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Over the past decade, the number of people electing to have cosmetic surgery has seen a significant boom. In the UK alone, the industry is estimated to be worth £3.6 billion a year, and according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), over 28,000 procedures took place in 2018 alone.

With popularity increasing, it is important to remember that all cosmetic procedures have some risks. Whether you’re having a surgical procedure, like breast implants, or a non-surgical procedure, like dermal fillers or Botox it is important to make sure you are prepared and making an informed decision.

Research Your Options

It is important to choose a reputable, safe and qualified practitioner who is trained and experienced in the selected procedure. Look for a practitioner who is registered with a body such as the Cosmetic Practice Standards Authority (CPSA).

In the UK, only doctors who are registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) are permitted to perform surgery. You can check your surgeon’s name on the GMC website, which offers a medical register on which you can view your doctor’s record. It shows the type of registration they hold, their training and other useful information.

You can also research the clinic or hospital in which your surgeon will be performing your treatment. In England the hospital or clinic must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC inspect providers of cosmetic surgery and, once an inspection has been completed, a quality rating will be published online.

If you’re having cosmetic dental treatment, look for a dental professional registered with the General Dental Council (GDC).

Some surgeons may also be on a specialist cosmetic surgery register, such as the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) or the Royal College of Surgeons: Certified Cosmetic Surgeons

Read Reviews; be cautious of celebrities who advertise practitioners on social media. Often social media influencers are paid for those ads, so they are not always a genuine representative of the service provided.

If they are not readily available online, ask your surgeon if you can see before and after pictures of similar procedures they have performed.

Unfortunately, there are not as many regulations for procedures such as fillers and other injectables. Make sure your practitioner has a high level of qualification, training and extensive experience. For example, you may want to be cautious of a practitioner who has only completed a couple of days of training in your chosen procedure.

Ask the Right Questions

All cosmetic surgeons should offer a consultation service before any procedure. Consultations should last for at least thirty minutes and you should have two before your procedure. Some important questions to consider asking may be;

  • Are there alternatives to undergoing cosmetic surgery?
  • What are the potential risks of this treatment?
  • What are the signs of complications during aftercare?
  • What aftercare to expect, and who will provide this?
  • What is the recovery period?
  • What to do if something goes wrong or you’re not happy with the result?
  • Am I a good candidate for this treatment? Will this procedure achieve the outcomes I want?
  • Are my expectations realistic?

You can also ask your practitioner questions such as;

  • How many of these procedures have they done?
  • What qualifications and training do they have?

If you are having a procedure such as dermal fillers, make sure you ask who will prescribe it, who will provide the actual treatment, the name of the product that will be used and where the product came from.

They should provide you with information such as how long it will take, how the procedure will be performed, and whether anaesthetic is needed. They should also tell you what to expect after the procedure, such as whether you can expect any pain, how long recovery should take, the potential risks and complications, and how long the results will last.

During the consultation it is important to pay attention to your practitioner’s manner – do you feel comfortable and safe around them? Do you feel they are being honest, and realistic?

Pay Attention to The Small Print

Make sure you carefully read through any terms and conditions before committing to a procedure. During your consultation, ask your practitioner if you can take any documents or literature home so that you have enough time to read through and process any information, including any available leaflets from the manufacturer of the product they’ll use; don’t feel rushed into making a decision during your consultation.

Consider the costs; the costs will vary depending on the type of procedure you’re having, but make sure you also factor in any aftercare or future procedures you may need to maintain the look.

Check your surgeon has insurance. You can ask the clinic to provide the surgeon’s insurance or confirm that they will cover the costs if anything goes wrong.

Don’t Rush Into It

Don’t rush into a decision. Any type of surgery can lead to serious complications if not performed correctly and can affect your mental health if they do not turn out how you expected.

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