Celebrity cosmetic surgeon and social media star Daniel Lanzer has retired amid an investigation into his conduct and performance by the national medical regulator.
- AHPRA says Dr Lanzer is no longer registered and could no longer practise as a medical practitioner
- An investigation into Dr Lanzer’s conduct and performance will continue despite his resignation
- The developments follow a Four Corners investigation that saw more than 100 Lanzer clinic patients come forward with complaints
It follows a joint Four Corners and Nine newspapers investigation into the Lanzer clinics a month ago.
Since the initial investigation, more than 100 Lanzer clinic patients have come forward to share their harrowing experiences.
The investigation uncovered serious hygiene and safety breaches and procedures by Dr Lanzer that left patients in extreme pain, requiring further medical treatment and suffering from ongoing physical and psychological issues.
In a statement, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) said “Dr Daniel Lanzer no longer appears on the online register of practitioners as he surrendered his registration on 2 December 2021. This means he is no longer registered with immediate effect and cannot practise as a registered medical practitioner anywhere in Australia.”
It said the decision to “surrender” his registration would not stop the investigation.
“We are continuing our investigations into Dr Lanzer’s conduct and performance and should they result in a regulatory outcome, this would be considered if he was ever to seek to reapply for registration in the future,” it said.
In an email, Dr Lanzer said: “I have retired.”
On Thursday painters were painting over the shopfront at the landmark Melbourne day hospital and clinic, removing his name.
In Brisbane, the signage has been removed and his Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane websites carried the statement, “permanently closed”.
By last night the websites had pulled down the videos and images of Dr Lanzer and his patients and his social media accounts that boasted millions of followers had been wiped clean and his photo and title removed.
After 30 years promoting himself as the world’s leading cosmetic surgeon on TV shows, in popular women’s magazines and on social media, the Dr Lanzer name will no longer be associated with cosmetic surgery.
Plans to expand the business exponentially by rolling out skin clinics are in disarray.
His sudden retirement on December 2, is a strikingly different to a message he sent to 65 staff a few days after Four Corners’ Cosmetic Cowboys aired.
In that message he told staff he was taking a break to “clear my name of these ridiculous accusations.”
He said “we will have our day … Everyone should be reassured we are going to be continuing … the Lanzer clinic will continue.”
Later that day he entered an enforceable undertaking with AHPRA not to practise while the investigation was ongoing, and headed overseas.
In other developments, a senior associate of the Lanzer clinics, Daniel Aronov, has been banned by AHPRA from performing all types of cosmetic surgery and a condition has been imposed on him that he can only practise as a GP under supervision.
Earlier this week AHPRA announced an external review of the billion-dollar-plus cosmetic surgery industry, including how to strengthen regulations to better protect patients and the role of advertising and social media.
AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said the review was triggered by the joint investigation.
“Obviously we were very concerned by the material that was broadcast on Four Corners and although some of that was known to us and were matters we were actively investigating, there was an awful lot of information we didn’t know,” he said.
Dr Lanzer’s retirement left some paying patients confused.
Some, who booked and had paid a deposit or had paid in full for surgery ahead of the Four Corners report, were being told earlier this week in text messages “unfortunately we are still on hold of any cosmetic surgeries at the moment. We will be in contact with you as soon as we resumed to organise another surgery date. You are on our priority wait list. Thank you for your patience!”
Social media experts Michael Fraser and Maddison Johnstone have been monitoring the websites and noticed a series of changes when he became aware of the media investigation, then after the exposé.
“They stopped calling Dr Lanzer a dermatological surgeon, then after publication of the stories, more explicit risk statements were added to the website about cosmetic procedures,” Ms Johnstone said.
Then this week they said the website underwent a massive clean-out, with references to Dr Lanzer removed.