Careful consideration

Recently I wrote about the new initiative from the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons that was campaigning for improved consumer awareness of cosmetic surgery and its possible implications. Impetus came from a study that highlighted a worrying lack of knowledge before patients make that all-important decision to proceed with a cosmetic surgery procedure.

Here I will highlight what I consider the key steps towards achieving a successful outcome as outlined by the initiative which I fully support.

1. THINK carefully about what you want to achieve.

Do your research beforehand so you are clear in your mind what you’re hoping to achieve. You will need to communicate your expectations clearly to your plastic surgeon to ensure the best chance of getting what you want. It may be that it is not possible to achieve this and you should be open to that being explained to you at the consultation.

2. CHECK out your surgeon before the consultation.

Deciding on your plastic surgeon is probably the most important decision you make. It can be helpful to speak to your GP first and to ask friends and family for any personal recommendations. Once you have a candidate in mind then you should check if they have the proper credentials – a fully qualified surgeon such as myself will be on the GMC’s Specialist Register for Plastic Surgery.

3. CONSULT… and consult again if necessary.

At my Leamington cosmetic surgery consultations I ensure that the patient has all the relevant information they need and that includes all possible risks and complications as well as the potential outcome. If they have further questions or wish to go over any aspect again then I encourage them to return for a repeat consultation in advance of the procedure. It is important that you can trust your cosmetic surgeon.

4. LISTEN closely

Research possible procedures so you come armed with all the right questions, but it is important not to be closed off to what your cosmetic surgeon is telling you. If they don’t think that a particular procedure will guarantee you the results you are hoping for then it is important that you take this on board.

5. THINK again about what you want to achieve.

One interesting finding from the BAPRAS study was that over half of patients that had undergone surgery immediately after their initial consultation were left feeling unsatisfied with the results. I always encourage my Leamington cosmetic surgery patients to have a two-week cooling off period before they make their final decision.

Supporting a great initiative

Last week the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) launched what I consider a very important consumer education campaign. The aim is to provide prospective plastic surgery patients with all the necessary information and resources.

As a BAPRAS Member, also on the GMC Register for Plastic Surgery (including Cosmetic Surgery), I strongly support the BAPRAS ‘Think Over before You Make Over’ campaign in the drive to better inform and equip anyone contemplating cosmetic surgery to ask the right questions and to make the right choices for their own safety and well-being.

The campaign was the result of a major study that BAPRAS conducted into people’s approach to cosmetic surgery and there were some findings that I found quite shocking.

Almost a quarter of those undergoing cosmetic surgery in the UK do not check their plastic surgeon’s credentials. A fifth weren’t fully aware of all possible complications and a quarter were not clear what aftercare they would receive if something went wrong.

I’m happy to relay that the majority of my Leamington cosmetic surgery patients do their research and are well-informed about the pros and cons of cosmetic surgery. However, I also see patients that have undergone less than satisfactory procedures elsewhere and are hoping to improve results or resolve problems that have developed since surgery. I would be more than happy if the need for this revision surgery declined as it is sometimes only possible to improve the patient’s appearance to a certain degree.

Following good practice:

Even if a patient has done all their research, it is still my duty to make sure they have all the necessary information on the predicted outcome, the possible complications and how their aftercare will be managed.

The report found that almost 60% of patients that had undergone their procedure within two weeks of their initial consultation were not fully satisfied with their appearance post-procedure.

As a matter of principle, my Warwickshire cosmetic surgery patients are welcome to return for a second consultation if they feel they need more information or ask further questions. I also insist on a two-week cooling off period after the initial consultation so they have time to consider their decision carefully before they decide to go ahead.