patient advisory service
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How to find a Plastic Surgeon

Every call into our office at the Patient Advisory Service will invariably start with "Hello" I am looking for some advice on how to find the right surgeon as I am looking to have cosmetic surgery. I am so confused with all the websites and advertisements in magazines; I just don't know where to start"

Well! Let's go!

First and most importantly, you must have a realistic expectation of just what an aesthetic procedure can achieve. There are many patients who watch the plethora of TV makeover shows and actually think their transformation will be as life changing as the ones they see on the "telly". We explain that the amount of money they would have to spend to achieve the same level of transformation could cost in the region of £35,000/£40,000 as the patients that are seen on screen will have undergone multiple procedures ranging from Facelift, Blepharoplasty, Brow lift, Fat transfer, Liposuction, Abdominoplasty and dental enhancements ranging from veneers to implants costing thousands of pounds. That's not counting the cost of a stylist to advise on clothes, a top level hair stylist to get the hair right and a makeup artist to prepare them for their debut on screen. This is completely out of the question for 99% of the average patient. PAS will discuss and guide patients to ensure the expectation of their result is managed properly in order for them to look and feel good. It is also vital to empower patients with the right questions to ask their surgeon once they actually are sitting face to face in the consultation room.

PAS cannot stress enough how imperative it is to insure that all your consultations are with a surgeon directly and not a go between "agent, advisor or nurse", when you discuss all your requirements, as they could possibly may be motivated by financial gain rather than your individual well- being. PAS always tell patients the best surgeons are the ones who tell you" I understand your goals and expectations" but I am not confident that I can deliver to your expectation, but I know someone who can, then they recommend another colleague. This is a good safe surgeon and should reassure you that he has guided you to the most appropriate surgeon for your individual needs. PAS have spent over 20 years in this business and gained a vast amount of knowledge to know that there any many surgeons who never turn down work, even if they know full well that certain procedures carried out by them are very minimal with the patient not being aware that if they had gone to another surgeon they would have had a result that thrilled them.

In the last decade we have seen a flood of patients asking for advice on corrective surgery, due to them having been "sold" or coerced into signing up for surgery by agents or "advisors" offering special seasonal discounts or offers, free travel to their clinics, lifetime aftercare etc. In fact during the 15 years PAS has been in Harley Street, we have seen many such clinics disappear or have changed their names so the company or surgeon that carried out their procedure may no longer be in the UK therefore the contract they signed is no longer valid. This of course means that the only recourse is to have to pay again for the procedure to be re-done at greater expense than the first time. Corrective surgery will always cost more and that is providing a reputable surgeon is willing to take on a correction of another surgeons work. If you rush into it again – and you still have not found the most appropriate surgeon, you will be every more disappointed and demoralised than before. With the phenomenon of the web, we are uncovering a sneaky way of subliminal advertising. Twitter and Facebook come into this equation, similar to the way certain political parties were exposed last year about to publish untrue comments regarding opposing party members that would cast aspersions on their character, without any proof or fear of being sued.

This practice is thriving in the cosmetic surgery marketplace. Chat rooms for cosmetic surgery have been set up with so called patients posting their experiences and recommendations for all to see, naming their favourite surgeon and slandering another. Some of these chat rooms are now under investigation, as the web is now being policed and where people thought they were safe to say whatever they liked anonymously they are in danger of finally being traced and will definitely be prosecuted. One such site has already been shut down and was reported widely in the national press.

A number of these chat rooms are reputedly funded by the "wonderful surgeons" as their so called patients expound. Phantom unhappy patients bad mouth their colleague competitors with stories of having their lives ruined with bad surgery. This is very clever as people always seem to believe what they read be it on the web or in the press.

Just be aware that if you are looking in the chat rooms for reassurance from previous patients who have undergone the same procedure that you are contemplating, be a little wary if the same "Dr Wonderful" keeps being mentioned and also a "Dr Awful" keeps popping up. Email them and ask if you can call and have them share their experience with you. If they are happy to write to a chat-room, there should be no reason not to be happy to chat. Be very sceptical of these sites as there are hundreds of surgeons doing very good work and some of the best are being maligned unjustly through cut throat competition. You can do as much research as you like but nothing beats good experienced advice, talking to previous patients and getting a "gut feeling" when you meet a surgeon.

Check the surgeon you have been guided to is listed on the UK GMC (Specialist Register of Plastic Surgery) with the accreditation FRCS (Plas). This endorses they have completed their training in Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery. Many surgeons advertise a list of memberships that they belong too and this can be very impressive, but these are not accreditations and bear no relevance to their expertise in your chosen procedure.

At PAS we are happy to answer any queries you may have and there is no charge to speak with us. Remember -no two patients are alike and healing time will vary from person to person

Good luck in your quest to have the most informative independent information available so you can make a confident choice on your surgeon – and excellent surgery with the most pleasing outcome. This will create an enduring rapport between you and your surgeon.