Finding a Cosmetic Surgeon

How to find a cosmetic surgeon

This is the most important part of the treatment process.  After all, you are placing your trust, and in many cases, your life in this person’s hands. So, you want to be absolutely sure that you are making the right decision.

Finding a surgeon

So, where do you start?

Useful organisations

A good place to start is the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, known as BAAPS. This is a well respected, professional organisation which regulates the training of cosmetic surgery. They will be able to give you advice and help on finding a surgeon.

Another equally useful organisation is The British Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons or BAPRAS.

It takes many years of hard work and dedication to achieve membership of either of these organisations. So, if your surgeon is a member of any of these two bodies then you can be sure that they are highly qualified and experienced.

When you are speaking to several surgeons to find the most suitable one for you, ask if they are a member of either of these two organisations.

And, visit the website of the General Medical Council (GMC). They hold a Specialist Register of Plastic Surgery which lists all qualified cosmetic surgeons. Any surgeon wishing to be registered has to pass very strict criteria.

Your GP

Another good source is your GP. He or she will be sympathetic to your reasons for wanting cosmetic treatment and will offer impartial advice. He or she can also refer you to a cosmetic surgeon if necessary. The NHS does not usually pay for cosmetic surgery as it tends to view it as a lifestyle choice but there are a few exceptions.

The NHS

If you can demonstrate that there is a pressing medical need, for example, chronic back and neck ache from large breasts then the NHS might pay for your treatment. If you are considering this option then you will need GP referral.

The internet

The internet is always a good place to try. There are countless cosmetic surgery websites although you need to be aware that some are more professional than others.  Most surgeons and clinics are licensed and qualified but like any walk of life there are, unfortunately, a few charlatans out there.

Be careful of the providers who offer special deals or ‘cut price surgery’. You want a provider who is concerned with your wellbeing and will put your needs before profit.

Other good sources include speaking to other patients who have undergone a cosmetic procedure and asking your hair stylist or beautician.

Word of mouth

This is still one of the best forms of recommendation. If you have a friend or know someone who has recently had surgery, and is very pleased with the results then ask them for the name of their surgeon.

When you have done all of this it is a good idea to compile a list of 4 or 5 surgeons whom you are interested in talking to. This means ‘interviewing’ them to see if they are reputable and the best person for the job. 

Interviewing the surgeon

There are a whole range of questions that you can ask. These include questions about the surgeon him/her self as well as ones specific to a particular procedure.

This can be a time consuming and stressful process and so one way of reducing this is to draw up a list of questions beforehand. If you forget a question then you have it written down in front of you. You can also note down the surgeon’s responses to your questions.

Here is a list of suggested questions:

About the surgeon

  • How long have you been practising?
  • Do you hold an NHS consultant post or have you held one?
  • Are you a member of BAAPS/BAPRAS or BACS?
  • Are you registered on the GMC’s Specialist Register of Plastic Surgery?
  • How many years experience do you have in this procedure?
  • Do you perform this procedure only or do you perform other procedures?
  • How many procedures do you do each year?
  • What are your success rates for this procedure?
  • What are the risks/complications with this procedure? How likely are they to happen in my case?
  • Can I change my mind at any time?
  • Do you have any ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs that I can look at?
  • Can I speak to any of your patients who have had this surgery?
  • Do you have any published papers I can look at?

Medical history

  • I am a smoker; will I have to give up?
  • I am taking prescription medication (Warfarin, aspirin, anti-inflammatory medicine etc), do I have to stop taking these?
  • I have allergy/allergies; can I still have surgery?
  • Is there anything in my medical history which might rule me out from surgery?
  • If I am not suitable for surgery can you suggest an alternative?

Hospital or clinic

  • Is the procedure performed in a hospital or a clinic?
  • How long will I have to stay in hospital?
  • What back up care is available in case something goes wrong?
  • What do I need to bring with me on the day of my procedure?
  • Can my partner stay with me?

The procedure

  • Do I get a choice of anaesthetic?
  • How long does the procedure take?
  • What can I expect from this procedure?
  • Is there much pain with this procedure?

The recovery

  • How long will the recovery take?
  • How long will it be before I can resume normal activities/sport/the gym etc?
  • What happens if something goes wrong?
  • Can I contact you in case of emergency?
  • What aftercare is provided?
  • How long will I be off work?

Finance

  • What does the quote include?
  • What is not included in the quote?
  • Do you have your own finance scheme (loans)?

As well as the technical aspects you also want to be sure that you like and trust your surgeon. There needs to be a good rapport between you and that you feel this is someone who is both compassionate and understanding. It helps if you like him/her so make sure you feel relaxed and at ease with your surgeon.

If the surgeon is pushy, aggressive, appears uninterested or tries to pressurise you into making a decision then find someone else.

If he or she tries to force you into thinking about other procedures, only seems interested in money or tries to persuade you to consider
a ‘low cost’ deal then again, walk away.

A reputable surgeon will advise you to take a couple of weeks before making a decision. This is what is known as a ‘cooling off’ period and gives you time to reflect upon what it is a life changing decision.

During this time talk to your other half, your friends and your family. Ask them for their objective opinions and be very, very clear as to why you want cosmetic surgery.

Above all, make sure you are doing this for yourself!