Q & A's
- Are you listed on the Specialist Register of Plastic Surgeons, held by the UK General Medical Council?
- How long have you been performing this procedure and how often?
- How the procedure is carried out and what are the risks involved
- What if I don't understand everything my surgeon discussed with me?
- I am thinking of going abroad for surgery as it is considerably cheaper?
- I am impressed that the surgeon is a member of numerous societies European, British and American, so he/shemust be well qualified or experienced!
- I don't know what to expect from surgery. Are my expectations realistic?
Questions to Discuss with your Surgeon
FRCS (Plast) is the accreditation that proves that they have completed plastic training in the UK.
Fellow of the College of Surgeons (FRCS) is the qualification of a general surgeon; it does not mean, or certify, they have received or completed training in plastic or cosmetic surgery.
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Not all surgeons are confident, or able to perform across the spectrum of cosmetic or plastic surgical procedures, and some will have greater experience in specific procedures than others. Everyone has to learn but do you want to be his first? Ask your surgeon to speak to one of their previous patients after your initial consultation. The majority of surgeons will have patients who are willing to share their own personal experience with another, who is understandably very apprehensive at the initial stage. Most expert surgeons know their limitations. A surgeon may have a flair for breast enhancement but not have the edge on noses. He may recommend a colleague instead. The honest surgeon is the one to trust.
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It is good practise for written information to be given to any patient considering cosmetic or plastic surgery. This should point out the negatives as well as the positives. Patient Advisory Service always provides initial information before you decide to proceed to any consultation with a surgeon. A consultation should only be with a consultant plastic surgeon. Any other advice, be it written or verbal, is for information purposes only. A face to face consultation with the surgeon who is intending to carry out your procedure will be the only qualified advice you should consider, which may differ from the initial information you have received. It is most important to press any issues regarding risk at this stage so you can make an informed choice, when deciding to proceed or not. Never, under any circumstances, book surgery unless you have discussed it with the surgeon who will do your operation. Beware of companies or organisations who employ so called counsellors who usually are target driven to get you to surgery and may have absolutely no medical experience or knowledge of the discipline and will be no substitute for the expert knowledge of the plastic surgeon.
No one (including nurses) should be electing you for surgery.
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Your surgeon should write to you after your consultation setting out the options discussed, and a copy should be sent to your GP (unless for personal reasons you have requested this not to be done). This is so you can have time to digest the personalised information given and will be fully informed in all areas. The majority of Consultant surgeons will request to see you for a further consultation prior to surgery, to make sure you are in a positive mind to proceed, and any final questions are fully discussed. Never undergo surgery until you are sure in your mind of the pros, cons, benefits and risks.
It is your health and your money. Only you can make this important decision. It is not advisable to book the surgery on the day you see your surgeon for the first consultation, beware of any coercion or incentives (i.e. substantial discounts offered if you book a date and leave a deposit so there is less chance of you backing out once you have had time to think it over. Take time to digest the information even if the PA to "Mr Surgeon to the Stars" tells you his diary fills up so quickly". Plastic/Cosmetic surgery should never be done on a whim. You will be much happier with your enhancement if you have had time to come to your decision carefully. You should expect your first consultation to last at least 30/ 45 minutes. A 15 minute chat is not long enough for a surgeon to fully understand your goals and desire.
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Any surgical procedure carries a risk, although rare, and you must be aware of having a consultation through a clinic in the UK with a foreign surgeon (although he may be registered with the GMC) but does not have operating rights in the UK, so will be doing your surgery in one of the many European countries as well as Brazil and South Africa that are now aware of the rich pickings to be made by offering for example combined surgery holidays. If a serious problem in arose in the foreign clinic, and you had to be transferred to a large hospital for critical care, who will pay the bill? as even if medical travel insurance is taken out before you go , rarely will it cover you for medical elective procedures . So it could end up a very costly (not to say alarming) and distressing time away from friends and family, The European Health Card does not cover you for complications following elective surgery in Europe.
What does the cost include? Are there any extras? Does the staff speak English? Will the nurses understand if I ask for pain relief? Will I have a private room or be nursed on an open ward? Will there be curtains between the beds or will I have to undress in view of other patients? (Curtains are uncommon in France) What follow up is provided? What happens if I have a problem when I return to the UK?
Will the NHS help me? (Unlikely unless it is a surgical emergency) How long do I stay in hospital? How long should I stay near the hospital? Be guarded if you are offered cut price surgery and then encouraged to have an early flight home to save on costs.
One case history is of a young lady who underwent surgery overseas and paid £5500. Despite having a 9 day stay in the clinic, her wound opened on the Eurostar train. Her only contact here in the UK was her GP who was disinterested and (inappropriately) refused her NHS care. She then spent £8500 having the complication resolved in the UK, as she was fortunate to find a UK surgeon with the experience and agreement to take on someone else's patient. Complications are rare but with larger operations such as abdominoplasty, breast reductions, Facelifts and multi areas of liposuction, they are more likely to occur as the post op aftercare is so important to the final result. In these cases, a UK expert surgeon is the safest option.
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Belonging to medical societies does not prove their expertise; they are similar to belonging to a club, they pay a fee to become a member so does not attest to their competence or experience in the discipline.
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A reputable Plastic or Cosmetic surgeon will advise you as to what they can realistically achieve and their advice must be evaluated before you decide to proceed to surgery. If you are not entirely comfortable, seek a consultation with another surgeon.
The majority of cosmetic or plastic surgery procedures is undertaken to bring the patient within a broad range of the average to normal criteria. It is therefore important to make your specific requirements very clear at your initial consultation. In some cases, your surgeon may not agree with your request and will suggest alternatives, which you had not previously given thought too. Your expectations must be realistic. Plastic or Cosmetic surgery is not an exact science. Your surgeon is dealing with living tissues. We all heal differently, so the finished result does not appear overnight - If you are patient and well informed, you should achieve the result that both you and your surgeon mutually aspired.
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Patient Advisory Service (PAS) and not associated or connected with any other advisory service. Pas is not owned wholly or partly by any medical facility, E.G. Doctors, Surgeons, Clinics or Hospitals.
Patient Advisory Service (PAS) has been based in Harley St, London since 1997 and selects UK Surgeons or Specialists who consistently deliver high patient satisfaction feedback and receives no remuneration for information or referrals to surgeons, consultants or specialists. We get our funding for offering a 24 hr support service to their patients that may include professional counseling, clinical duties such as removal of drains, sutures and dressing changes. No fees (or add ons) are charged to patients for any advice, information, hospital or home post op check visits.