Video report by ITV News' Consumer Editor Chris Choi
New guidelines are being introduced to protect cosmetic surgery patients and clampdown on rogue surgeons who put profits ahead of clients' health.
If you are someone who is considering cosmetic surgery, here are 10 tips from the British Association of Aesthetics Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS):
- 1: Make your own decisions
The real expert on your appearance and any concerns you may have is you. The only assistance you should need is to decide what, if any, surgery you might need, and you should ensure you get unbiased information regarding what might be technically possible and any associated risks and benefits. Do not let anyone talk you into doing anything for which you had little concern before the consultation.
- 2: Be informed
Anyone considering any cosmetic procedure should ensure they are fully informed and accept the limitations and risks of any procedure. Remember, no surgeon or procedure is 100% risk free.
- 3: Be comfortable
Make sure you feel comfortable with the organisation, surgeon and clinic you have chosen.
- 4: Know your surgeon
Many practitioners purport to be experts, but many are not even surgeons. Practitioners may boast impressive sounding qualifications, but these can have little meaning. Organisations associated with and preferably based in the Royal College of Surgeons will demonstrate acceptable standards of practice, i.e., those which you can reasonably expect of surgeons and doctors in general. Hospitals which have strong associations with NHS consultants and practice will also adhere to these standards and so offer some level of reassurance. The BAAPS can help you find a properly credentialed surgeon in your area.
- 5: Get the timing right
Unless the circumstances are exceptional, avoid surgery if you have recently experienced major life events such as moving house, changing job, losing a loved one, the break-up of a relationship or the arrival of children.
- 6: Beware of 'free' consultations and avoid booking fees or non-refundable deposits
Nothing is free and if the surgery is right for you then there will be no need for you to be locked into going ahead by any financial cancellation penalties.
- 7: Think about location
Do not travel a long distance or overseas for any surgery unless you are comfortable with the arrangements to follow up and the management of any problems or complications which might arise.
- 8: Talk to your GP
Your GP has no interest other than your welfare, so many doctors are very happy to advise patients and not be judgemental about something which many people feel very sensitive and vulnerable about.
- 9: You can always change your mind
Hopefully everything will be totally to your satisfaction, but remember you have the option to cancel right up until the time you go to sleep for surgery. The fundamental reason for the surgery is to make you feel better about yourself, and if this is compromised, surgery should not proceed. No reputable surgeon would normally impose any penalty for cancellations.
- 10: Take your time
Remember that undergoing surgery is a serious commitment.
- Advice sourced from British Association of Aesthetics Plastic Surgeons