Cosmetic Surgery Questions and Answers

We have complied a list of frequently asked questions related to cosmetic surgery that we hope you will find useful.

What exactly is cosmetic surgery?

It is commonly though that Cosmetic Surgery is something which has really come about in the last couple of decades; this not so, it’s been around for thousands of years! Reconstructive Surgery really began to be recognised by the medical profession, however, in the 19th Century. The two World Wars in the first half the 20th Century necessitated quick advancements in Reconstructive Surgery and some of the horrific injuries which medics were faced with were unlike any that had been seen before. 

Many of the procedures which can now be achieved through Plastic Surgery are only possible because of the pioneering advancements needed to rebuild bodies shattered by conflict.  As procedures such as these became more common, there started to be an obvious trend emerging between how a person looked physically, or at least how they felt they looked physically, and the happiness and confidence which said person had. Cosmetic Surgery was now seen as a way of rebuilding people emotionally as well as physically.  The first medical societies specifically for plastic, cosmetic and reconstructive surgery emerged in 1931and 1946 in America and England respectively.

Today Plastic Surgery has come on tremendously, with daily magazines and articles constantly stretching the boundaries of research and masses of popular television programs which show the life-changing effect which cosmetic surgery can have on someone.  Cosmetic procedures, especially with the boom in celebrity-obsession, are now an integral part of our national culture.  There are treatments for almost anything that you could think of but the most popular ones include tummy tucks, rhinoplasty (nose-jobs to us non-surgeons), liposuction and breast augmentation or reduction.  It is estimated that around 100,000 surgical procedures are carried out in the U.K every single year!

So why should I have cosmetic surgery?

If someone tells you that they are 100% happy with every single aspect of their body and that, given the opportunity, they wouldn’t change a single thing then, let’s be honest, they’re lying.  Everyone has something about themselves which they don’t like, which they would rather were flatter, or bigger, or shapelier.  However, some people are affected much more by such concerns than others; it is these people who find themselves going down the road of Cosmetic Surgery.

Deep-rooted insecurities about our bodies can lead to many problems: a lack of confidence which leaves us unable to socialise or be active romantically,  a lack of self-worth which perhaps means we don’t get the career advancement we would like in work and a lack of happiness which affects every single aspect of our lives.

Cosmetic Surgery, whilst not a decision which should be entered into lightly, can really change your life, and help you begin to feel secure about the person you really are. It’s not about changing yourself; it’s about gaining the confidence to let the person you truly are on the inside shine through. With the plethora of people now undergoing such cosmetic treatments, both in the U.K and around the world, there is now an unprecedented amount of expertise regarding both surgical and non-surgical options and both operation and recovery times are decreasing all the time.

It’s not a decision which should be taken lightly but it certainly is a decision which could change your life for the better.

What are the risks of cosmetic surgery?

Of course, you shouldn’t rush into any Cosmetic Surgery procedure and there are some general risks which you should be aware of (more specific risks for every individual procedure are available on the different sections of this website and can also be discussed with the surgeon of your choice when you attend your initial consultation).  

As long as you choose a highly-skilled and qualified surgeon, such as the ones featured on this website, risks should be seldom and can more often than not be corrected and treated. The following information should still be read carefully however.  Before you undergo any cosmetic procedure you will have to have a comprehensive, and quite personal, enquiry into your medical and lifestyle history. This is obviously not just to be nosy, your surgeon needs to be certain that you can medically withstand the operation, especially if your treatment requires you to go under general anaesthetic, and that you are emotionally stable enough to cope with the after affects of such wholesale changes to your life that procedures such as a Gastric Bypass might bring. 

Certain medication may be prescribed to you before the operation and, more than likely, medication will be given after the operation.  Obviously, it is imperative that you keep to any pre-care of after-care medical plan which your surgeon prescribes to you and that you treat your wounds or scars in the way explained to you after the procedure. Complications cannot be eliminated completely but, by being sensible and following instructions carefully and correctly, the chances of them occurring can be reduced dramatically.

