As a trained plastic and reconstructive surgeon, who has held a substantive post as a consultant in the NHS for many years, I’m always disturbed when I read articles with titles such as the above.
The difference between plastic and cosmetic surgery
First of all, it is important to understand the difference between plastic and cosmetic surgery, as there can be much confusion in both the media and patients’ minds. Plastic surgery is a surgical speciality that corrects congenital abnormalities, treats burns, skin cancer and hand injuries and disease, as well as repairing soft tissue defects from trauma, disease or secondary to surgery.
I would define cosmetic surgery as an elective procedure that aims to improve physical appearance with psychological gain. It can be performed on the face or body and the focus is on aesthetic enhancements and improvements in symmetry and proportion.
There are many reasons why a patient may need plastic and reconstructive surgery. The fact that these procedures are, for the most part, available on the NHS indicates they are important for the mental and physical well-being of the patient.
I would argue that no one ‘needs’ cosmetic surgery: by definition, being neither to relieve severe pain nor to prevent death, it is not essential, however desirable and appropriate it may be. However, that is not to underestimate what a positive and beneficial effect that well considered cosmetic surgery can have, but my philosophy is that it must always be the right patient and the right procedure at the right time.
What do I look for in a cosmetic surgery consultation
The consultations I offer at my Leamington cosmetic surgery practice are necessary for establishing whether cosmetic surgery is right for you. I aim to create a calm and unpressurised period of time where the patient and I can discuss their feelings, concerns and expectations and then both myself and the patient can decide whether going ahead with a procedure is the right decision.
Reasons why you shouldn’t have cosmetic surgery
Timing is often a major factor in whether or not you should proceed with cosmetic surgery. If you’re going through a period of emotional upheaval, such as job loss, divorce, death of someone close to you or immediately after having children. Pressure from a partner or family member is also a no-no.
However, if there has been something that has always concerned you about your appearance and you’ve considered the potential pros and cons, then the best advice is to book a consultation with an experienced and qualified plastic surgeon to discuss your options in more detail.