guidelines established to safeguard public safety and uphold professional standards.

 

The credentialing process is a form of quality control to ensure a medical practitioner who practices aesthetic medicine is up to par with the standards set by The Main Credentialing and Privileging Committee for Aesthetic Medical Practice.

 

The prerequisites to applying for LCP for General Practitioners

A general practitioner who wishes to apply for the LCP are required to meet the following criteria:

 

  1. Fully registered with the Malaysian Medical Council
  2. Possess current and valid APC
  3. Minimum of two (2) years of clinical experience as a medical officer (or equivalent) after full registration*
  4. Completed two (2) years of relevant training in aesthetic medical practice under supervision/attachment and practising as a general practitioner
  5. Free from any disciplinary action

*Shortening of compulsory service to less than 2 years would require official documents as proof 

 

Aesthetic Medicine Pathway for General Practitioners (Chapter 1)

Aesthetic medicine in Malaysia is a booming industry, and is a particularly attractive career option for many junior doctors looking to transition out of KKM.

 The pathway for GPs looking to pursue aesthetic medicine is summarized with the diagram below:

The Training Modules

According to the Guidelines of Aesthetic Medical Practice, GPs who wish to embark on aesthetic medical practice as a new area of practice are required to undergo training in Aesthetic Medical Practice Courses comprised of:

(I) Introductory Module to Aesthetic Medical Practice  (Theory)

(II) Aesthetic Medical Practice Modules (Modules I-VI) (Clinical)

 

The introductory module covers the basic sciences, ethics, safety and medico-legal issues related to Aesthetic Medical Practice. These lectures are usually conducted in sessions (one weekend per month) over 4 to 6 months. At the end of the module, you will need to pass an assessment to obtain your Certificate of Completion (COC). A COC in the introductory module is a prerequisite for the subsequent Aesthetic Medical Practice Modules.


The Aesthetic Medical Practice Modules (I – VI) consist of clinical training in 6 modules: chemical peels, lasers, Intense Pulse Light, skin tightening procedures, Botulinum toxin injection, registered filler injection. You will be required to demonstrate clinical competence in the modules you wish to be certified in and complete a logbook of the required procedures. A minimum of 20 – 25 procedures will be required for each module. Upon successful completion of each module, a certification of training (COT) will be issued by your supervisors (LCP holders). A complete logbook and two LCP holders as referees will be required for your LCP application.


There are a few medical aesthetic courses available in Malaysia. These courses are conducted by bona fide professional organizations designed to provide you the training and documents required for your LCP application. Part 1 of these aesthetic medical courses covers the introductory module, while Part 2 covers the Practice Modules. Do note that the completion of these courses is not a guarantee to getting your LCP.

 

Applying for LCP

After meeting all the prerequisites, you may apply for the LCP through the Secretariat for Chapter 1, and your application will be compiled and verified by Pertubuhan Doktor Estetik Berdaftar Malaysia (PDEBM).


 You can download the LCP Application form here


LCP Assessments

After your LCP application is compiled and verified, you will need to first pass a written assessment and then a viva assessment. A calling letter will be issued to you via email 4 weeks before the date of each assessment.


The written assessment consists of 100 multiple-choice questions in which you have to choose a single best answer out of 5 statements. There are unlimited attempts to passing this written assessment, however, you will skip a turn after the 3rd attempt. Absentees will also skip a turn. You will need to pass the written assessment to move on to the viva assessment.


During the viva assessment you will be assessed on your medical knowledge, clinical skills, clinical judgment, communication skills and professionalism. Your assessors will be LCP holders and you will need to demonstrate adequate competence in the aesthetic medical procedures you wish to be credentialed in. A maximum of 3 attempts are allowed for the viva assessment.

 

Issuance of LCP

General practitioners who have successfully completed the required training and/or assessment will be awarded with Letter of Credentialing and Privileging (LCP) in Aesthetic Medical Practice by the Medical Practice Division Ministry of Health upon recommendation by the Main Credentialing & Privileging Committee of Aesthetic Medical Practice.


With the LCP, the medical practitioner’s name will be listed in the National Registry of Registered Medical Practitioners Practising Aesthetic Medical Practice.

 

References

Ministry of Health’s Guidelines on Aesthetic Medical Practice for Registered Medical Practitioners (2nd Edition, 2020)

Malaysian Medical Council’s Guidelines on Ethical Aspects of Aesthetic Medical Practice

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