Regulating cosmetic surgery

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7348.1229 (Published 25 May 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1229

Members of the public would be better protected if they consulted their general practitioners first

  1. Clive Orton (clive@cliveorton.com), president
  1. British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, Royal College of Surgeons, London WC2A 3PN

    Cosmetic surgery has become a growth industry and a public obsession. The demand for the top three procedures in the United States grew by 26% between 1999 and 2000, and this growth is mirrored in the United Kingdom.1 The public perception of cosmetic surgery is that it is quick and easy. In fact most cosmetic surgery operations are extremely complex and require a high degree of anatomical knowledge and surgical skill as well as aesthetic appreciation.

    The public's increasing interest is accompanied by a reduction in the provision of cosmetic surgery in the NHS, so that patients look to the private sector, financing their treatment through bank loans and finance agreements. 2 3 These patients have been prey to organisations that offer discounts, privacy, and no waiting time but are not staffed by accredited surgeons.

    Many patients do not seek a referral from their general practitioner because they fear an unsympathetic response or they …

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