Cosmetic Surgery Guidance Hopes to Afford Greater Protection


Deciding to undergo cosmetic surgery is a huge step, as former President of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, Rajiv Grover puts it, "once an operation is done - it can't be taken back to the shop."

Cosmetic Surgery Guidance Hopes to Afford Greater Protection

The General Medical Council (GMC), an organisation that sets the standards for doctors in the UK, have released guidance that hopes to protect people from rushing into having a procedure without getting all the right information, or without spending enough time considering whether it is the right thing to do.

What Can Go Wrong?

Undergoing any kind of cosmetic surgery carries a multitude of risks. It could be that you get a 'botched' job, you find that your surgeon wasn't fully qualified, or perhaps the correct procedures weren't followed. Individuals can be left with excessive scarring, battling serious wound infections, or left living with something that isn't at all what they expected.

What Is The New Guidance?

Notable points issued in the guidance include that doctors should:

  • Give patients time to "cool off" by allowing enough time before they decide to have a procedure,
  • Make sure they do not trivialise any risks involved, and value openness and honesty,
  • Get consent from the patient themselves as opposed to delegating this to someone else
  • Not make unjustifiable claims about what the surgery will achieve
  • Not give procedures as prizes (e.g. Two for the price of one)

How Can This Protect Individuals?

GMC Chairman, Professor Terence Stephenson, has stated that cosmetic practice is expanding, "and patients, some of whom are vulnerable, do need to be better protected." It is hoped that the guidance will ensure patients don't feel any pressure to rush into having surgery, and that they have enough time and information to make "an informed choice".

Helen Donaghy, our Partner and Assistant Head of Medical Negligence, agrees that a period of cooling off is crucial;

"Cosmetic surgery is a big step, and a cooling off period before a surgeon can operate is essential as it allows a person to consider all of the risks involved. It makes sure people have the time to ask whether the surgeon is in fact qualified to carry out the procedure, and protects them from rushing into a surgery that they may well regret before they realise that, actually, it is not worth the risk."

Getting Advice

Although problems like infections, scarring, and less accurate outcomes can still occur when nobody is at fault, in some cases this may be the result of medical negligence.

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