How to minimise the risk in cosmetic surgery

minimising cosmetic surgery risk

The vast majority of cosmetic surgery procedures are elective – people have chosen to have them rather than require them due a genuine medical need. They are growing in popularity and have been for many years and so many of these procedures are now regarded as commonplace. It can sometimes be easy to forget that there are serious risks associated with any surgical procedure, cosmetic or not.

Any form of medical or surgical intervention carries risks. Depending on the nature of the procedure, these can be small, or they can be significant, but whatever the risks are, it is important that patients fully understand them before making the decision to go ahead. But, is it possible to minimise these risks?

Minimising cosmetic surgery risk: cosmetic surgeon choice

Who you choose to carry out your surgery is the most significant way you can mitigate potential risks.

There are a number of ways that you can be reassured by the calibre of the plastic surgeon you are thinking of choosing:

  1. Trust recommendations. Do you know someone else who has undergone a similar operation with the same surgeon? Can you access independent, up-to-date reviews of other patients’ experiences? Listening to the experience of others is really important to ensure you are choosing the right practitioner for you.
  2. Check the surgeon’s credentials. In the UK, cosmetic surgery (like any field of medical practice) is heavily regulated, and this information is publicly available. The General Medical Council (GMC) holds a database of registered plastic surgeons, so check that your surgeon is listed on this register. They should also be a member of one of the leading professional associations for plastic/cosmetic surgeons in the UK, such as the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) or the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (BAPRAS).
  3. Check on their level of experience. It is also worth asking how many times they have performed this particular operation before. There is no golden rule for how many previous examples is ‘sufficient’, but this type of information helps build a picture of the surgeon’s experience and skill set.

Minimising cosmetic surgery risk: the consultation

The consultation stage is an incredibly important part of the patient journey and key to minimising any possible risks. As well as a comprehensive medical assessment to ensure you are fit for surgery, your cosmetic surgeon will also discuss your motivations for having surgery. If you have unrealistic expectations, then however ‘successful’ the procedure is in the eyes of others, you risk being dissatisfied with the outcome.

They will also give you advice on how best to prepare for surgery; the most important advice will be to give up smoking as this is one of the biggest factors in increased surgical risk during the procedure and in terms of how you heal afterwards.

Minimising cosmetic surgery risk: the recovery period

Finally, the last thing that can be done to help minimise risks sits back with the patient again – and that is to properly follow the aftercare plan. The aftercare is recommended based on the official medical guidance for each procedure, and it will also be customised based on your personal well-being and overall health. Ensure you are fully understand everything you are being asked to undertake and contact your cosmetic surgeon and their team if you have any concerns or questions.