Cosmetic surgery on the up?

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, of which I am a member, recently released its latest plastic surgery figures. Overall, cosmetic surgery figures were up by 17% in 2013 over the previous year. The perceived wisdom is that when times are hard people opt for a cheap pick me up rather than spending on expensive items, also known as the ‘lipstick effect’. So patients opting for cosmetic surgery over a quick trip to the Boots beauty counter could be an indication that the recession is well and truly behind us.

One interesting trend I noticed was that liposuction procedures rose by a record 41%; maybe due to an ever growing desire for the body beautiful, but this could also potentially point to dissatisfaction with the many non-surgical, non-invasive body shaping treatments on the market. They are often heralded in the media as ‘magic’ treatments, but results are usually much less effective than has been promised.

Although I can see why these treatments can appear attractive – minimally invasive, walk-in, walk-out, little or no pain or downtime – I do not employ any of these treatments at my Leamington-based plastic surgery practice, as I only believe in offering my patients treatments or procedures that I know will work and produce the results they expect.

It is important to bear in mind that these figures are only based on information collected from BAAPS plastic surgeons. BAAPS is one of the leading independent plastic surgery association in the UK and you have to conform to a number of rules to be a member. The Association demands that its members ‘act ethically and with probity’ so, when you’re choosing your plastic surgeon, asking if they are a member of BAAPS or other independent plastic surgery associations can sometimes be a useful guide to their level of experience and qualifications.

One way to interpret these figures is to suggest that men and women are choosing their plastic surgeon based on other criteria than price. With budget often a key factor, which might have been compounded by the recession, many patients underwent cosmetic surgery at the hands of the big cosmetic surgery clinic chains.

For many, there are no repercussions to that decision, but there are some men and women who have been left very dissatisfied with the results and treatment they received at the hands of the big cosmetic surgery clinic chains. The PIP crisis that hit the cosmetic surgery industry, when many thousands of UK women were found to have had substandard implants, saw this issue come to the forefront. The majority of these implants were inserted by these big chains.

The rise in the figures of the BAAPS members – and despite the PIP crisis, breast augmentations rose by 13% – may reflect that patients are seeking out their cosmetic surgeon, not based necessarily on price, but on the level of skill and quality of care they gain from an independent plastic surgeon. And this can be no bad thing.

I offer the full range of cosmetic surgery procedures from my private surgery practice based in Warwickshire and have definitely seen an increase in those seeking cosmetic surgery. It seems that consumer confidence – and patient confidence – is back on track.

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