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1 in 5 'unsuitable' for cosmetic surgery - patients dangerously misinformed by salespeople

The recent press release from BAAPS was rather an eye-opener. It reported a survey of its members and discovered that almost all (97%) had seen patients who had had received inappropriate advice at previous consultations with salespeople or ‘advisors’ of some kind or another. In fact, it still takes me by surprise when a patient tentatively enquires at the end of the consultation “will you be doing the surgery?” Whilst this, of course, might reflect my technique it does indicate how pervasive the ‘coordinator culture’ has become so it is welcome that organisations such as BAAPS are striving to restore the practice of surgery to actual surgeons.

It may seem at times that the industry has moved away from the central duty of our Hippocratic Oath, which is first do no harm. Although impossible to entirely disentangle from a commercial interest, informed consent is vital as it balances what is desired by the patient with what is possible and safe to do. The same BAAPS study also found that around 1-in-5 were turned away as being unsuitable for cosmetic surgery because of unrealistic expectations or being medically unfit.

Being surgeon-run, we have always been able to adhere to the basic principles of a patient-centred with informed consent as espoused by BAAPS and, hopefully, shortly to be endorsed by the forthcoming Keogh report into the Cosmetic Surgery industry.