Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

How to Avoid the Cosmetic Cowboys? Committing to cosmetic surgery is a serious undertaking and certainly shouldn’t be rushed into, however there are a large number of clinics engaging in unethical marketing techniques.

According to research presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), patients are being sold to by salespeople and rushed into making a decision.

Choosing a Plastic Surgeon

Medical students Sohaib Rufai and Chris Davis conducted a study of the top 50 providers of cosmetic surgery (as listed by Google) and found:

14% of consultations do not take place with the operating surgeon but with a sales consultant instead. Only three in five practices stipulated the recommended two-week cooling-off period. 52% offered promotional deals – 27% of which were time-limited.

The research found non-compliant providers, going against industry guidelines, were typically chain companies rather than independent individuals or small group practices.

Two years ago, a major review of cosmetic surgery and non-surgical beauty treatments was led by Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The review was prompted by the “explosive growth” in the number of non-medical professionals offering dermal fillers, such as Botox, and also by the PIP breast implant scandal.

It found that with cosmetic procedures in general, patients were not being given enough information about the risks and were rushed into making decisions.

“The Review Committee was concerned about reports of patients being offered discounts for surgery if they sign a binding contract at the end of the first consultation,” stated the report.

“There were similar concerns following reports of enticements using ‘last minute’ and ‘late space’ deals whereby the patient was offered a discount to fill a ‘free slot’ a matter of days after the initial consultation.

“A patient cannot give informed consent if they are not provided with time to reflect. It is not acceptable that patients are encouraged to commit to such a significant decision without the opportunity for careful consideration.”

The review made a number of recommendations, including banning time-limited and package deals and financial inducements.

For surgical procedures, it proposed the introduction of a two-week cooling off period before surgery, as well as two-stage process of written consent.

However, the new research by Rufai and Davis found that not one provider stipulated compliance with two stages of signed consent.

“Government recommendations emerging from the recent Keogh review continue to be shamelessly flouted by the industry,” says BAAPS. “Whilst there have been some improvements in cosmetic surgery marketing in the last two years, the guidelines determined by the Keogh review continue to be pointedly ignored, mostly by the larger commercial chains.”

Make sure your surgeon is registered with the certifying body in their country of practice. Head Surgeon of Ocean Clinic, Dr. Kaye is a fully registered plastic surgeon in Spain, Germany and the UK. He is also a full member of professional bodies such as The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and The British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons and he is a fellow of the European Board of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery.

Does the surgeon/clinic have a good reputation? Check for reviews online and look for awards and certifications. Ocean Clinic Marbella has been certified by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and has won numerous awards, including the WhatClinic Customer Service Award and the one2one Medical Tourism Award.

Ask to see before and after photographs of patients who have had the procedure you’re requesting for reassurance your surgeon has sufficient experience. You can see pre and post operative photography from procedures carried out by Ocean Clinic Marbella here.

It is vital that your consultation takes place with a properly qualified medical professional who can assess your suitability for the treatment requested. They will be able to advise you on achievable results, as well as any risks involved. At Ocean Clinic you will always see the operating surgeon or specialist who will carry out your treatment.

Your safety during surgery depends in large part on the anesthetist and the operating facility, so you should ask for full details. If you are considering surgery at Ocean Clinic Marbella you will be invited to tour our state-of-the-art in-house facility, which includes 5 bedrooms for overnight stays.