Plastic surgeon Marc Pacifico with his top tips to perfecting a safe makeover
What’s your background, training, qualifications and experience? There is no recognised medical specialty of ‘cosmetic surgery’ so, quite worryingly, any doctor can label themselves a cosmetic surgeon — even those not trained in surgery! Ensure you see a fully accredited consultant plastic surgeon who is on the specialist register of the GMC as a plastic surgeon, and is also a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).
What treatment options can you offer? The cosmetic surgeon must be able to explain why they would recommend their preferred option. For example, if you’re unhappy about your jowls, then the treatment options might include non-surgical and surgical choices. Be wary of a specialist only being able to talk about one option, as it might suggest they are only discussing the option they themselves can offer, and that might not be the best choice for you!
What ‘before and after’ photographs do you have — of your own patients? I am shocked to hear that sometimes patients are shown ‘before and after’ pictures during consultations that are from other specialists, and not the doctors in front of them. You must ensure that the pictures you are being shown are the result of that plastic surgeon’s own work so you can take a view regarding whether or not to proceed with them.
Where will the surgery take place? You need to establish that the surgery will be carried out at a CQC-registered hospital, with all the appropriate facilities, equipment and back-up arrangements if required. You should also check that the staff at the hospital are used to looking after plastic surgery patients.
What after-care arrangements are planned? The after care is as important as the surgery itself. It is important you have regular visits arranged in the early post-operative period, and easy access to the surgeon or nurse for any concerns or questions you may have. In addition, follow-up should be arranged over the course of a year to ensure your long-term result is monitored. BE WARNED. You should NEVER be discharged at six weeks!