If the procedure you are undergoing is a surgical one then all the normal surgical risks apply.  Bleeding and blood clots, infections or fluid collecting under the skin are all possible risks however these are normally easily treated if they are spotted early enough.  Some people also have reactions to anaesthesia but your ability to cope with an anaesthetic should be determined before the decision whether or not to proceed with surgery is taken.  If nerves are damaged during surgery then this can result in the specific muscles involved being affected.

The people who are least at-risk of encountering complications on their road to recovery are those who follow surgeons advice about after-care and medication, those who disclose everything fully to their surgeon in their preliminary physical and mental health check and those who allow themselves time to recover and don’t attempt doing too much too soon. A brand-new you is surely worth waiting a little bit longer for!

How do I know if cosmetic surgery is the right option for me?

This will be answered during the consultation between you and the surgeon. He or she will go into your reasons for surgery very carefully. This means taking a full medical history, asking you about your lifestyle and what you hope to achieve by having surgery. The surgeon will want to be confident that this is the right choice for you. He or she will explain the risks as well as the benefits so that you are fully aware of what could go wrong. This is not meant to frighten you off: rather it is to make you aware of the fact that surgery is a big deal and not something to consider lightly. If your cosmetic surgeon feels that it is too risky then he or she will explain why. And, he/she may suggest an alternative.

Do I need to talk to my GP first?

No, but it can be a good idea to do so. Keeping your doctor up to date with your plans for surgery means that he or she will know what they are treating if you do suffer any post-surgery complications.

If you are hoping for the NHS to pay then you will need to speak to your GP first. If he or she is satisfied with your reasons for surgery and thinks that you have a good case then he/she will refer you to an NHS surgeon.

Will my consultation be with the surgeon or do I see a nurse or adviser?

When you arrange a consultation make sure that you see the surgeon. After all, you want to speak to the person who is going to operating on you not a member of staff.

How many questions should I ask during the consultation?

Ask as many as you want. Many patients find that it helps to have them written down beforehand so that they don’t forget any important ones. Usually you cosmetic surgeon will be more than happy to answer your questions. If you still don’t understand something then ask until you do.

What will happen during the consultation with the cosmetic surgeon?

The surgeon will ask you about your healthy, current lifestyle and your reasons for surgery. He or she will perform a physical examination to check upon the area you wish to change as well as assessing your overall health.

The cosmetic or plastic surgeon may ask you to undergo some tests such as blood pressure check and chest x-rays. He or she will also check that anaesthesia is not a problem.

You will be asked to complete a registration form with your personal details and any important medical information. If you have any allergies, have had surgery before or are taking any prescription medicine then mention this to him/her.

What cam go wrong with my cosmetic surgery?

All surgery is risky. Thankfully, these are rare but they do occur and this is something you will need to take into account if you are thinking about undergoing surgery.

Every procedure, cosmetic or otherwise has side effects and complications and these range from the relatively minor to the more serious ones. Every one of the cosmetic procedures featured on this site contains more information about this. What you need to do is to weigh up these risks against the benefits and decide accordingly.

Is it more acceptable to have cosmetic surgery?

Yes. At one time there was a stigma attached to cosmetic surgery. It was seen as something rich and famous people did and for reasons of pure vanity only.

However, due to increased media attention, medical advances and affordable prices, cosmetic surgery is not considered an acceptable practice. For some people it is seen as an essential lifestyle item in their aim to look good and hold back the ageing process for as long as possible.

Many people spend a vast amount of time on their appearance. Eating healthily, working out at the gym, dressing well, these are all aspects of physical enhancement and cosmetic surgery is seen as another form of that.

Another factor is that our society is obsessed with celebrity culture and personal appearance in general. It has become much more competitive and people are now looking to stand out from their peers. Added to this is the fact that it is also youth-obsessed and so no wonder many people feel the pressure to change their appearance.

As long as you are clear as to why you want surgery and are able to make a sensible informed decision then it can change your life for the better.