Cosmetic Surgery Your New Body
Your essential checklist
There can never be any guarantees of success, so use these guidelines to increase your chances of getting the result you’re after.
- Choose a surgeon on the basis that he or she is a member of a dependable, recognised organisation and/or on recommendation from your GP, other doctors or friends. Also, your doctor will be able to correspond with the surgeon about any medical problems, which could affect your procedure.
- There are two organisations you want your surgeon to belong to: The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) or the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS). This means your surgeon is fully qualified to perform plastic surgery. If he or she is not listed, you’ll have to look more closely into his or her background.
- 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. The surgeon should also be on the General Medical Council (GMC) specialist register.
- Beware of free consultations and avoid booking fees or non-refundable deposits. Nothing is free and if the surgery is right for you there’ll be no need for cancellation penalties that lock you into going ahead.
- Take as much time as you need to decide whether or not you want to go through with the surgery. Don’t be rushed into making a decision or paying a deposit. A good surgeon will want to see you two or three times before carrying out a major operation. He or she will also take you through the pros and cons of the procedure, and will give you time to weigh up all the options. Use your consultation to talk about the procedure itself, the likely outcome, and the full and final cost. It’s a good idea to ask about extra costs in the event of complications.
- Trust your instincts, if you don’t feel totally comfortable with your surgeon, get a second opinion and weigh up what both have to say. Then choose the surgeon you trust the most. Never make your decision on price alone.
- Be very cautious if your first consultation is not with the surgeon who’ll be doing your operation. Sales advisers and representatives are not qualified to speak to you about the medical implications of your surgery.
- Timing is very important. It’s wise to avoid surgery if you’ve recently experienced a major life event such as moving house, changing jobs, or losing a loved one. If you’re using surgery to make your life better after times of stress, the chances are that you’ll never be happy with the results.
- While cosmetic surgery abroad can be a good option for cutting costs, it’s vital you understand how follow-up care will be managed along with any problems which may arise.
- Remember that you can change your mind and can cancel right up until the time you go to sleep for surgery. Having surgery is to make you feel better about yourself, and if this is compromised, you should not proceed. No reputable surgeon would normally impose any penalty for cancellations.
Ask the question
Make a list of key questions to ask your surgeon during your initial consultations
- What background and experience does your chosen surgeon have?
- Does the surgeon specialise in your procedure and how many operations has he or she performed?
- Ask to see evidence of any before and after photos of previous operations – this will give you some insight into the surgeon’s skills. But bear in mind that does not guarantee a similar result for you. Each patient is unique and every outcome specific to that individual.
- You should be comfortable with the rapport between you and your surgeon. You should always feel that your concerns are being properly addressed and that you’re satisfied with the answers you’ve been given before the consultation’s over.
- Quiz your surgeon closely to ensure you’ve a good understanding of the likely outcome. So, if you’re having breast augmentation: What will your new cup size be? What will your scars look like? Do the answers match your expectations.
A good surgeon will be happy to address all these issues. You may even be sent off to think about it for a few months if your surgeon is concerned that your expectations are too high.
- Ask about the level of risk, as this will always be an element of every op; even in the best hands, surgery can go wrong, as it’s impossible to predict with 100% certainty how your body will respond to treatment.
For more info
- The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). All of its members are recognised by the NHS as experts in their field. Call 020 7405 2234 or visit www.baaps.org.uk
- The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS). Call 020 7831 5161 or visit www.bapras.org.uk