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.