Cosmetic Surgery: What You Need To Know

Cosmetic surgery: what you need to know

Every year, thousands of people have elective surgery. Elective surgery covers cosmetic procedures that people have chosen to have, and can include anything from liposuction to Botox.

If you are looking to have elective surgery, it is important that you are aware of the potential risks, the best practices and the important questions to ask to ensure your procedure is conducted professionally, clinically and as safely as possible.

To ensure you have all the information available to you before undergoing cosmetic surgery, we have created a step-by-step guide which includes the most important questions you should be asking during the early stages of your cosmetic surgery journey.

How to find a registered cosmetic surgeon

  • Check that any surgeon you consider is registered with the General Medical Council and the Care Quality Commission.This will list the surgeon’s degree, whether they hold a license to practise, when they were registered and further details of their qualifying credentials.
  • Try to find a surgeon who specialises in the area you are considering surgery.
  • Avoid the temptation of promotional offers or similar sales tactics. Such discounts should be a warning that the cosmetic practice is more interested in profit than your care.

What to ask your cosmetic surgeon

Once you have researched and chosen a potential surgeon, you should ask the following questions on your first meeting:

  • how many times they have performed the relevant surgery in the past year?
  • how many patients have made complaints?
  • on how many occasions they have had to do revision surgery to repair or change a prior surgery that they completed?

These questions should be answered honestly and comprehensively. If you are for any reason dissatisfied with the answers given, you are well advised to leave and find another alternative practice.

If you feel these initial questions are answered sufficiently and you feel confident in the surgeon, The Royal College of Surgeons advises you to then ask the following additional questions:

  • how many years’ experience does the surgeon have in the present surgery?
  • how many operations do they perform each week?
  • are the results you are hoping to achieve realistic?
  • will your medical history affect the results of the surgery?
  • what will happen during the surgery?
  • will a general or local anaesthetic will be used?
  • how long you will be expected to stay in hospital?
  • will there be any pain or stitches involved?
  • how long will the recovery time be?
  • how long will the results last?
  • how much will the full procedure and aftercare cost?
  • who will be conducting the operation?
  • what are the risks both during and after the procedure?

Asking questions about the surgery not only gives you more information about what to expect, but also gives you a chance to gauge the professionalism, knowledge and level of care of the surgeon.

If they appear to focus attention on your contract being signed rather than your health, this is a red flag signalling that you may be better cared for elsewhere. You should never feel pressured into having cosmetic surgery.

If you feel reassured that the answers have been given fully, with the surgeon taking the time to advise you about what to expect, you may consider this surgeon to be suitable for your needs.

What to do before your cosmetic surgery

Your chosen surgeon should advise you on how to prepare for your procedure. This could include changes to your diet, medication and lifestyle, for example:

  • stop smoking and drinking before the operation, as this affects the healing process
  • if your procedure involves having a general anaesthetic, you will need to stop eating and drinking after midnight on the day of your surgery
  • list the medications you currently take, so that the surgeon can advise you on when to take them leading up to the surgery

What to do after your cosmetic surgery

Surgery can be a physically-draining experience no matter where it is on your body, and your skin will take time to heal. To help your body heal naturally, and to reduce the chances of discolouration or scars, you should:

  • use hypo-allergenic products to clean the scarred area to ensure it is kept free of any foreign bodies which could hinder the healing process
  • apply sun cream to any area exposed to UV rays to help healing
  • do not be tempted to touch any wounds or scars, as this will increase the likelihood of infection and scarring
  • drink plenty of water. Water is a necessity for your body, and essential to help the healing process, as it will both flush out toxins and rejuvenate your skin
  • ensure that you are taking the best possible aftercare for your skin’s recovery process by asking your surgeon for advice.

How to make a cosmetic surgery claim

Despite your surgeons’ best efforts, if your procedure has not run smoothly, or you do not feel the results meet the prior agreed expectations, you should:

  • be honest with your surgeon and try to reach an understanding of what occurred during surgery without assigning blame. If you are offered a solution, make sure you understand it before answering
  • be patient and reflect on the outcome of the surgery. Avoid making a decision whilst you’re still angry or your skin is still healing, as your immediate physical and emotional reaction may change over time
  • if you remain unhappy after the healing process has finished, you could consider a new surgeon or second surgery. Secondary surgery should be carefully thought over as revision procedures carry certain risks.

If you think the surgery was negligent and you suffered in any way through no fault of your own, then it is time to consider legal action. For more information, you can refer to our medical negligence page.

We are committed to you and your case, ensuring everything is dealt with as efficiently as possible, and with complete discretion and care during what may be a difficult time.

Simply call us on
01482 778 463 for free advice


No win no fee

  • personal insurance cover so there’s no financial risk to you in pursuing a claim
  • whatever the outcome of your case, you won’t have to pay a penny, other than an agreed percentage of your damages