cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery is where a person decides to have an operation or medical procedure to change their appearance for cosmetic rather than medical reasons. Such surgery is usually unavailable through the NHS unless there is a compelling overriding physical or psychological reason. Therefore, most people have surgery carried out privately.

If the surgery fails to provide the results you wanted then the NHS will not help unless you have a serious complication which means you need emergency or life saving treatment.

Therefore, if you are thinking of having cosmetic surgery there are important questions that you need to consider in order to make the most appropriate decision. These issues include the following:

  • Have I researched the procedure that I am considering. There may be options that do not involve surgery that provide suitable results.

  • What would make the procedure a success for me and will my quality of life be improved as a result of surgery.

  • How will I deal with any complications. Consider how you would react if something did not go according to plan and could you cope if you needed further surgery to change the initial result.

  • Can I afford the cost of the surgery, especially if it needs to be repeated or corrected.

You should take time before reaching a decision and make sure that any marketing materials in relation to surgery are factual, clear and not misleading. If you feel any pressure from staff or the Surgeon, go somewhere else.

In relation to advertising or marketing used by a Surgeon or Hospital, please consider the Committee of Advertising Practice website to ensure it is acceptable.

If you decide to have cosmetic surgery most importantly research the procedure and choose a Surgeon with the appropriate skills and experience. Thereafter, meet with the Surgeon who will be performing the operation before you give your consent to any surgery.

Choosing the right Surgeon

If you decide to have cosmetic surgery it is vital to select a Surgeon with suitable skills and experience to perform the cosmetic procedure. Your GP can offer advice and may know an appropriate and experienced Surgeon in your local area.

In terms of registration, doctors who provide cosmetic surgery privately only need to be registered and licenced by the General Medical Council (GMC). There is no legal requirement for the doctor to be listed as a specialist Surgeon on the GMC’s specialist register. You should also ensure that the Surgeon is fully insured to carry out the procedure in the UK. Make sure you find out what your Surgeon’s and Hospital’s insurance does and does not cover you for and ask to see details of the insurance.

If you decide to have surgery in England, the Hospital or medical centre should be registered with the Care Quality Commission. You can search for a CQC registered Hospital and find out about the quality of their service through the CQC website.

Always take a checklist to your consultation with the Surgeon before undergoing the procedure. Please note the Royal College of Surgeons provides a variety of online resources and advice for patients considering cosmetic surgery. Their website address is www.rcseng@ac.uk/cosmeticsurgery.

Make sure you find out about the planned and possible future costs and the likely results of the procedure.

Cosmetic Surgery Aftercare

It is vital that you are aware as to what aftercare you will receive and also that you are aware of the Hospital’s complaints procedure.  Find out who you should contact before you have surgery if something does not go to plan or if you have an emergency or need help out of hours. Take a note of their contact details. This should be a named doctor who can deal with any complications rather than an NHS helpline.

If your surgery is not dealt with to your satisfaction and you are unhappy with the Surgeon you can contact the General Medical Council to make a complaint.

If you have undergone cosmetic surgery and require legal advice please contact Bradley Wright on 020 8514 9000 or at the following email address: bradley.wright@edwardsduthieshamash.co.uk