A whopping 80% of plastic surgeons have seen a rise in requests to fix botched jobs.
A poll by the British Association of Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reveals that member clinicians say eight out of ten have witnessed an alarming increase in requests from patients to correct failed cosmetic procedures during the last five years.
Some members claim as much as a third of their own practice is taken up with fixing other people’s mistakes. Others avoid taking up these cases and decline treating them, as the problems are often unsolvable.
Surgeons identified the reasons for the revisions as falling into three main culprits:
- Two out of five (40%) cite patients being incorrectly selected for the initial surgery (they had been medically or psychologically unsuitable for a particular procedure, yet it was performed nevertheless)
- Nearly one third (30%) state the original procedure had been clearly carried out by someone with dangerously inadequate training
- Another 30% are stuck picking up the pieces from cheap deals abroad.
According to consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President Simon Withey, whose own practice sees a huge proportion – as much as 40% last year – of revisional work.
He says: ‘Patient selection is one of the most key issues to consider when considering who is appropriate for a procedure.
‘There is currently – perhaps unsurprisingly, in these turbulent times – a measure of financial uncertainty in the UK. Thus, affordability is one of the biggest drivers in the rise of “cosmetic medical tourism” deals offering all–inclusive package holidays and the promise a high quality service at heavily discounted rates.
‘However, these promotions conveniently gloss over the increased risk of complications post-surgery due to travel, less robust regulations and credentialing, as well as a lack of consistent follow up.
‘This has directly led to an increase in the number of reported cases of people returning to the UK with serious complications after receiving cosmetic surgery abroad. Consequently, many patients are being treated in the NHS for complications – one study presented at today’s conference in one hospital alone pinpoints the average cost of each patient at a staggering £13,500 each, on average – a total of over £282,000 just for 21 patients!’
Here, consultant plastic surgeon Marc Pacifico with his top tips to perfecting a safe makeover…
1. 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).
2. 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 yourjowls, 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!
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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!