Friday, April 15, 2016

New cosmetic surgery guidelines

The General Medical Council (GMC) has drawn up new cosmetic surgery guidelines that cover surgical and non-surgical procedures.
Its purpose is to protect patients by ensuring that they are:

- Not pressurised.
- Fully informed (in writing).
- Given sufficient time before consenting to surgery/procedures.
- Provided with continuity of care and contact details post treatment in case any complications arise.

The guidelines also states that patients should not be on the receiving end of:

- "Unjustifiable claims about interventions.
- Aggressive marketing tactics, such as “two for one” promotions and prizes.

Anyone breaching he guidelines will be brought before the GMC and could be banned from practising if they are found guilty of of "serious or persistent failure”.
The new rules got the backing of The Royal College of Surgeons, who are also calling for a change in the law that would enable watchdogs to inform the public on whether or not doctors are certified to carry out certain surgeries.

'If you are not working to the surgical standards we have set out today, you should not be treating patients at all' said Stephen Cannon, vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Professor Terence Stephenson, chairman of the GMC, said: "Cosmetic interventions should not be entered into lightly or without serious considerations.
"Above all, patients considering whether to have such a procedure need honest and straightforward advice which allows them to understand the risks as well as the possible benefits.

"It is a challenging area of medicine which deals with patients who can be extremely vulnerable.

"Most doctors who practise in this area do so to a high standard but we do sometimes come across poor practice, and it is important that patients are protected from this and that doctors understand what is expected from them."

Health minister Ben Gummer said: "Anyone who chooses to have a cosmetic procedure should expect to have high quality and safe clinical care.
"This new guidance for doctors is an important step forward in improving standards and ending the lottery of poor practice in parts of the cosmetic industry."



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Is cosmetic surgery the new acceptable face of womanhood?

Here is a confession: at 44 years of age, I have the face and body I deserve. My upper arms are fleshy and fulsome, bearing no resemblance to the sleek undulations of gym-honed muscle I paraded in my twenties. My post-caesarean belly protrudes over the waistband of my skinny jeans, pleading for the forgiving maternity styles I wore with pride eight years ago as I carried my then unborn daughter.

I have a bumpy nose that looks fine from the front, but makes me shudder if I see it in profile. I have a “well-defined jawline” – or a pointy chin, if you ask for my description. There are a few furrows on my brow, lines around my eyes, and the outsize bags beneath them would do Joan Collins proud checking in at Heathrow airport. My complexion reflects more than three decades of suffering from acne. In short, my face is, well, my face. It tells an honest story of a life lived. My life.

And there’s the rub. There shouldn’t be anything unusual in that but, increasingly, I’m aware that I’m in the minority when I mix in certain circles. Arriving at some social events or work appointments, I find unfamiliar faces looking back at me from people whom I know well. These are women who appear one day with startled expressions, unable to smile warmly as they used to, their skin taught, waxy and translucent – like glassine paper.

Having “work” done is the new norm.......

Continue reading



Monday, January 26, 2015

Fall in cosmetic sugery numbers

Resent figures* signal a fall in the number of people electing to have cosmetic surgery. In 2014 45,406 surgical procedures took place, down 9% from 50,122 in 2013.

Taking a closer, look we see that the top 10 cosmetic surgery procedures in 2014, were down when compared to 2013 as follows:

1. Breast augmentation - down 23% to 8,619
2. Eyelid surgery - down 1% to 7,752
3. Face and neck lifts - up 1% to 6,402
4. Breast reduction - up 1% to 5,528
5. Liposuction - up 7% to 4,627
6. Nose jobs - down 24% to 3,690
7. Fat transfer operations - down 4% to 3,155
8. Tummy tucks - down 20% to 2,713
9. Brow lifts - down 7% to 1,978
10. Ear corrections - down 20% to 942

Dr Rajiv Grover, a consultant plastic surgeon explained the fall to the BBC:

"Last year's figures [for 2013] were inflated by the 2012 PIP crisis and a large number of people needed to have implants replaced. So breast augmentation figures went up artificially because of the large number of replacements."

Dr Grover also commented on how economic conditions could directly impact the numbers of procedures preformed.
"Cosmetic surgery is not a requirement, it is a desire, so during a number of years of austerity people will have put that on hold for a few years and save money."

Julie Court (my Body Beautiful founder) said:

“There is a significant reduction in the number of women having breast augmentation. The PPI scandal may have caused many to take cosmetic surgery and the associated health risks much more seriously. I see this as a good thing.

"The fall in numbers could also be pointing to the fact that perception and cultural norms associated with body image are changing. Last year a number of celebrities with very large implants, elected to reduce their bust to a much more natural size. E.g. Katie Price reduced her bust to 32B from 32FF and Victoria Beckham, commenting on her smaller bust (to Allure magazine) said “I don’t have them anymore. I think I may have purchased them.”


