When you give consent to your surgeon, just what are you agreeing to?


Did you know that doctors must make you aware of all risks of any medical procedure that ‘a reasonable person’ would think material before carrying it out?

This means that if you’re about to commit to a cosmetic procedure, her or she must make you fully aware of any possible risks in the proposed course of treatment – as well as any reasonable alternatives.

They must also take time in sharing this information in a way that you can understand.

The legal expectations upon medical professionals have tightened up of late – even if not to the extent that organisations such as BAAPS and BAPRS and other interested parties might want.

However, whether you are about to undergo mole removal, a cosmetic implant, or another surgical enhancement, the risks need to be highlighted.

The excuse of time pressures preventing this provision of information of all the ‘material’ risks taking place is not acceptable.

It’s important, therefore, that you ask your surgeon to provide you with all the answers to any queries you have and that he or she allows you time out to consider all the information.

Additionally, this information should not just be given during the consultation period – rather, it needs to be shared throughout your journey – not just when consenting.

Informed consent before a patient receives treatment is a basic principle of modern healthcare and, as a patient, you need to be aware of this, too.

Make sure your doctor gives you enough time to reflect on the pros and cons of having the procedure before you go ahead.

And don’t forget that you can change your mind at any stage, even after you have made a commitment.

Your doctor should tell you this and also explain what the practical and financial implications will be if you decide not to go ahead.

A doctor will always take your wishes and preferences into account but he or she is not under any legal or professional duty to provide the procedure if they don’t think it is appropriate.

If this is the case, they should explain why and discuss other available options, including your right to a second opinion or your right to be referred to another practitioner.

if you are thinking of having cosmetic surgery, make sure you consult a surgeon who is trained and experienced in the procedure you are considering.
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