4. Questions to ask your
Being well-informed will maximise your chances of being satisfied with your treatment. It’s worth investing time to find out the answers to the following questions before or during your consultation. You’ll usually be paying for the surgeon’s consulting time, so don’t be afraid to use this time to ask plenty of questions.
1. What qualifications does the surgeon have?
Check whether they have just FRCS (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons) – which all surgeons have – or if they have FRCS (Plast)*, which is a further qualification in plastic surgery.
2. Is the surgeon on the General Medical Council (GMC) specialist register?
You can check on the GMC website, or by calling the registration helpline: 0161 923 6602.
3. What professional organisations is the surgeon a member of?
A member of BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) has further specialist training in cosmetic surgery. A member of BAPRAS (British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons) has specialist training in plastic and reconstructive surgery and may also perform cosmetic work.
4. What experience does the surgeon have in performing your procedure?
Ask how many operations they performed in the last year, how they measure their results and what proportion of their patients need further corrective surgery. These are perfectly reasonable questions to ask and a good cosmetic surgeon will be pleased to explain their results and experience to you.
5. Can you speak to some of the surgeon’s previous patients that have had the
operation you are considering?
Specialist cosmetic surgeons often have a list of previous patients who are willing to speak to other patients about their experience. For confidentiality reasons, you’ll need to be prepared to give a telephone number, so that the patient can contact you rather than you calling them.
6. If you will be having a general anaesthetic, who will be the anaesthetist
and what are their qualifications?
The anaesthetist should be listed on the GMC specialist register. You can check on the GMC website or by calling the registration helpline: 0161 923 6602.
7. How many cosmetic surgery operations in total does the hospital or clinic perform each year? And how many of the procedure you’re considering?
The registered manager of the hospital or clinic should be able to provide you with this information.
8. What quality standards does the hospital or clinic have?
You can check clinical quality standards by requesting a copy of the last Care Quality Commission report from the registered manager of the hospital or clinic or by checking the Care Quality Commission website. Some care providers also publish clinical outcome information on their own websites.
9. What medical back-up facilities and staff are in place to support cosmetic
If you’ll be staying overnight in the hospital or clinic, ask about the resident doctor arrangements should any problems arise during the night.
10. How can you best prepare for the procedure?
This will depend to some extent on the type of cosmetic surgery you are having. Ask the surgeon for more details.
11. What results can you expect and how long will they last?
Ask the surgeon to define subjective terms such as ‘significantly improved’. Ask the surgeon if the procedure will need to be repeated in the future to maintain the result. If you are having implants or fillers ask how long they will last and if they will need to be removed or replaced at a later date.
12. What are the side-effects and potential complications of the procedure?
All operations carry risks as well as benefits. The chance of complications depends on the type of operation and other factors such as your general health. Your surgeon should explain how the risks apply to you. Ask about the psychological aspects and how most patients feel afterwards; a change in appearance can have profound emotional effects that you may not be expecting.
13. How long will it take to recover from cosmetic surgery and what will this involve?
Ask the surgeon how you should expect to feel and to what extent you will need to ‘take it easy’, as you may need to make additional childcare arrangements or organise other help at home.
14. How much time off work should you allow?
This will depend on the type of cosmetic surgery or treatment you are having. Ask the surgeon for more information so you can arrange time off in advance.
15. What are the follow-up arrangements at the hospital or clinic if you have any worries or feel that your recovery is not going well?
Ask how you will contact the hospital in the event of a concern and whether you will be able to see the same surgeon that performed your original operation.
16. How much scarring is there after the procedure? Will it change over time?
This will depend on the type of cosmetic surgery you are having. Ask the surgeon for more details.
17. If you are not happy with the results of your procedure, what corrective treatment will the hospital, clinic or surgeon provide? Will there be a charge for this?
Occasionally, there are times when patients are not happy with the results of their surgery. It’s important to have realistic expectations of what surgery can achieve. But you should ask what corrective treatment will be provided if you are unhappy and whether you will need to pay for this.