This month saw the annual scientific meeting of the British Association of Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) take place. Among the many interesting topics for discussion was an important message that the general public should be made aware of. BAAPS had polled its 230 or so members, of which I am one, and found that four out of five surgeons have recorded a rise in patients needing revision surgery for procedures that had been performed by less able surgeons.
Reasons why revision surgery may be required
All cosmetic surgery may require further revision work – small adjustments may be needed to achieve the optimal result or the body may heal in an unpredictable way – and this will be explained during your consultation so you’re aware of all potential outcomes before making the decision to go ahead. But, in this instance, BAAPS is focusing on botched surgery which falls drastically short of the patient’s expectations and is often unsightly or worse.
There were three main reasons identified as to why revision surgery of this type was on the rise:
- In 40% of cases, surgeons believed that the patients should never have undergone the initial procedure, either because they were medically or psychologically unsuitable. Plastic surgery is elective so it is never necessary and an important part of our role as surgeon is to identify patients that have unrealistic expectations, possible body dysmorphia or medical conditions that make them unsuitable for surgery.
- Nearly a third stated that the original procedure fell far below the expected standard and must have been performed by someone that didn’t have adequate training or experience. New legislation introduced by the Royal College of Surgeons is aimed at tackling this “cowboy proliferation”, as BAAPS describes this worrying trend.
- Another third found that they had been required to treat patients who’d taken advantage of cheap plastic surgery deals abroad with disastrous consequences. Cosmetic medical tourism is on the rise in response to these times of financial uncertainty where price often becomes the major deciding factor. However, the fine print in these ‘deals’ don’t cover the increased risk of complications, lack of patient protection and issues with aftercare or follow-up treatment that are inherent in having plastic surgery abroad.
Unfortunately, despite my level of experience, training and surgical skill and that of my fellow colleagues, it’s usually not possible to produce the results the patients were hoping for when performing revision surgery of this nature.
BAAPS is committed to the education and advancement of cosmetic surgery and conducts annual safety reviews of its members to ensure that high standards are always maintained so membership of an independent surgical association such as BAAPS should be an important factor in choosing your plastic surgeon… certainly it should always be placed above price.