Skip to main content


Surgeons Urge Government to Use EU Exit to Clean up Cosmetic Surgery ‘Wild West’

An End to ‘Fly-in-Fly-Out’ Practitioners

Call to Make Injectables Prescription-Only

Invoice Hospitals Abroad Whose Botched UK Patients Land on NHS Doorstep

London – 6 October 2016 – Brand new data unveiled at the British Association of Aesthetic Surgeons’ ( Annual Scientific Meeting reveals today that; despite an extensive Government review, new for-profit agencies claiming to regulate the cosmetic sector and the launch of online educational resources for the public; a whopping 90% of surgeons have still recorded a dramatic rise in patients being dangerously misinformed about cosmetic surgery.

Whether individual members may have been either ‘Remainers’ or ‘Leavers’, the BAAPS as a whole stands united on one front: the impending exit from the European Union presents Britons with a unique opportunity to finally clean up a sector long described as the ‘Wild West’. The Association; which represents the vast majority of NHS-trained plastic surgeons in private practice; calls upon the Government for a multi-pronged yet clear-cut approach to ensure the future safety of UK patients.

A straw poll of the BAAPS Council demonstrated that 9/10 surgeons have seen a rise over the last three years* – on average by nearly a third (31%) – in patients being wildly misinformed about aesthetic plastic surgery. The top three reasons for unsuitability; in descending order; were the treatment sought not being appropriate for the patient, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD – a psychological condition where self-image is warped or distorted) and medical history making the procedure risky or unfitting. Two out of five (40%) surgeons have seen problems with unregulated facial injectables (dermal fillers) in the same period, all of whom asserted the problems would have been avoided should such treatments be prescription only.

Two out of five (40%) of surgeons have continued to see a rise in problems stemming from cosmetic surgery abroad, with 60% of those recording an increase by as much as a quarter (25%). Another new study presented at the BAAPS conference evaluating the cost to a single NHS Trust alone to be an average £5,000per patient – excluding imaging, medication or any outpatient appointments – with hospital stays ranging anywhere from one to 19 days.

Whilst surgeons admit Brexit is unlikely to impact on UK patients seeking cheap procedures abroad, one of the BAAPS’ proposals calls for foreign hospitals to be invoiced for the necessary reconstructive – and often life-saving – treatment undertaken by the NHS once these patients come home.

According to consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President Michael Cadier;

“Whilst individuals may have widely differing opinions on whether the UK should or shouldn’t have chosen to leave the European Union, the fact remains that Brexit is offering a brilliant opportunity to implement very straightforward changes that can ensure what the BAAPS has long been battling for: safe and effective aesthetic plastic surgery for the British public.”

The BAAPS’ verdict and proposals on Brexit:

·       European surgeons will no longer have the automatic right to work in the UK, so fly-in-fly-out surgeons (aka ‘FIFOs’ or ‘Seagull’ practitioners – because they make a lot of noise, then leave a big mess before flying away); will no longer be as freely contracted by commercial chains who routinely use them for their lower cost. 

·       With the UK free to set their own required standards of regulation and training, businesses can be forced to meet quality levels and to employ surgeons trained to a UK-defined standard, and who are appropriately covered by UK or UK-equivalent indemnity insurance.

·       The BAAPS calls for dermal fillers – injectables which have historically been unregulated and previously described as ‘the next PIP implant crisis waiting to happen’ – to finally be classed as Prescription-Only Medications (POM). By classing dermal fillers as a POM, the practitioners using them can be limited only to those with appropriate medical training, and their advertising to the public would automatically become restricted.

·       Call for NHS hospitals forced to treat patients who’ve returned from abroad with problems to invoice the foreign providers for the cost of reconstructive or medical care.

Michael Cadier concludes;

“Our clear-cut proposals should be seriously taken into consideration by the Government – at the BAAPS we have spent decades doing our best to educate the public and warn them away from unethical offers and procedures performed by untrained practitioners. Yet as our internal survey has proven, many people are still vulnerable and far from well-informed. Now we have a chance to truly change the landscape of cosmetic surgery in Britain and not only ensure safety for the tens of thousands of patients who seek procedures every year, but also remedy for our Health Service hospitals treating victims of surgical tourism.”

The BAAPS Annual Meeting this year has proven a truly global gathering, with surgeons from all over the world presenting on the latest trends, hot topics, advances and techniques. 

ü  Digital dysmorphia - are patients Snapchatting their way into surgeons' offices? 

ü  IV or not IV, that is the question – are vitamin jabs worth it, or just for drips?

ü  Nobody cares about your beard - are ageing British businessmen suffering a mid-face crisis? 

ü  How many cosmetic surgery patients are suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

ü  ROBOT WARS – are burnt-out hair transplant surgeons benefitting from a third wheel?

ü  The half-inch, same-day facelift ....Even your hairdresser can't know for sure!  

ü  Brazilian bootybootybootybooty rockin' everywhere – and what makes it so covetable?!

ü  AFTER THE FAT: Why you can’t just ‘suck it up’ following obesity surgery

ü  3 steps to the perfect implants - "so long, #BeachBoulders ...helloooo, #NaturalFakes"

ü  It's not the picture but the frame: celebrity faceswapping! Jowl never be the same...

ü  It’s so much cuter to have a pëtit mini-rhinoplasty, n’est-ce pas?

ü  Do Brazilians have the bum covered? Au Contraire, Derriére! 1 French surgeon, 120 bums.

ü  California Dreamin' up the solution to top-heavy faces – FOREHEADPLASTY!

ü  When Fat Freezing Goes Rogue - could it be making patients ....fatter? Or could they even be left BURNT?

ü  Spanx but No Spanx:Why internal corsetry is the latest in Brazilian bootyshaping

*One in Five ‘Unsuitable’ for Cosmetic Surgery – Patients Dangerously Misinformed by Salespeople (March 2013)


About the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

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:

For all media enquiries, please contact


View other press releases