What do I want?
Changing features that bother me
Altering unwanted features:
Dissatisfaction with our appearance can vary between bouts of self consciousness to more troublesome concerns including obsessional behaviour and even psychological conditions. We all view celebrities and role models as being attractive and successful and aspire to emulate them.
Fortunately it is true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, changing aspects of our appearance that we do not like does not usually make us more attractive or desirable but can improve our self confidence. Turning to cosmetic surgery when you are going through a life crisis such as marriage breakup, loss of a loved one or redundancy is not usually helpful and often results in dissatisfaction.A consultation with an experienced and responsible surgeon will discuss these points and identify the reasons for wanting surgery and whether what you want is suitable or possible, whether it is achievable and whether it is appropriate for you.
Reversing the signs of ageing:
We cannot escape the passage of timeWe will all age in a fairly uniform and predictable way, unfortunately the rate at which this happens and the degree to which it occurs is not identical and differs widely from individual to individual. The single most important factor in our ageing process and the one we cannot change is our genetic makeup. Factors such as smoking, excessive sun exposure and significant weight changes are all very influential in the speed at which we age.
Facial ageing is a multifactoral processFacial rejuvenation is therefore not a single treatment or operation but a combination of therapies which may need to be continued or repeated long term to achieve long lasting results. Facial surgery is usually not a “one off” event!
What risks am I prepared to take?
There is no such thing as risk free surger, all procedures carry an element of risk and all surgeons experience complications during their working life. The only surgeon who has no complications is the one who doesn’t operate! It is the balance of risk and reward which is critical in deciding whether it is safe and sensible to proceed with a surgical operation.
Surgeons and patients will hold differing attitudes to the risk reward ratio. Some will believe that an increased risk is worth taking in order to achieve more radical results accepting that more complications can occur, at the other end of the spectrum being over cautious may not achieve the results desired. If you are not prepared to accept any risks do not consider having cosmetic surgery.
Am I being realistic?
Models, TV personalities, and film stars achieve the sort of look they have from hours of makeup, digitally enhanced photography and often multiple surgical and non surgical procedures. TV programmes on cosmetic surgery such as Extreme Makeover and Ten Years Younger demonstrate to us that multiple treatment plans incorporating Cosmetic Surgery, Weight Reduction, Increased Fitness Regimes, high quality Hair and Makeup advice, Dental Treatment, Eye lasering and advice on what you wear are all integral to achieving “that look”.
This is all very expensive, how much are you prepared to invest in terms of money and time? Some patients will achieve better results than other s from the same operation by the same surgeon. Photographs of what he has achieved with other people is interesting and reassuring but is not a predictor of your outcome from surgery.
Computerised morphing programmes whereby post operative results can be simulated are helpful in visualising what you may look, it does not guarantee the outcome of the operation. Some patients are better candidates for a given operation than others. Limitations should be pointed out to you during your consultation with the surgeon. Dissatisfaction or unhappiness with the outcome of surgery is more often the result of unrealistically high expectations than technically inadequate treatment.
How much time am I prepared to take out of my life?
Cosmetic Surgery TV programmes condense 6 weeks in to half an hour, reality is somewhat different. Noticeable bruising and swelling will normally have reduced to an acceptable level i.e. coverable with makeup after 2 weeks. You will need to rest ,sleep upright and apply cold compresses where appropriate.
Scars will redden and thicken before maturing to a pale flat line and scars are an inevitable consequence of surgery, they are placed to be as unnoticeable as possible, even so no scar is invisible, and no scar will disappear with time. If scars are unacceptable to you do not have surgery. For most patients 2-3 weeks out of normal work and social life should be adequate.
Who should perform the treatment?
The argument about who is best qualified to undertake Cosmetic Surgery operations is not only long running and complex but also baffling to the general public who are bombarded by qualifications and titles. The majority of surgeons are Plastic Surgeons who if they have undertaken a registered training programme of 6 years in the UK will be registered with the General Medical Council on their specialist register. Plastic Surgeons who undertake cosmetic surgery may do so full time or may combine it with a consultant post within the NHS.
