There are a number of things to consider before you start your journey to cosmetic surgery.
How to choose your consultant
Choosing the right surgeon is probably the most important step you’ll take. You will be surprised to know that many people in UK offering cosmetic surgery are not qualified plastic surgeons - many are not surgeons, and some are not even doctors.
It’s important to check your surgeon has the appropriate training and experience so before you trust your health in their hands, please check your surgeon is:
- On the GMC specialist register for plastic surgery
- A current NHS consultant as a plastic surgeon (or perhaps a retired one); check the hospital or NHS trust’s website
- A member of British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) or the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS).
The consultation should always be with the surgeon, not a salesperson. You shouldn’t feel pressured about the treatment you’re planning. The surgeon should give you a 'cooling off' period of at least two weeks after your first consultation, so you have time to consider your options.
How to choose your hospital
Choosing the right hospital is no less important. The hospital should have a good reputation, offer a wide range of treatments, have out-patient and in-patient facilities, modern equipment, good aftercare facilities, experienced and helpful staff.
You can also check the latest Care Quality Commission report for the hospital.
What to expect at the initial consultation
A typical initial consultation should last 30-45 minutes. At this first consultation the surgeon should listen to why you want to undertake surgery and what outcome you wish to see. They should also take your medical history and examine you thoroughly. They’ll then explain what treatment options are available and whether they can deliver what you are looking for.
They should discuss in details the pros and cons of each of the available options to help you choose the option that is best for you. There should be ample time for you to ask anything questions too.
What to expect on the day of surgery
The surgeon will see you and explain the surgical process, what to expect afterwards and how to look after yourself. They will examine you and plan the surgery which may involve drawing marks on you.
They should also explain again the possible complications of surgery and what do if you have any problems. This will be followed by the surgeon taking an informed consent from you for the procedure. Most surgeons will take photographs at this stage too.
What to expect after surgery
Depending on the nature of the surgery and the anaesthesia, you may be able to go home the same day or the following morning. Before you go, the nurses will check your dressings and make follow up appointments for you, so that you know when and where to return.
Every surgeon is different but I give my patients my contact phone number and email address, so that they can contact me for any queries, concerns or problems. You should also receive contact numbers for the hospital in case of any questions.
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.