Help & Support

Cosmetic surgery is now more common than ever, but you should not be swayed by the photo of a pretty model, or supposed ‘customer testimonials’ on an advert.

Always look for a clinic or surgeon with excellent medical credentials. Your choice should be made on the basis of a good reputation rather than the price of your surgery.

Good cosmetic surgeons will be listed on the specialist’s register with the General Medical Council (GMC). They will also be a member of at least one of the following organisations: the Royal College of Surgeons, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), or the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS).

Your own doctor (GP) is usually the best place to start a search for a good cosmetic surgeon. They will be able to offer you advice and can probably recommend a reputable practitioner working within a reasonable travelling distance of your home. You will also be able to find an accredited surgeon via the GMC website, or by searching through the data held on the BAAPS website. The British Association of Cosmetic Doctors represents cosmetic surgeons and their site also contains useful information and advice. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an independent regulator of health services in England. You are within your rights to ask a clinic to show you a registration certificate from the CQC or you can search for it on the online register.

A reputable surgeon will arrange consultation with you prior to the actual day of surgery and will contact your family GP to ensure they are aware of your complete medical history. This should include details of any allergies, reactions to anaesthetics and anything that might cause problems during or after surgery. Although the majority of patients are happy with the results of their operation and do not suffer any long-term after-effects, things can and occasionally do go wrong.

Mistakes, or unwanted occurrences during or after surgery can be down to sheer bad-luck, but you may want a second opinion to establish that this was the case, or to prove wrongdoing or negligence. It is worth noting that around a third of NHS surgeons polled in 2008 knew of cases where surgery abroad had resulted in complications. These included blood clots, infection, blood-poisoning and unwanted results.

If you are unhappy for whatever reason, you should go back to the surgeon or clinic as soon as possible to discuss this. Whilst the NHS will treat any emergency complications arising from UK based private cosmetic surgery, it is actually the original clinic’s responsibility to rectify any problems you may have. If they refuse, or you are still unhappy, you will need to seek specialist professional legal advice.

If it can be shown that the clinic or surgeon has not followed regulations and adhered to professional standards, the Healthcare Commission can take action against them. You can write to The Healthcare Commission, Finsbury Tower, 103-105 Bunhill Row, London EC1Y 8TG, or telephone 0845 6013012.