Choosing a plastic and cosmetic surgeon is difficult in this era of information overload. Having cosmetic surgery is a very personal decision, and in most cases you will have thought about it for a long time. Sadly, any doctor with a medical degree can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon, making this “industry” very unregulated, leading to major patient safety issues.
There are a number of things you can do to determine whether the doctor you choose is the real deal.
It is important you are confident that your surgeon can carry out the treatment you desire safely, to the highest standard and within a high quality healthcare facility that will deliver high quality care across the board.
Check credentials – use the General Medical Council (GMC) free access specialist register at gmc-uk.org and check whether he or she is a specialist, by entering the surgeon’s name.
Check for FRCS (Plast) after the name. This is the specialist qualification signifying they have completed a rigorous training scheme in the UK to allow them onto the GMC specialist register.
Check the Royal College of Surgeon’s cosmetic surgery register at rcseng.ac.uk/patient-care/cosmetic-surgery/choosing-a-surgeon-and-hospital/certified-cosmetic-surgeons. This is a new safety initiative set-up to maintain high standards within cosmetic surgery and can only include those on the GMC specialist register.
Check your surgeon is a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic surgeons (BAAPs). All BAAPs members are on the specialist register and undergo rigorous assessment to be accepted for membership.
AND THE DON'Ts
Settle for counsellors or advisors who “assess” you and suggest surgical treatments. This is a common tactic used in commercial entities. ONLY a surgeon is equipped with the expertise you need to find out YOUR suitability for a procedure.
Be dazzled by “board certified” surgeons. “Board certified” is a North American term that does not exist in the UK and is deliberately used to try attract patients under false pretence.
Be afraid to ask your surgeon what their qualifications are, how many procedures they perform and their complication rates. A safe, ethical and fully trained surgeon should happily share these points with you.