Choosing a plastic surgeon
Monday 9 January 2017

There's no shortage of cosmetic surgeons in today's looks-driven world and having some nip and tuck is no longer only the domain of the rich and famous.  Here's how to locate a reputable cosmetic surgeon you could trust to re-sculpt your face or body.

Cosmetic surgery is all about enhancing your appearance, in other words helping you look and feel great, not to mention hopefully several years younger.  Popular procedures include facelifts, breast enlargements/reductions, liposuction and nose reshaping. 

The General Medical Council's (GMC) specialist plastic surgery register includes the names of all surgeons in the country who have received six years of training in plastic surgery on top of their general training. The list is available to the public from the GMC, 178 Great Portland Street, London W1, telephone 020 7915 3638, or through a search on their website. Make sure you ask specifically for the plastic surgery register rather than the specialist register which does not discriminate between different types of specialist medical training.

The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), part of the Royal College of Surgeons, has 225 members, all of whom are on the GMC register and who regularly perform plastic surgery operations. You can contact BAPRAS on 020 7831 5161, or visit the website, but it's worth noting that although they are qualified to do so, many BAPRAS members do not perform cosmetic surgery, preferring to concentrate on regenerative or other plastic surgery.

Members of BAPRAS who specialise in or perform cosmetic surgery are registered with the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), also part of the Royal College of Surgeons, which currently has 140 members, all of whom are recognised by the NHS as being experts in their field. BAAPS can be contacted on 020 7405 2234, or via the website. If your surgeon is a member of any of these organisations or registers, they are fully qualified to perform plastic surgery, including liposuction, laser surgery, breast and face operations. Highly qualified plastic surgeons usually have the letters FRCS and PLAS after their names, to indicate that they are members of the Royal College of Surgeons and specialists in Plastic Surgery.

BAAPS recommends that the best place to start looking for a good plastic surgeon is with your GP. Your GP will refer you to a registered plastic surgeon and they will be able to correspond with the surgeon about any medical problems you might have which could affect the operation. This is important because you may not realise the importance of some of your medical history such as blood pressure and obesity. In addition, your GP will be able to work together to help your recovery if necessary. In this way, BAPPS claims, you'll make sure you're getting the best possible treatment from all sides.

According to BAAPS, alarm bells should ring if you don't see your surgeon before the operation - counsellors or advisors are not qualified to speak to you about the medical implications of your surgery, including whether or not it's the right thing for you to do. You should always be seen by the person who is going to be operating on you beforehand. Going under the knife for a cosmetic operation is a serious undertaking, and you want to be sure you're getting the best possible treatment on offer. Whether it's a temporary lip injection or a liposuction under general anaesthesia, getting it wrong could have serious implications. Make sure you're in the know about what to do and where to go - we spend an estimated £131 million a year on cosmetic surgery in the UK and with a growing number of qualified surgeons, there's no excuse not to get what you pay for.

It’s important to talk to your surgeon about your goals and your treatment. Feel confident asking about your doctor’s credentials, experience, outcomes or safety record. It is your body, your safety and your life.

- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?

- What will be expected of me to get optimal results?

- What are the risks involved with my procedure?

- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?

- Will I need to take time off work? If so, how long?

During the consultation, your plastic surgeon should:

- Answer all of your questions thoroughly and clearly.

- Ask about your thoughts to recommended treatment.

- Offer alternatives, where appropriate, without pressuring you to consider unneeded or additional procedures.

- Welcome questions about your procedure and his or her professional qualifications, experience, costs and payment policies.

- Make clear the risks of surgery and possible outcomes. Give you information about the procedure you want.

- Leave the final decision to you.

Mr Mansoor Khan

Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon

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