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Would you know what to do to give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding serious health risks when undergoing a cosmetic surgery?

Are you aware of what you should do to make sure you’ve chosen the best possible surgeon for your needs?

If not, you’re not alone.

We recently conducted a survey that found that a large proportion of the population simply don’t have the information they need to make smart, safe choices when it comes to cosmetic surgery.

Our survey found that 65% of UK residents do not know to ask their GP on how to find a cosmetic surgeon. This is particularly worrying because, according to the NHS and the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), the most important thing that those considering a cosmetic surgery procedure can do is to speak to their GP for advice and assistance.

Michael Saul, partner here at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, says, “If you are looking for a cosmetic surgeon, our advice is always to check first with your GP before turning to other sources for information.”

“GPs are ideally positioned to offer impartial advice and recommendations, and may also be able to explore with you your reasons for undergoing cosmetic surgery in the first place to make sure it is the best option for your situation.”

Demand for greater regulation

Our survey also discovered that nearly two-thirds (60%) did not know that there is no legal requirement for practitioners of non-surgical procedures – such as Botox, dermal fillers or chemical peels – to have any relevant medical qualifications.

One respondent told us, “I suspect that most people would assume that any procedure is regulated. Until it is all regulated then it should be compulsory [for practitioners] to disclose if they are regulated in any literature or advertising.”

Nearly all of those surveyed (93%) said both surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures should be regulated by a professional medical body.

Mr Saul said, “Unqualified or inexperienced surgeons can cause untold damage that lasts a lifetime. We hope these results demonstrate to the industry at large the public’s unequivocal cry for greater transparency in the private sector and greater regulation of non-surgical procedures.”

Be wary of online reviews

The results also highlighted the trust a worrying number of consumers place on online word of mouth.

Over eight in ten said positive online reviews were either a ‘very important’ or ‘important’ consideration (a combined 84%) when taking the next step of deciding which surgeon to use.

Mr Saul, said, “Word of mouth can be a useful way to source a cosmetic surgeon. However, we advise potential patients to be wary of placing too much weight on online reviews, which cannot always be independently verified, may be out of date, or may even be for a surgeon that no longers works at the private clinic being researched.”

How to choose a cosmetic surgeon

To help you choose a cosmetic surgeon, we have created a comprehensive, five-point checklist. You can download the guide, ‘How to choose a cosmetic surgeon and avoid potential health risks’, here or view it below.