So, what exactly is a 'Real Plastic Surgeon'?

The UK has the ridiculous situation whereby anyone with even the most basic surgery qualification can call themselves a Plastic Surgeon, Cosmetic Surgeon, Aesthetic Surgeon, Consaultant and so forth. With non-surgical treatment such as fillers, the situation is even worse.

Anyone can inject fillers into someone else, provided they have permission. So it is therefore perfectly legal for a GP to do a tummy tuck or a plumber to inject you with filler in the UK!

To put things in perspective

Animals in the UK appear to have better protection! Even the most highly qualified surgeon cannot operate on an animal without the appropriate Home Office licenses, and quite rightly so - this protects animals from illegal experimantation and cruelty. But, we as humans, are not so lucky in the UK...

Thankfully, things are improving

The Royal College of Surgeons has made a really good start at setting up a register of surgeons who are qualified to carry out particular cosmetic procedures (for example, only properly qualified plastic surgeons, ENT surgeons, Maxillofacial surgeons shoud be allowed to perform rhinoplasty) and you can see their document here, but at the moment the plan isn't for the register to be compulsory, so the public are still vulnerable to 'Cowboy Traders' out there - see Mr Cavale commenting on BBC News and on Sky News recently.

So, what should you look out for when it comes to choosing a surgeon?

The list below should help you:

  • On the GMC Specialist Register - this means that your surgeon is properly trained, qualified, and specialised. This is also a requirement to be a consultant in the NHS.

  • Member of BAPRAS, BAAPS, ISAPS, or a similar professional organisation. This is further verification of a surgeon's qualifications as you cannot become a member of these oragisations without them.

  • Lives locally so that you are able to see your surgeon quickly should there be a problem after surgery. This is the main problem with going abroad for your surgery, so don't do it! It might be cheaper, but you might pay a much higher price if things go wrong.

  • Insured in the UK - many surgeons are insured abroad - the premiums are cheaper, so the cover is inevitably not as strong. You get what you pay for.

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  • Alex Merphy