How do I check my cosmetic surgeon’s qualifications and experience?

Once you’ve made the decision to undergo cosmetic surgery to correct or enhance either the face or body, the first step is to find a cosmetic surgeon. This is often the most important step in the planning stage, as your practitioner choice can have a profound impact on the eventual success of your cosmetic surgery procedure.

Are they registered with the GMC?

All medical professionals in the UK should be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). As well as telling you whether they are registered to practice, this online registry will also indicate if they are qualified for a particular surgical specialty.

There are ten main surgical specialties and these include general surgery, cardiothoracic, neurosurgery, vascular, oral and maxillofacial and plastic surgery. In the UK there is no legal restriction on surgeons from other specialties offering ‘cosmetic surgery’ as it is purely an elective surgical procedure that is performed privately. However, by choosing a plastic surgeons you will be assured that they have trained for many years in reconstructive and aesthetic surgery, relating to all areas of the body and face.

Are they registered with an independent plastic surgery association?

In the UK, there are two leading independent plastic surgery associations – the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). These associations carry out regular safety audits of their members, so by choosing a BAAPS or BAPRAS registered surgeon, you can be assured they have all the relevant qualifications and are fit to practice.

What should I be asking in my cosmetic surgery consultation?

  • Once you have identified one or more potential practitioners, the consultation is a vital opportunity to find out more about their experience. Here’s some questions to ask:
  • How many years’ experience do you have in plastic surgery and in the particular procedure I am interested in?
  • How many procedures of this type do you perform a year/month/week?
  • Do you think my expectations are realistic and do you have before and afters of patients that have undergone a similar procedure to me?
  • How would you manage any complications if they arose?