What is cosmetic surgery?

Cosmetic surgery, also known as aesthetic or plastic surgery, is the art of surgical procedures to enhance beauty and appearance

What is cosmetic surgery?

Cosmetic surgery, also known as aesthetic or plastic surgery, is the art of surgical procedures to enhance beauty and appearance. It involves various basic techniques such as removing excess tissue, adding more volume, redistribution or a combination of these.

Cosmetic enhancement isn’t always surgical. It can sometimes be minimally invasive or non-invasive techniques such as lasers, chemical peels, fillers and injections.


Dos and Don’ts

If you’re researching cosmetic surgery there are a number of things to bear in mind:


Find out more about the limitations and consequences of the procedure and all possible options

Do conduct lots of research into the procedure, consultant and where you will have the surgery

Try to have clarity about what exactly you are looking for

Make sure your expectations are realistic

Wait until you’re ready, physically and emotionally, for cosmetic surgery before booking your surgery date.


Have a surgical procedure to follow the latest trend or fashion

Have surgery to please someone. It should be your decision

Expect surgery will change your outlook or attitude to life

Compare your body and results to your friends or somebody else - everybody is different


The four Ws of cosmetic surgery

There are four Ws to consider when researching cosmetic surgery: why; who; where; and what.

Why are you considering surgery? 

How do you expect to feel afterwards? Is this realistic?

Who will do the surgery? 

Who will be your consultant? Who will be your hospital provider? Who will be your nurse looking after you?

Where will you go? 

Where is the hospital? Where are the consultations and follow up appointments held? What are the clinical standards at the hospital?


What procedure will you have? How experienced is the consultant and hospital in performing that procedure? How is the procedure performed?


Cosmetic surgery is about providing the right procedure for right person, for the right reasons, in the right way at the right time and place.

What else should be considered?

You should spend the majority of your research finding the right consultant for you. After all, they’re the one who will be performing the operation so you’ll want someone you feel confident in, who understands what you hope to achieve and is experienced in cosmetic surgery.

You should also check the consultant’s qualifications. A good consultant will be happy to confirm what qualifications they have. It can be difficult to decipher exactly what the different qualifications, registrations and memberships mean, so here’s a summary of what to look out for:

Are they qualified with the CCT (Certificate of Training in Plastic Surgery or sub-speciality)?

Do they have a substantive post in the NHS? This can be a good indicator of fulfilling all requirements.

Are they a member of the FRCS Plastic surgery (Fellow of Royal College of Surgeons, plastic surgery)?

Are they a member of either BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) or BAPRAS (British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons)? This can be a mark of quality.

Check the consultant has indemnity cover with a Medical Defence Union (MDU) or similar organisation. This means the consultant is insured, just in case anything goes awry.

Check the hospital has been inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and they’re compliant with their standards. You can view past inspections on the CQC website.


Mr Azhar Iqbal

FRCS, FRCS Edinburgh, MSc, FRCS Plastic surgery



The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional.