When thinking about cosmetic surgery there are a huge range of resources you can look at. There are umpteen websites, you can speak to friends and family, chat to your GP, ask online forums, speak to various providers on the phone and research the range of associations.
But where should you start and who can you trust?
If someone’s thinking about cosmetic surgery, where should they do their research?
There are many good UK websites, including UKAAPS, BAAPS and BAPRAS. Some newspapers can be helpful and there can be good information in the Telegraph’s health section. The NHS website has lots of information too, as does the Spire Cosmetic Surgery website.
Should they speak to their GP? Why?
If you have a GP, have a chat with them to make sure that you’re suitable to have cosmetic surgery and you don’t have a medical condition or medication that could affect the outcome of surgery.
What about asking online forums?
If you’re going to look at online forums I would suggest starting your search by reading comments on the two largest online blogs, Real Self and soFeminine. Please note these are personal opinions and not scientific commentary.
Could they ask past patients of the consultant?
A consultant will usually be able to provide a past patient for someone to speak to. Sometimes, for reasons of confidentiality (particularly with facial surgery) ,it’s not always easy to do this, but ask the consultant to help with this.
What professional bodies should they look at? (eg, BAAPS/BAPRAS)
Many surgeons are or were members of BAAPS and BAPRAS, however I would also suggest looking at the UKAAPS and ISAPS websites. These are UK and nternational websites of registered experienced and respected plastic surgeons.
What brochures, magazines and websites should they look at?
There are many good websites, however almost all are self-serving and it can be difficult to unpick spin from reality. One of the best websites is probably the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. I think this one provides some of the most accurate and complete unbiased information.
Should people speak to friends and family? Why?
It is always worth seeking advice from friends and family, because they usually put a realistic perspective on the treatment they had. They’ll also be able to provide practical help in the immediate post-operative period.
What is the most important factor patients should consider when doing their research?
The most important factor is to make sure that you have developed a trusting relationship with your surgeon providing the treatment.
What’s the most important piece of information someone needs to help them make the right decision for them?
The most important information people can gather is the information provided in the consultation with the surgeon. I believe it is always better to pay for this consultation and afterwards you should receive a letter explaining the consultation, with a back up letter to your GP. For complex surgery, such as a facelift or a rhinoplasty, many people require at least two consultations.
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.