Deciding on what cosmetic operation to have and finding the right surgeon can be a tricky business.

Here is a quick step-by-step guide to making sure you pick the right option for you:

1) Be clear about what you want from your cosmetic surgery.

Be realistic and precise about what you want your operation to achieve.

Ask about possible side effects and problems. Be wary of surgeons who are vague about the outcome of the operation.

If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

2) Investigate your surgeon’s qualifications.

Always choose a surgeon who is a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and works in the NHS, as they will have completed higher training and qualifications.

Many private clinics employ doctors who claim to be ‘Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons’ (FRCS), but this does not necessarily guarantee any specialist training.

3) Investigate your surgeon’s work.

Make sure your surgeon is an expert in the part of the body you want operated on.

Ask for before and after photographs of their work.

4) Talk to your surgeon before the operation.

Always have a pre-operative consultation with your surgeon and make him fully explain the procedure, including the risks and problems, before the operation.

Some private clinics employ ‘surgical consultants’ who have no medical training.

Take your time to think about the surgery – ideally, you should have a two week cooling off period after the consultation before you go under the knife.

5) Avoid cheap surgery abroad.

Surgery abroad is less expensive, but much riskier. Aftercare is sometimes poorer than in the UK and often the NHS is left to pick up the pieces when problems occur once the patient is back home.

6) Don’t be taken in by slick advertising.

Some private clinics are only interested in profit and will go to any lengths to get patients to sign up for surgery.

Often, they leave the NHS to pick up the pieces when something goes wrong.

Always ensure the clinic is registered with the Healthcare Commission and offers comprehensive aftercare.

7) Avoid the hard sell or loyalty schemes.

Think twice about using surgeons who profess to perform miracles or use high pressure sales techniques to get you to sign up.

Loyalty card schemes, buy one get one free offers, and easy finance terms which sound too good to be true, usually are.

8) Be prepared for some bruising and discomfort after the operation.

Always ask about aftercare, recovery times and whether the clinic can provide any help in the home after the operation.

For more information and advice on cosmetic surgery please click on the links below:

British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS)

British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS)

Cosmetic Surgery News

Medical News Today

Click here to contact TJL for more advice.