Choosing A Surgeon

If you have decided, after careful consideration and personal evaluation, that surgery is the option for you, then perhaps the most fundamentally important aspect of your experience is finding a reputable, qualified and skilled surgeon.

It is advised that you see more than one surgeon and have more than one consultation with each surgeon you talk to, also speak to other people who have had the same surgical procedure as you; experience and recommendations are highly valuable assets.

The Internet is also a valuable resource to those researching cosmetic surgery. Arming yourself with information and knowledge is the key to locating the right surgeon for you.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has consumer safety guidelines in locating a surgeon. This highly valuable guide should be a reference point to those seeking a positive, safe experience with a reputable provider:

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 (a typical feature of many commercial clinics). 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.

Your body, your choice

If you decide to get breast implants put in or taken out, make sure you only use a specialist plastic surgeon.

If your doctor shows photographs of patients, ask if they were his or her own patients. Ask to see photographs of how they looked a few years later.

If your doctor tells you that breast implants are proven safe, ask for a copy of any report that studied women with implants for at least 10 years.

Ask your doctor for written information about the risks of breast implants and read that information at least one week before surgery, so you have time to ask questions or gather more information.

Any woman who considers silicone gel implants should ask for the informed consent form at least one week before surgery.

If your doctor says all of his or her patients are happy with their results, ask to speak to patients who have had implants for at least 7-10 years.