*The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps)



Friday, December 12, 2014

Rise in designer vagina surgery

This week Theresa May ( Home Secretary) responded to a home affairs select committee report on female gentile mutilation (FGM) and the petitioning of the government, by a number of MP’s, seeking a ban on cosmetic genital surgery on girls aged under 18.

In her response, Mrs May signalled that doctors, who conducted designer vagina' cosmetic surgery i.e. those not justifiable on physical or mental health grounds, may be committing a criminal offence.

In a parliamentary report, Mrs May warned that prosecutions may be pursued, regardless of whether or not women had given consent to surgery; as "purely cosmetic surgery" could be deemed a crime, similar to female genital mutilation (FGM).

In recent years 'designer vagina' procedures aimed at tightening, increasing or reducing the size of certain aspects of female genitalia have grown significantly. Doctors have indicated that the phenomena is the result of “unrealistic representations of vulval appearance in popular culture".

Earlier this year, Transform released data highlighting the fact that individuals between the age of 18-24, located in west and central London were the most likely to seek out information about labiaplasty; 1,150 females had requested surgery.

Records show that the NHS conducted 2000 labiaplasties procedures in 2010; indicative of a 500% increase since 2001. However, this does not give a true picture of the numbers involved, as the majority of cosmetic genital operations are carried out in private clinics who do not report on the number of operations performed.

The British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology, commenting on labia reduction, stated that there was "no scientific evidence" to support the practice and added that health risks, particularly to girls under 18, include bleeding, infection and a loss of sensitivity.

Ms May said she had "no plans" to create a new offence involving cosmetic genital surgery because such operations could already be prosecuted under 2003 legislation that strengthened the ban on FGM.



Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Link between selfies and the rise in cosmetic surgery

A recent poll of 2,700 members of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), has reported that one third have recorded an increase in requests for certain procedures. These procedures are essentially aimed at improving the selfies and photos the potential patients post on social media.

The organisation noted a 10% rise in rhinoplasty in 2013, a 7% jump in hair transplants and 6% increase in eyelid surgery.
“There has been a 25% increase over the past year and a half to two years. That is very significant,” said Dr. Sam Rizk, a Manhattan a plastic surgeon specializing in rhinoplasty.

“They come in with their iPhones and show me pictures….Selfies are just getting to be so crazy”. Dr Rizk, also noted that not everyone who requests surgery needs it, because selfies produce a distorted image, which does not accurately reflect the individuals real appearance.

“We all will have something wrong with us on a selfie image,” he explained. “I refuse a significant proportion of patients with selfies, because I believe it is not a real image of what they actually look like in person.” He also said that he was aware of the fact that many of the individuals he’d refused, had simply approached other surgeons.

“Too many selfies indicate a self obsession and a certain level of insecurity that most teenagers have. It just makes it worse,” he said.
“Now they can see themselves in 100 images a day on Facebook and Instagram.”

New York make-up artist Ramy Gafni, who has worked with clients on selfies and online dating profile photos, suggests using clean makeup, well-defined eyebrows and a bit colour on the lips to produce the best selfies.

“You want to enhance your features, perfect your features but not necessarily change your features into something they are not,” he said.



Friday, January 31, 2014

Surgical and non surgical predictions for 2014

This post addresses the question: What surgical and nonsurgical procedures can we expect to see in 2014?

 “There is a growing awareness of the different types of surgery available to people, coupled with the increasing desire to look and feel at your best," said Shami Thomas (Transform Medical Group’s PR Manager).

"Patients come to us as they want to feel good about their bodies and surgery can help them, and ultimately improve their self-confidence.

“Whilst surgical procedures are still very popular, it’s the non-surgical procedures that are proving to be a key theme and this trend is set to continue into 2014 and beyond.”


Breast Surgery
The desire for larger, firmer or smaller breasts e.g. 80,000 breast augmentations to date, will ensure that this procedure remains one of the firm favourites.

Tummy Tucks
A Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) to tighten lose skin/muscle after pregnancy / weight loss, is a very popular procedure and this is trend is expected to continue.

Chin Implants
Chin implants enquiries have doubled in the last 3 years; 60 % of them are from females.

Brachioplasty (‘Bingo Wing’) removes excess skin or tightens skin on the upper arms. The outcome is slimmer more youthful looking arms.


The number of patients undergoing non-surgical procedures soared in 2013. It is estimated that non surgical procedures accounts for 75% of the total.

By far the largest group, anti-aging procedures e.g. dermal fillers, Botox and chemical facial peels are, for an increasing number of people, a must have.

