Cosmetic surgery is becoming ever more popular and many people have no worries about booking themselves in for a procedure or two over the course of their lifetimes. Many others, however, like to make sure they’re going to an experienced, reputable surgeon and this trust is as important to them as the results of the operation.
The UK sees around 60,000 procedures each year, with numbers rising by around 10% year on year. It seems that there’s a surgeon on every corner, but this may not actually inspire confidence in you; so, if you’re wondering how to spot a reliable, experienced plastic surgeon who can give you the best possible results, you need to look for a few factors.
Some impressive-sounding qualifications might not actually mean much and given that many cosmetic procedures do involve invasive techniques, it’s just not worth the risk.
How to tell you have the right surgeon
Don’t take their word for it, you need to check that they are fully-trained and qualified. So, your ideal surgeon should:
Be General Medical Council (GMC) registered and on the plastic surgery specialist register. The GMC registers doctors so they can practice in the UK; it aims to uphold standards and safety by making sure everyone operates to a (rather high) minimum level.
Since 1997, any doctor taking up a post within the UK’s health service must be GMC-registered and they need to apply and meet the strict criteria. Plastic surgeons are on a specialist register.
Hold a Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (Plast) qualification
An FRCS qualification means that your surgeon is qualified to practise in the UK and Ireland. As with the GMC, the FRCS works to establish and maintain the highest standards of practice and medical care.
The FRCS is the general qualification; surgeons who have trained in cosmetic surgery have the FRCS (Plast) qualification to their names.
Be a member of BAAPS or BAPRAS
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons is based at the Royal College of Surgeons and was formed to promote and advance education, training and safety within the field. If your surgeon is a BAAPS member, you’ll be sure that he or she has been assessed and examined by peers and colleagues and has been found good enough.
The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons was founded to help surgeons to train in reconstructive surgery. This involves, as you might imagine, intense training that readies surgeons for cosmetic procedures like breast lifts and tummy tucks.
Either membership – some surgeons like Manchester’s Gary L Ross are BAAPS and BAPRAS members – is a sign that your surgeon has the right stuff!
Have worked in the NHS as a consultant plastic surgeon
Plastic surgeons who have had NHS posts as consultants will have a wealth of knowledge and experience in their field.
Work, or have worked, at a reputable facility
If your surgeon works within the NHS then they’ll be working with other specialists and will see a huge range of patients. Similarly, if your surgeon has set up their own practice after leaving the NHS, they’ll still have that experience, as well as the contacts.