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Cosmetic Surgery – Choosing a Surgeon

Monday, October 1, 2012

Following the PIP breast implant scandal, Britain has launched a review of the entire cosmetic surgery industry which may lead to tighter restrictions on the way companies operate and market their services.

The PIP breast implant scandal exposed certain deficiencies with more than 40,000 British women receiving silicone breast implants made by a French manufacturer which had been filled with industrial grade silicone instead of medical grade silicone.

The Medical Director of the National Health Service in Britain said:

“Many questions have been raised, particularly around the regulation of clinics, whether all practitioners are adequately qualified, how people are advised when money is changing hands, aggressive marketing techniques and what protection is available when things go wrong.”

Mr Keo said he was concerned people do not realize how serious cosmetic surgery was and often failed to consider potential complications.  It is interesting that a survey by the Department of Health found that many people view the cost of surgery as more important than the qualifications of their surgeon or how they would be looked after.

In fact 2/3rds of people questioned considered cost as a factor while only half took the qualifications of their surgeon into consideration.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons is also now advocating a ban on the advertising of cosmetic surgery.

Plastic surgeons in Australia have, for many years, been warning the public to check on the qualifications of their doctor before undergoing cosmetic surgery.  I have written a previous blog on “how to choose a plastic surgeon” and it is perhaps timely to re-read this blog.  At Avenue Plastic Surgery we support a ban on the advertising of cosmetic surgery.  Such advertisements are often in poor taste and seek to encourage people to undergo procedures that they may not really need.  If you are considering cosmetic plastic surgery then you must be aware that surgeons or clinics who advertise or who have a high media presence are engaged in self-promotion.  Advertisements are often designed to entice prospective patients to a certain practice for the monitory gain of the surgeon concerned.  Some surgeons engage marketing companies to advertise on their behalf. They may run ads on television or radio to direct you to their websites! They pay a large amount of money in order to obtain a few patient enquiries.  The surgeons that engage in this practice are usually not the best plastic surgeons or the most experienced plastic surgeons.  Indeed the very act of advertising indicates that “they need the work”!

When considering the cost of cosmetic surgery, cheap cosmetic surgery may not be your best option.  But neither should it be necessary for you to pay an exorbitant sum to have a procedure that you desire.  There are many qualified and experienced cosmetic plastic surgeons in Australia who charge fair prices and who are well equipped to look after your interests before, during and after your surgery.

Having your surgery overseas may seem like a good option and you may be lucky and have a successful procedure. The idea of having breast implants while on holiday in Thailand may seem enticing. Unfortunately, however, travelling overseas for your surgery is fraught with problems.  Even if you are recommended to a specific surgeon, do you know who his anaesthetist will be? Will you have a doctor as an anaesthetist at all?  Or will the surgeon use a nurse as your anesthetist? There have been reports of Australians suffering irreversible brain damage as a result of inadequate anaesthesia in Thailand. Then what happens if a problem arises after your return to Australia? For example, your breast implants may need to be repositioned or replaced and this would all entail additional costs.

There are many reasons why cosmetic plastic surgery is so safe in Australia. The training and qualifications of our plastic surgeons is one.  The fact that we have a number of very experienced plastic surgeons also contributes to the overall safety. Our surgeons operate in Day Procedure Centres or hospitals which are accredited to the highest international standards and this also serves to ensure your safety. Surgeons in Australia always work with fully qualified anaesthetists and this is a very significant factor in ensuring a safe outcome. Cosmetic Plastic Surgery may cost slightly more in Australia but then all plastic surgeons are required to be fully insured and this is a significant safeguard.

So, in cosmetic plastic surgery as in any other area it is a matter of “Buyer Beware”.

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