PHE investigating risk of blood-borne viruses transmitted through microneedling
Public Health England (PHE), the Government agency, is investigating the possible risk of blood-borne viruses being transmitted through microneedling after three members of staff from beauty salons in the northwest of England have suffered needlestick injuries while carrying out the treatment.
If needlestick injuries to staff or cross-contamination to clients occurs, there is a risk of transmission of blood-borne viruses including HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, PHE said.
In its findings, PHE referred to microneedling as "needle microdermabrasion". Talking about the incidents that occurred, which happened between March and May 2016, PHE said: "All exposed individuals were using the same needle microdermabrasion device. Needlestick injuries occurred during the process of disassembling the device after use on clients. All three subsequently tested negative for blood-borne viruses."
Microneedling involves a handset with a needle-studded cylindrical roller attached to it being moved across the face, creating multiple small punctures which can result in bleeding and the generation of serious fluid where it has been applied.
Currently, there are no regulations governing the use of microneedling systems.
As part of the investigation, PHE is working with environmental health officers and the device manufacturers to recommend design modifications, reduce the risk of cross-contamination and needlestick injury, and support the development of improved training and infection control guidance for those who conduct the treatment.
Consultant plastic surgeon Rajiv Grover, a former president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: "The use of needles does at the very least some need medical supervision firstly to avoid treating patients who have contraindications from dermatological conditions or potential scarring conditions (keloid tendency).
"Secondly, complications can occur from needling (such as infections) and recognising and being able to treat these is essential. It is not good enough just to be able to handle a needle but essential to be able to handle the problems that may come from it too."