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What is Cosmetic Surgery?

Cosmetic surgery is carried out when a person chooses to have an operation, or invasive medical procedure, to change their physical appearance for cosmetic rather than medical reasons.

Non-surgical cosmetic procedures, such as Botox and dermal fillers - typically used to relax or fill crease lines - do not involve surgery. However, there are still risks attached. For information about non-surgical procedures visit NHS choices.

The Consultation Process

The most important part of any operation is the consultation where you can explain your concerns and medical history. 

Be cautious of free or no fee consultations, this is a method used by many large cosmetic surgery groups to get you in the doors. Again in this case, consultations may not be with the person who will perform your surgery. It is entirely appropriate that you pay for a consultation with any skilled medical professional. If a surgeon offers their time for free you might want to reflect on the possible reasons why they are doing so.

Your surgeon should take a detailed medical history and ask about any previous operations or illnesses you may have had. You will receive information on the chosen procedure (Usually there can be several surgical options to achieve a particular result) and discuss the results you would like to achieve. Your surgeon should tell you what will happen during your surgery, after your procedure and the risks involved.

This should be an honest discussion of what the operation entails; each procedure has pros and cons and different risks, discuss anesthesia,  the hospital where the operation will be carried out  and recovery (how long will it take, how you are likely to feel at each stage and what care you will require after surgery). 

It is very important to understand as much as you can about the procedure, your consultant and the risks associated.  

Write down any questions, your wishes and concerns that you want to ask your surgeon so you don't forget them. Check the list below for possible questions. 

Your consultation should only be with the consultant plastic surgeon whom you have chosen to perform your surgery, not a salesperson, patient care coordinator or clinic manager.  Patient coordinators and Patient care coordinators (usually paid on commission by cosmetic surgery companies) may tempt you to have procedures that you had not initially planned. 

It is a good idea to see more than one surgeon for different opinions, the price of two or three consultations is relative to the overall cost of an operation and any secondary surgeries or revisions. 

Remember that most reputable surgeons will be in demand and busy so don’t be put off by having to wait for your operation.  Be safe, be sure - good things are worth waiting for! 


Questions to Ask your Surgeon

This list is not exhausted, you should feel that you can ask any number of questions that make you feel safe and sure of the procedure and surgeon you are considering.

1) What is your experience of doing this type of cosmetic surgery?

2) What kind of operations do you mostly carry out?

3) How many of this particular operation do you carry out each year?

4) What are your success rates for this operation?

5) What is the rate of complications that you experience with this kind of operation?

6) Do you have any additional certification/qualifications that make you more experienced in performing this operation? Are you a member of The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) or The British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS)?

7) Can I see some “before and after” photographs?

8) Can I speak to any of your past patients? 

9) What care can I can expect post operation (after plastic surgery)? 

10) Who will look after me?

11) How long will I need to be home/off from work for recovery? 

12) What happens if something goes wrong? What if I'm not pleased with the result? 

13) How much will it cost, including my aftercare? Will it cost extra to have further treatment if something goes wrong?

14) Will I need at home after the operation? How long will I need help for?

15) How long before I can go back to work?

16) Will I have restrictions on my normal activities after the operation? Will I be able to shower, bath, climb stairs, exercise, have sex?

17) When will I need to come back for a follow up appointment?

18) If you are considering breast implants, what type of implant would be used? 

19) What is the track record for that type of breast implant?

20) Where could I find more information about that type of breast implant? 



Thinking of Plastic Surgery?  Here are some
important questions that you should ask yourself to help you make the decision that is right for you. Read the following from the Royal College of Surgeons. 

Breast Implant Safety

Should you wish to find out more about breast implant safety and read statments from BAAPS, please follow this link. 


Making a Complaint

Making a Complaint

Every hospital or clinic has a complaints procedure which will be available on their website or by asking a member of staff.

Ask the hospital or clinic for a copy of its complaints procedure, which will explain how to proceed. Your first step will normally be to raise the matter (in writing or by speaking to them) with the practitioner (eg the nurse or surgeon concerned) or with their organisation, which should have a complaints manager. 

If you're still unhappy, and your procedure took place wither within the NHS in England, UK government departments or other public organisations you can refer the matter to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, who is independent of the NHS and government. Call 0345 015 4033.

Making a complaint about a private hospital

The Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service publishes a code of practice for private hospitals to adhere to and advice on complaints. Two documents, one of which has been written in association with the Patients Association, offer a step-by-step guide to making a complaint.

Making a complaint about a surgeon

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) is a charity dedicated to patient safety through education and standard setting within the sector but is not a regulator, legal organisation or arbitration service so cannot investigate individual complaints. 

The General Medical Council (GMC) regulates doctors and surgeons, with the authority to withdraw a surgeons' 'fitness to practise'. The GMC provides detailed information about how to make a complaint, when to do so, and who to direct it to.



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