New cosmetic surgery information launched by Royal College of Surgeons

5 October 2016

People considering cosmetic surgery have been given access to a new guide to the procedure from the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS).

The industry body has launched new patient resources on its website, providing advice on how to choose the right surgeon and hospital, explaining the risks of undergoing surgery, and detailing the possible complications to consider.

This comes as part of a wider effort by the organisation to drive up standards of practice in the cosmetic surgery sector and ensure patients are making more educated decisions on the treatment they receive. To this end, the RCS will also be publishing a register of certified surgeons in different cosmetic surgical procedures in the coming months.

It will allow patients to look for a surgeon according to specific procedures, helping them to find practitioners who have provided evidence to the RCS that they have the appropriate training, experience and insurance to practise in the UK.

The Department of Health has asked the RCS to take these steps following the Keogh Review in 2013, in the wake of the PIP breast implant scandal, which identified an urgent need to improve regulation of cosmetic surgical and non-surgical practices in the UK.

These efforts come at a time when demand for cosmetic surgery continues to increase, with data from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons showing that more than 51,000 procedures were performed in the private sector in England last year.

However, many patients still find it difficult to select a suitable surgeon to carry out their operation, due to the fact that some doctors are performing cosmetic surgery without any specific surgical training. Members of the public are also struggling to access reliable and trustworthy information about the pros and cons of cosmetic surgery.

With the launch of these new resources, the RCS is hoping to address this issue, while ushering in a culture whereby patients give themselves more time to reflect on their decision. Its recommendations indicate that those considering surgery take at least two weeks between their initial consultation with an operating surgeon before consenting to undergo the procedure.

It emphasised the importance of patients feeling confident about asking questions, without being subjected to any pressure to agree to surgery until they are ready.

Stephen Cannon, vice-president of the RCS, said: "Undergoing cosmetic surgery is a big decision which should never be taken lightly, and we would urge anyone to think carefully about it. The vast majority of cosmetic surgery is carried out in the private sector, and many people do not realise that the law currently allows any qualified doctor - surgeon or otherwise - to perform cosmetic surgery, without undertaking additional training or qualifications. 

“Our advice is that if you are thinking of having some kind of work done, make sure you consult a surgeon who is trained and experienced in the procedure you are considering."

Posted by Philip Briggs


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