Cosmetic surgery patients urged to “think carefully”

  • Date: 20 October 2016

PEOPLE considering cosmetic surgery are being warned about the "ruthless" sales techniques used by some private companies.

A new independent online resource from the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) urges patients to "think carefully before cosmetic surgery" and to beware of "aggressive" marketing campaigns.

More than 51,000 cosmetic surgery procedures were performed in the private sector in England last year, according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. Yet the RCS said patients often find it difficult to choose a suitable surgeon and to obtain trustworthy information about the risks involved.

The online resource offers advice for patients on how to choose the right surgeon and hospital, explains the risks of undergoing surgery, and possible complications to consider. The web pages also include a section on questions to ask a surgeon before consenting to an operation, a downloadable checklist, and three short animated films.

The RCS also advises patients to not to rush decisions and to leave at least two weeks between initial consultation with the operating surgeon and consenting to surgery. They should not be afraid to ask questions or feel pressured into agreeing to surgery.

RCS vice president Mr Stephen Cannon said: “Undergoing cosmetic surgery is a big decision which should never be taken lightly and we would urge anyone to think carefully about it.

“The vast majority of cosmetic surgery is carried out in the private sector and many people do not realise that the law currently allows any qualified doctor – surgeon or otherwise – to perform cosmetic surgery, without undertaking additional training or qualifications.

“Our advice is that if you are thinking of having some kind of work done, make sure you consult a surgeon who is trained and experienced in the procedure you are considering. Look them up on the General Medical Council’s register; the RCS website tells you everything you need to know about cosmetic surgery.”


This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

Save this article

Save this article to a list of favourite articles which members can access in their account.

Save to library

Related Content

Medico-legal principles

A difficult decision - the case of Anthony Bland

Case study: Genetic disclosure

For registration, or any login issues, please visit our login page.