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Common sense prevails in advertising

Complaints from Commercial Clinic about Cosmetic Surgery Ad Not Upheld by the ASA

London, UK- 28 October 2009 - The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (, the not-for-profit organisation established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit, today expressed delight over the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruling on their recent advertising campaign, which portrayed a life-sized scalpel in gritty black and white and urged patients to check surgeon credentials. The BAAPS was concerned that should the ASA have agreed with the sole complainant – a commercial clinic – that formal training is not essential to perform cosmetic procedures, it would have rendered databases such as the General Medical Council’s Specialist Register useless and thrown the public into fresh confusion regarding practitioner qualifications.

According to Douglas McGeorge, former BAAPS President and consultant plastic surgeon who spearheaded the campaign in 2008;

“For a long time the BAAPS had grown increasingly concerned about the standard and style of cosmetic surgery advertising, designed to encourage and incentivise people to undergo procedures. Our ad was designed to get patients to stop and consider carefully what’s involved, to ensure safe and happy outcomes.”

Despite this straightforward objective, a private cosmetic surgery provider complained to the ASA that there is no qualification for cosmetic surgery in the UK and that experience could equate to formal training.

According to BAAPS President Nigel Mercer;

“We’re pleased that the ASA did not uphold these complaints. We have always advised patients to check their surgeon is on the Specialist Register of the GMC before undergoing treatment. All BAAPS surgeons must be on this Register, have held a substantive consultant post in the NHS and be recommended by members who vouch for them. In addition they must submit an annual audit. The objective of our advert was to make people think twice about who would be holding the scalpel and what the risks of surgery might be - we hope we have achieved that.”

The BAAPS will continue with their commitment to excellence in aesthetic surgery and to educate the public about cosmetic procedures.


The BAAPS (, based at the Royal College of Surgeons, is a not-for-profit organisation, established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit. Members undergo thorough background screening before they can join. Information about specific procedures and surgeons’ contact details can be found on the website, or by contacting their office at 020 7430 1840. Further materials can be posted to members of the public seeking specialised information. BAAPS is also on Twitter:   and Facebook:

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