Choosing the right practitioner is the most important decision you’ll make when embarking on a cosmetic surgery procedure and the eventual success of the procedure often depends on that choice. So it really does pay to research your cosmetic surgeon fully.
I find that many of the patients who present at my Leamington cosmetic surgery clinic have done their practitioner research in advance of their consultation. However, if they still have questions about my experience and qualifications, then these are the key points I cover with them and these can be a valuable guide to what you should look out for:
Are they are on the specialist register for plastic surgery?
There are seven specialist surgical registries recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC). By choosing a practitioner on the plastic surgery register you are choosing a surgeon that has over six years of training in the NHS, undergoing regular assessments and examinations, covering a wide range of aesthetic and reconstructive procedures under the guidance of experienced senior surgeons.
It is not against the law for cosmetic surgery procedures to be carried out by other medical practitioners in the UK, which is why some practitioners may call themselves ‘aesthetic surgeons’ or, indeed, ‘cosmetic surgeons’ without having had the necessary experience.
Also, the line between surgical and non-surgical procedures is not necessarily distinct; many non-surgical procedures carry serious potential complications and should really be administered by a highly experienced and qualified practitioner.
Are they a member of an independent plastic surgery organisation?
This can be a great indication of both the experience and qualifications of your surgeon. Leading independent plastic surgery organisations in the UK include the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and the British Association of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgeons (BAPRAS). I am a member of both.
Members of these organisations have to be fully trained plastic surgeons, registered on the GMC specialist plastic surgery register and eligible to, or have taken up, consultant-level positions as a plastic surgeon in the NHS.
Do they work/provide treatment at reputable hospitals and clinics?
Often your cosmetic surgeon will not have a standalone clinic per se, but instead work from private hospitals in the local area. This means that your consultation, procedure and aftercare will all be carried out at a private hospital chain such as the Spire, Nuffield or BMI. Or you may receive treatment at the private wing of your local NHS hospital.
It is possible to check this provider is registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) by going to the CQC website. This is the independent regulator of health services in England and you should not sign up for any cosmetic surgery procedure if the hospital or clinic cannot provide evidence it is registered with the CQC.