The popularity of cosmetic procedures in the UK continues to grow year-on-year. However, as the number of surgeries increases, so too does the risk of something going wrong.
One way to reduce the risk of a botched aesthetic procedure is to source a safe cosmetic surgeon - someone with a proven track record plus the prerequisite qualifications to perform the specific surgery that you are interested in undergoing.
So, whether you are considering a breast reduction, rhinoplasty, liposuction, blepharoplasty or abdominoplasty, here is our six-step checklist to help you locate a trustworthy and safe cosmetic practitioner.
1. Be clear about what you want
Before starting your search, you must first be realistic about your motivations and expectations of what you want to achieve from a procedure.
An important question to answer is: What prompted your interest in cosmetic surgery?. Before starting your research to find a surgeon, it is useful to consider whether there might be more appropriate solutions that come with lower physical, financial and emotional risks. This might include choosing a non-surgical procedure that could achieve the same results, or undergoing counselling or therapy to address issues of low self-esteem or a negative self-image.
You may find it helpful to reach out and speak to people who have already undergone the procedure in question, and assess from their experiences whether or not you are being realistic and precise with your expectations in what you want the surgery to achieve.
2. Get recommendations
Word of mouth is a great way to start your search for a surgeon - and asking around is also valuable in double checking that the surgeon you have found is as good as he or she says they are.
You may want to speak to friends and family members who have undergone the procedure in question, or visit online forums to get their recommendations.
Other sources of valuable information include:
- Your GP
- The General Medical Council’s (GMC) specialist register
- British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS)
- British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS)
- Royal College of Surgeons
3. Check for qualifications
A useful way to narrow your search down is to compare the credentials of the surgeons you have found to the list below. You should look for a surgeon who is:
- Working for the NHS
- Registered with the General Medical Council (GMC)
- Listed on the GMC's specialist register in the area of practice relevant to your procedure
- A member of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS)
- A member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS)
- An expert in the part of the body you want operated on
Once you have found two or three surgeons who meet all the above criteria, it is then time to arrange a consultation.
4. Be prepared to pay
Cosmetic procedures are expensive, and this is justified by their complex nature and the level of skill involved with performing such a major operation with potentially life-altering consequences. This means that you should be prepared to pay for any initial consultations with surgeons during your research, and you should aim to meet at least two surgeons so that you can compare fees and results .
If a consultation with a surgeon is offered for free then you should be wary - your surgeon’s time is valuable, if he or she is giving it away for free then ask why.
It is important to note that many clinics and hospitals do offer free consultations with their patient care coordinator or clinic manager. These administrators will often walk you through the administrative logistics of surgery, including costs.
While these can be useful to get a feel of a clinic or hospital, it is essential to speak to the surgeon who will be performing your operation before you commit to anything.
At this point in your research, it can be tempting to seek out cheaper offers - such as reduced price surgeries abroad - however these can end up costing more in the long run. Read our article explaining the pros and cons of medical tourism here.
Finally, too-good-to-be true offers are often just that. Be wary of loyalty card schemes, a buy-one-get-one-free offer, easy finance terms or other financial incentives. These clinics or hospitals may be more concerned with the number of patients they perform on, than the quality of the procedures they offer.
5. Get the answers you need
When meeting with your surgeon for the first time during your initial consultation, take the below questions with you, and make sure you are satisfied with the answers provided.
You may find it helpful to take notes so you can refer back to them at a later date, and also use their answers to compare against other surgeons:
- What happens during the procedure - before, during and after?
- Will the results of the procedure match your expectations?
- How many times has your surgeon performed this operation in total? How many of these procedures took place in the last 12 months?
- What are the possible risks, side effects and problems?
- What is the aftercare and recovery time?
- What happens if something goes wrong or if you’re not satisfied with the result?
- How much will the surgery cost, including aftercare or any follow-up treatments?
- Is your surgeon insured to perform cosmetic surgery in the UK?
- Is your surgeon aware of any and all medical conditions you have or medications you’re taking?
What to look out for
During your consultation, you should look for a surgeon who:
- Took their time during your appointment and didn’t rush you
- Was specific and realistic about the predicted outcomes of the operation
- Did not try to sell you any additional surgeries
- Fully answered all of your questions to your satisfaction
6. Take your time
One last piece of advice before you commit to any surgical or non-surgical cosmetic procedures is to take your time.
The official advice is to take at least two weeks of ‘cooling off’ time before committing to surgery following your consultation.
The impact of surgery can last a lifetime, and it is essential to carefully complete all of your research and fully consider all of your options before committing to an operation that could profoundly affect your physical, financial or emotional wellbeing.
For a free guide to take away with you during your research, download our checklist to finding a safe cosmetic surgeon.
Get in Touch
If you have been affected by a botched cosmetic surgery and are looking to make a claim for compensation, get in touch with us today. Call us now on 0808 256 2697 or use the contact form and we will call you back at a time that suits you.
We operate on a no-win, no-fee basis, with a 95% success rate on claims pursued after obtaining medical evidence.