Do you have purple waste? Prettpal Somel, Marketing Executive, Initial Medical

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  Posted by: Dental Design      2nd August 2018









In recent years, more dentists than ever before have ventured into the field of facial aesthetics. Minimally invasive aesthetic procedures such as botulinum toxin injections have now become a more common option for dentists looking to expand their repertoire of services, and this brings with it a number of benefits for both practice and patient alike.

However, despite these benefits there are extra precautions that professionals must take, especially when it comes to waste management, and therefore it’s important to consider these before opting to expand your services to include these treatments.


The boom in popularity

Once thought to be the exclusive beauty secret of celebrities and women of a certain age, botulinum toxin is now becoming widely accepted in the public eye, leading to a more diverse use among the populace. A rising number of men have started to explore the anti-ageing possibilities of botulinum toxin (or “bro-tox” as it is often known among male users) in an effort to retain youthful looks for longer.[i]The number of millenials choosing the treatment is also soaring, and younger people are opting for injections to help prevent the signs of aging in a movement some have nicknamed “pre-juvenation”.

There are many possible reasons for this boom in botulinum toxin procedures. One of the most compelling arguments is that made by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AFFPRS) in their 2017 annual report that states that, for millenials in particular, the growing demand for the treatment is fuelled by selfie culture and the desire to look like their favourite celebrities.[ii]The academy reported that over half of members had seen an increase in injectables in patients under 30 years of age, and that the amount of these procedures in general had increased by 25 per cent since 2012.

The desire to remain looking young and energetic in the workplace is another possible factor, and the same annual report stated that many patients were having treatments in order to keep career options open or to refresh their appearance by eliminating the aging caused by a stressful work environment.

Aside from this it’s also thought that people are becoming more accepting of cosmetic surgery in general. It’s not uncommon for celebrities to speak about any work they have had done or even share their patient journey through social media channels, and this is normalising the procedure, making it clear to people that having or wanting these treatments is nothing to be ashamed of.


Waste matters

Introducing facial aesthetic treatments can help bring in new patients and boost profitability for the practice, but it also requires a number of important changes. As well as having to undergo the relevant training and accreditation to ensure you can carry out these procedures safely and effectively, professionals will also have other things to consider such as how the addition of these new products will affect aspects like waste management.

Cytostatic and cytotoxic waste streams (represented by the colour purple in the Department of Health’s best practice colour coded waste segregation guidelines) are important to dispose of properly as they have a number of significant dangers. Cytostatic chemicals such as botulinum toxin effectively paralyse or freeze cells and stop them from changing, whilst cytotoxic chemicals such as those used in cancer treatments kill cells entirely. Due to these effects, both types of substance can reap disastrous effects if accidentally touched or consumed by wildlife or people.

Other examples of purple waste streams include any materials that have come into contact with these chemicals, and therefore things such as tools used in these procedures or items such as cleaning wipes used post procedure should be considered as cytostatic or cytotoxic as well. All staff must be aware of what is considered as ‘purple waste’ in order to prevent these materials from accidentally ending up where they can cause harm.

In light of this, practices will need to invest in the proper waste receptacles and educate staff about the need to separate these items from other waste generated by the practice. One way to support this is to introduce the Colour Code Characters from Initial Medical. These characters act as an effective aid to help remind all staff about proper waste disposal protocols and help to simplify the Department of Health’s waste management colour code system. “Cyto Sam” represents purple waste, so by introducing him you can help  ensure that these cytostatic chemicals don’t end up in our natural environments.


Proper disposal is preventative

Introducing facial aesthetic treatments into your practice can be an exciting opportunity, but it also means that extra care should be taken with waste management. By understanding what materials can be considered cytotoxic and cytostatic and introducing an easy to remember waste disposal scheme, you can stop these damaging chemicals finding their way into the environment, preventing any unnecessary harm.

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[i]CNN Money. Botox Isn’t Just For Women: Why So Many Men Are ‘Bro-Tox’ Obsessed. Link:[Last accessed June 18].


[ii]The American academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2017 Statistics Link:[June 18].


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