How to Choose a Cosmetic Surgeon

Choosing who to carry out your cosmetic surgery can sometimes be more difficult than deciding to have surgery. How do you know if a doctor is right for the job?

It’s an issue of concern to The Royal College of Surgeons in the UK, which has launched a patient resource on its website to provide independent advice on finding a properly qualified surgeon. It comes after a review by the UK’s department of health that reported an urgent need to improve regulation because some doctors were performing cosmetic surgery without training.

How to Choose a Cosmetic Surgeon

At the moment, doctors who provide cosmetic surgery in the private sector only need to be registered with, and licensed by, the General Medical Council (GMC) as a doctor. There is no legal requirement for the doctor to be listed as a specialist surgeon on the GMC’s specialist register.

The Royal College of Surgeon (RCS) now intends to introduce a new cosmetic surgery certification system. Surgeons listed on the register will have shown that they meet the standards the RCS has set to perform cosmetic surgery on a particular area of the face or body. Checking that your surgeon is a registered Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon is the number one action you can take to protect yourself, however you should also seek a doctor who can demonstrate further accreditation. Ocean Clinic’s Head Surgeon Dr. Kai Kaye is not only registered as a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon in the UK, Spain and Germany, he is also affiliated with all the leading industry bodies.

You can find lots of information about your prospective surgeon online, with many organisations having searchable registers. You can find Dr. Kaye listed on the following:
cEuropean Board of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery
Sociedad Española de Cirugía Plástica, Reparadora y Estética (Spanish Society of Plastic, Reparative and Aesthetic Surgery)
Deutsche Gesellschaft der Plastischen, Rekonstruktiven und Ästhetischen Chirurgen (German Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons)
Gesellschaft für Ästhetische Chirurgie Deutschland (Society of Aesthetic Surgery Germany)
American Society of Plastic Surgeons

These organisations have rigorous membership requirements, which not only require a surgeon to demonstrate that they are qualified as a specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, but also that they are experienced. They must also prove that they are committed to continuing education and have a record of safety and ethical practice. Membership is reviewed annually to ensure they continue to be ‘in good standing’.

If you are checking out doctors in Spain, look for the term ‘Licenciado,’ this confirms that a surgeon has a medical degree and is ‘licensed’. A fully qualified and practising plastic surgeon should have the official title of 'Especialista en Cirugía Plástica, Estética y Reparadora' (Specialist in Plastic, Cosmetic and Reparative Surgery) and be registered with the Ministro de Educación, Cultura y Deporte or Ministerio de Sanidad, Servicios Sociales e Igualdad in Spain.

Don’t forget to also look for membership of the Spanish Society for Plastic, Reparative and Cosmetic surgery (SECPRE), which is the equivalent to the British Association of Plastic Surgery (BAPS).

It is advisable to not only look for a surgeon who is qualified in plastic surgery generally, but one who has specific experience in the procedure you require. Ask about the number of times they have carried out your desired procedure and ask the see before and after pictures of previous patients. Be sure to also ask your prospective surgeon about their insurance and find out what it does and doesn’t cover for you, as well as certification information for the hospital or clinic where the surgery will take place.