It is a sad reality that many doctors working in the cosmetic surgery field in the UK today lack the proper qualifications, training, skills and/or experience.
The cosmetic interventions sector is viewed as highly lucrative and this entices many inadequately trained practitioners into the field.
We have put together a series of questions that you should be fully satisfied on even before booking a consultation.
Is my surgeon actually a surgeon? Shocking as this may sound, there is no legal requirement in the UK for a doctor to be a plastic surgeon to perform your procedure. There are a significant number of GPs performing cosmetic surgery in the UK which simply does not happen in many other western European countries like France and Italy. By choosing a doctor who is not fully accredited, you may be exposing yourself to huge risk in the event something does not go to plan. Make sure to check the GMC website before booking in to weed out the non-surgeons.
Your surgeon should be able to yes to all of the following:
- Has passed the FRCS (plast) examination or equivalent
- Is on the GMC specialist register for plastic surgery
- Holds full professional indemnity insurance
- Is a full member of BAPRAS. BAAPS, UKAAPS or a European specialist plastic surgery association
- Is holding or has previously held an NHS consultant appointment
The MRCS examination is not an acceptable qualification for cosmetic surgery. This is a basic qualification which many junior doctors do – it is not specific for plastic surgery at all.
Does my doctor have proper insurance?
Whilst it is a legal requirement for doctors to carry appropriate cover, some doctors may have minimal cover or even the incorrect type of cover for procedures they are performing. Ask your surgeon for proof of this before proceeding with a procedure.
Can my surgeon perform the full range of cosmetic surgery?
A common problem we see is where patients with significant skin laxity have been recommended liposuction rather than an abdominoplasty. This is the incorrect procedure but is offered because that is all the ‘aesthetic surgeon’ can offer. Liposuction is for the removal of localised fat deposits – it does very little for the quality of the overlying skin. Non-surgeons do not have the expertise to perform abdominoplasty which involves skin removal as one of the steps. There are many practitioners performing ‘local anaesthetic liposuction’ in addition to their non-surgical skill set. We think this is unacceptable and is putting patient safety at risk.
In the area of body contouring, your plastic surgeon should have expertise in liposuction, fat transfer and skin excision as well as have experience in revision procedures – both aesthetic and reconstructive.
‘Local anaesthetic only liposuction’ is an area of huge risk and has been discussed in the media recently with stories of back street practitioners doing liposuction from a dentist’s chair – even in ‘world famous Harley Street’. Often no anaesthetist is present. The doses of local anaesthetic are often above recommended safety doses as the reality is that liposuction is an uncomfortable procedure under a pure local anaesthetic. Except for very small areas, the recommended standard of care is to perform liposuction under anaesthesia with a consultant anaesthetist present.
By entrusting your care to a fully qualified plastic surgeon at Centre for Surgery, you have full peace of mind knowing that your surgeon is fully trained to manage your aftercare and have systems in place to deal with any potential complication from your procedure.