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How Good Is Your Plastic Surgeon and Consent Issues In Plastic Surgery

How do people go about choosing a plastic surgeon? Whilst it is probably tempting to choose someone close to home, more research needs to be done than that.

A recommendation from a friend or a family member will go some way to giving you peace of mind. It is important to ask your plastic surgeon or his secretary for a copy of his curriculum vitae (CV), so you can check for yourself what his experience is and how long he has been a consultant.

Do not be afraid to ask your plastic surgeon how many procedures of the sort you are planning to have he has done, not only throughout his career, but during the last twelve months. Also check that your plastic surgeon is accredited by the Royal College of Surgeons as having undergone a satisfactory training in plastic surgery and that his name is on the specialist register of the General Medical Council.

Also ensure that your plastic surgeon is a member of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.

Any additional factors which show that your plastic surgeon really does know what he is doing are also helpful. For example, if your surgeon has edited or written articles for the British Journal of Plastic Surgery or currently sits or has sat in the past on the Council for the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.

An establishment providing cosmetic surgery is an independent hospital within the meaning of Section 2 of the Care Standards Act 2000. The government has published national minimum standards under Section 23 of the Act which do not have the force of law but may be influential in establishing whether a patient has received an acceptable level of care.

Consent To Plastic Surgery

An informed consent by the patient before the surgical procedure is very important.

There is concern that patients are influenced by advertising and promotional literature and that their first contact is not with the surgeon himself, but with a sales person.

If a procedure carries with it a small risk but with dire consequences, such as vivid scarring or serious infection, then patients should be warned about this, even if such a warning might put the patient off altogether.

It is vital that the surgeon explains exactly what will happened during the procedure. This includes the possible risks, the complications of surgery together with likely outcomes whether favourable or not and whether future surgery might be required, for example, replacement of breast implants or revisional surgery for a rhinoplasty (cosmetic surgery on the nose).

It is the consultation process with the plastic surgeon which covers the explanation of risks. The consent by the patient to the surgery should always be done by the surgeon and not immediately prior to the procedure itself.

With most procedures there should be two consultations, the first not being on the day of the surgery itself. Sometimes patients are handed generic leaflets, which is not a substitute for a full and frank consultation with the surgeon.

A good surgeon will make a detailed note of what the patient has asked for and what it is realistic for a surgeon to achieve, together with a full explanation of all the risks and possible outcomes. The surgeon should also record the length of the consultation, should the patient subsequently criticise the surgeon for not having explained everything to him fully.

In conclusion, therefore, in order for a patient to consent properly to surgery, that patient should see the surgeon who is going to carry out the procedure and not immediately before surgery. A good surgeon will explain all of the possible pitfalls of undergoing the cosmetic procedure, even if that means that the patient is put off and does not part with their money!

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