Surgeons who have completed their speciality training and are registered with the GMC, hold a position as a consultant in the NHS and undertake cosmetic surgery can become members of the British Association of Aesthetic Surgery, BAAPS. Patients are encouraged to investigate the background of the surgeon who is proposing to undertake their treatment.
The qualification “Celebrity Clientele” and “Surgeon to the Stars” are as meaningless as they sound. Finding the “right surgeon” is difficult and probably requires you to see 2 or 3 surgeons for consultation more to help you decide what you don’t want or who you don’t like. The time and money you spend on a good honest consultation with a properly qualified surgeon will be the most valuable outlay you make in the whole process.
Where will the treatment be undertaken?
Your surgery will be undertaken either as a day patient or incorporating an overnight stay. You will be informed in advance of which hospital will best suit your needs and requirements. The type of surgery being performed, the need for high level post operative care and where you live will be taken into account in selecting the venue that best matches your individual needs. All the clinic facilities we use are fully registered and conform to the standards of the Health Care Commission.
What happens if something goes wrong?
The fear of something going wrong is a universal and understandable concern for all patients undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures. Whilst no surgical operations can be guaranteed to be risk free, competent and experienced surgeons will do all they can to reduce these risks to the absolute minimum. You will be advised at the pre operative consultation about what the risks are and will have an opportunity to discuss them openly. Because you will not remember every detail of the consultation you will also be given written information to take away and read at your leisure to help you to gain as much knowledge about your surgery as you possibly can.
If you are one of the unfortunate few who does suffer with an adverse event following your operation your surgeon will discuss this with you openly and inform you of the steps which can be taken to resolve any problems. If your problem arises immediately post operatively and you need to go back to the operating theatre there will not be any additional charges. If you require further treatment after your discharge from the clinic you will not normally be liable for any further fees for the surgeon or anaesthetist but will be liable for costs to the clinic or surgical facility where any revisional procedures are performed.
What happens if I am not satisfied?
The goal of cosmetic surgery is to produce an outcome which is both pleasing and satisfactory to both the surgeon and the patient. When a patient is dissatisfied with the outcome of surgery there should be a frank discussion about the reasons that a desired result has not been achieved. If there is a post operative problem that can be resolved with further treatment this will be discussed and a plan made.
If the surgeon feels the result is the best that can be achieved and that further surgery is unlikely to benefit the patient or that further surgery is risky and likely to lead to further problems the patient must be informed of this and the reasons for the decision given.In the circumstances that the surgeon and patient disagree with the reasons that a less than desired result has been achieved a second opinion should be sought from an independent third party
How much is this all going to cost?
Cosmetic Surgery is expensive and apart from exceptional circumstances is not covered by private medical insurance. When calculating the exact costs consider not only the direct costs of the treatments but also the indirect costs from potential loss of income if you cannot work or socialise for an extended period of time.
The costs for the surgery will normally comprise an initial consultation fee and a fee for the operation which will comprise the fees for the surgeon, the anaesthetist and the fee for the clinic including overnight stay if needed .Any additional surgical procedures will not incur any further surgeon or anaesthetic fees but will incur a fee for any surgical facility needed which will be the responsibility of the patient.
Some Do’s and Dont’s
- Think carefully about exactly what you want to achieve
- Be realistic about what you can achieve
- Have an understanding of what you are undertaking
- Research the surgeon and understand what his real qualifications are
- Get more than one opinion
- Go for the cheapest option
- Have surgery to get over a “life crisis”
- Believe that you will look 10 years younger
- Plan a holiday during your recovery
- Have your surgery just before an important event
- Turn to cosmetic surgery to solve your personal problems
We hope that reading through these philosophies will give you a clearer understanding about the process of undergoing a cosmetic surgery procedure. There will of course be questions that will not be addressed here and you should take the opportunity of the consultation process to talk these through with your surgeon. Thorough preparation is the key to success!