Follow these ten essential rules before you go ahead with any cosmetic treatments to keep you safe and confident. The only way to get the best from your cosmetic surgery is to be informed. Arm yourself with as much knowlegde as you can. Get off to a good start with the BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) guidelines for plastic surgery...
1. Make your own decisions:
The real expert on your appearance and any concerns you may have is you. The only assistance you should need is to decide what, if any, surgery you might need, and you should ensure you get unbiased information regarding what might be technically possible and any associated risks and benefits. Do not let anyone talk you into doing anything for which you had little concern before the consultation.
2. Be informed:
Anyone considering any cosmetic procedure should ensure they are fully informed and accept the limitations and risks of any procedure. Remember, no surgeon or procedure is 100 per cent risk free.
3. Be comfortable:
Make sure you feel comfortable with the organisation, surgeon and clinic you have chosen.
4. Know your surgeon:
Many practitioners purport to be experts, but many are not even surgeons. Practitioners may boast impressive sounding qualifications, but these can have little meaning. Organisations associated with and preferably based in the Royal College of Surgeons will demonstrate acceptable standards of practice, i.e., those which you can reasonably expect of surgeons and doctors in general. Hospitals which have strong associations with NHS consultants and practice will also adhere to these standards and so offer some level of reassurance. The BAAPS can help you find a properly credentialed surgeon in your area.
5. Get the timing right:
Unless the circumstances are exceptional, avoid surgery if you have recently experienced major life events such as moving house, changing job, losing a loved one, the break-up of a relationship or the arrival of children.
6. Beware of ‘free’ consultations and avoid booking fees or non-refundable deposits:
These are a typical feature of many commercial clinics. Nothing is free and if the surgery is right for you then there will be no need for you to be locked into going ahead by any financial cancellation penalties.
Do not travel a long distance or overseas for any surgery unless you are comfortable with the arrangements to follow up and the management of any problems or complications which might arise.
8. Talk to your GP:
Your GP has no interest other than your welfare, so many doctors are very happy to advise patients and not be judgmental about something which many people feel very sensitive and vulnerable about.
9. You can change your mind:
Hopefully everything will be totally to your satisfaction, but remember you have the option to cancel right up until the time you go to sleep for surgery. The fundamental reason for the surgery is to make you feel better about yourself, and if this is compromised, surgery should not proceed. No reputable surgeon would normally impose any penalty for cancellations.
10. Take your time:
Remember that undergoing surgery is a serious commitment and is often life changing. This is a decision to think long and hard about, taking into account all risks: health, financial, and emotional!
Consumers can contact the BAAPS advice line at 020 7405 2234, or visit the Web site at www.baaps.org.uk.