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Separate fat from fiction, cosmetic surgery sector told

Gov't recommendations mirror plastic surgeons' views and initiatives

London - 24 April, 2013 -The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons ( ) today welcomes ‘with relief’ the reported findings from Sir Bruce Keogh's inquiry into cosmetic surgery, in particular their recommendation for dermal fillers to be available via prescription only, as well as the need for more evidence-based research in cosmetic surgery.

According to consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President Rajiv Grover;

“We are thoroughly relieved that the Review has come to the same conclusions as we have over the years, specifically the urgent need for dermal fillers to require a prescription for use. This measure will kill three birds with one stone: regulating which ones come onto the market, who can inject them and automatically banning their advertising.”

In addition to the reclassification of cosmetic injectables, the Review's calls for action mirror many initiatives instigated and undertaken over the last decade by the BAAPS, the only organisation based at the Royal College of Surgeons solely dedicated to aesthetic surgery, and which represents the vast majority of NHS plastic surgeons in private practice. Among other recommendations, the report calls for:

The publication of outcome data by all providers across the UK, including number of procedures and complication rates. Historically, the only surgical society collecting data of this type (of its own members) has been the BAAPS

Consultations to only take place with the operating surgeon - a previous survey by the BAAPS highlighted that 97% of members had seen patients who were dangerously misinformed by sales advisors (

The need for insurance to provide security for patients in the event of implant failure and recall, and the development of certain surgical complications. Indemnity cover for all practitioners should be equivalent and accessible regardless of whether they are insured in the UK. The BAAPS has called for similar actions previously (

Qualifications for providers of cosmetic injectables (such as Botox and dermal fillers): the BAAPS has always maintained that there should be specialised training that is more comprehensive than the one-day or weekend courses currently promoted.

A tailored advertising code that will control how cosmetic surgery is promoted to the public. The BAAPS has been very vocal in calling for a code of conduct - if not an outright ban - that should be strictly enforced.

Rajiv says;

“It is great news that the Government is seeking to collect data across the UK in a similar audit initiative as the BAAPS has had in place for many years, to give a truly accurate snapshot of our sector. We are also delighted that the report agrees with our call for patients to have consultations with - and only with - their operating surgeon, rather than sales advisors whose underlying priorities can only be financial gain. We have long campaigned for insurance schemes to be designed for the protection of people seeking aesthetic surgery; as well as for strict codes on advertising, which although not an outright ban, will at least curtail aggressive marketing expressly designed to take advantage of this vulnerable group.”

The report also supports [point 5.17] a new research ‘Institute’ launched by the BAAPS in collaboration with disfigurement charity The Healing Foundation ( which will look into scientific evidence and best practice for aesthetic treatments, which are often marketed directly to the public with little clinical data proving their efficacy.

According to consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President Rajiv Grover;

"We are pleased that the recommendations by the Committee so closely reflect our own views and initiatives championing greater transparency for the benefit of patient safety. To this end we are delighted the report supports the creation of the 'HF-BAAPS Aesthetic Research Institute' which will be housed in the offices of the Healing Foundation at the Royal College of Surgeons. In a sector often derided for its unbridled expansion, unrestricted marketing and unrealistic claims, the HF-BAAPS Institute will play an important role in examining clinical evidence and analysing outcomes, to truly separate fact from fiction. The use of stem cells in fat transfer - procedures already widely promoted to the public but lacking long-term study data - and the pivotal role of psychological assessment are all areas that this Institute is looking into and developing in depth, among others. Sir Bruce Keogh's findings confirm that the cosmetic sector urgently requires detailed scrutiny, and the HF-BAAPS Institute will be the first to explore the evidence base for cosmetic treatments with a view to providing information on efficacy and best practice."

According to Brendan Eley, Chief Executive of the Healing Foundation;

“The public may be surprised to know that whilst there are ongoing, systematic investigations into healthcare treatments and policy (such as the Cochrane Reviews), this has never before taken place in the area of cosmetic surgery. At the Healing Foundation we are delighted to launch the Aesthetic Research Institute in conjunction with the BAAPS to help the profession, as well as the public, make sense of a sector where the objectives of business and medicine are known to regularly collide.”


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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