Body Contour
Lipotripsy encourages the breakdown of fat (arms, waist, thighs and hips), reduces cellulite, encourages the production of collagen, increases oxygen flow to the skin and supports the function of the lymphatic system.

Laser Hair Removal
Allow laser removal of excess or unwanted hair.



Friday, April 05, 2013

How cosmetic surgery led to divorce

Every now and again I am surprised by a story, even though I've been doing this for many years. Here is a cosmetic surgery tale that you don’t hear every day.

This true story occurred at the end of last year. It involves a divorce case in which the husband was awarded damages.

Divorce is not new; the latest figures show that there were 117,558 divorces in England and Wales in 2011, which equates to 42% of marriages ending divorce.

Separation and divorce is where the similarity with this account and other divorce cases ends. Let start the story at the beginning:

In this particular case, the husband, Jian Feng of China, met, fell in love with and married a beautiful woman (unnamed).

In time they had a child together, a little girl. Unfortunately, Jian Feng was horrified when he first looked at the child, because she did not look like either of her parents. He thought she was ugly.

The dissimilarity between the baby girl’s looks and his own convinced him that he was not the father of the child.

The story takes on a strange twist when Jian Feng confronts his wife. In the ensuing conversation, his wife tells him that he was the child’s father. She then confessed that prior to meeting him, she had undergone extensive, £63,000 worth of cosmetic surgery.

Feeling that he had been deceived, Jian Feng started divorce proceedings on the grounds that his wife had been deceptive and had induced him to marry her under false pretences. He not only got the divorce he wanted, but was also awarded approximately £75,000 in damages.

Two questions spring to mind, the first really concerns me:

1. What effect will this have on the little girl when she grows up and learns that her father felt she was ugly and that her physical appearance was the catalyst of her parents divorce?
2. Did Jian Feng love or have deep affection for his wife; or did he marry her purely because of her appearance?

Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.



Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Cosmetic surgery sales practises

An interim cosmetic surgery study, commissioned by the Department of Health, has proposed the banning of certain sales related practices.

Vivien Parry, a science journalist, was involved in the consultations. She said that the key problem is a lack of balanced information coupled with aggressive advertising.

"I have been really shocked by what I've seen", she said*. "Extraordinary things; for instance 17 year olds being plagued by texts saying in less than a year's time you'll be old enough to have cosmetic surgery.

"I just think that's awful. What it does to the psyche of young girls is one thing. But it sets up a cosmetic procedure, which has both short-term and long-term risks, as if it were something entirely trivial."

The report found that patients and industry group’s want tighter restrictions on advertising including a ban on:

- Two-for-one deals
- Time-limited deals
- Surgery as competition prizes

They would also like to introduce:

A two stage written consent process; so those contemplating surgery have adequate time to reflect.

Improved quality of information e.g. a patient should be shown photographs showing expected bruising and scarring.

British Association of Aesthetics Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) Jajiv Grover commented on the issue.*

"I think when you undergo any medical procedure you should undertake a risk benefit analysis. Unfortunately, when you glamorise cosmetic surgery you focus on the benefits and gloss over the risks.

“One thing that we have learnt from the PIP crisis, Is that many people undergoing surgery did so without realising what the true implications were”.

A cooling off period, during which potential patients can really think about their decision before making it permanent is a good idea.

Any sales/marketing practises that pressurises individuals to undergo surgery and/or encourages them to make snap decisions should be prohibited. It is in the interest of both patients and if you think about it, the cosmetic surgery industry itself; if it wants to be viewed as ethical.

The full report will be published in March.

* Sky News



Friday, November 23, 2012

I want to change my body

On Monday, I watched BBC3’s I Want To Change My Body.

The programme promised, ‘30 young people, filming themselves. Their stories, in their own words’.

In the event the program focussed on a small subset of the group. As a member of the viewing audience, I naturally slotted each individual into groups of my own.

My heart went out to a couple of them e.g. Chloe, who had suffered terrible burns, when her hair accidently caught fire. Chloe felt ugly and wandered if anyone would be able to look beyond the scars in order to form a relationship with her. Then there was Amber, whose severe chronic acne was painful and stubbornly resistant to prescription, over the counter and alternative treatments. Luckily, help came in the form of laser treatments, resulting in significant improvements in both her condition and level of happiness.

I felt sympathy for Tom, who suffered from perfuse underarm perspiration and was pleased when Botox resolved the issue.

The remainder of the group left me feeling concerned, largely because I was not convinced that surgery would solve their body image issues. These individuals were very unhappy with their appearance, so much so that they were prepared to pay thousands and suffer pain or discomfort, in order to change their breast size, nose, weight or hair-line. “They go through that… just to make themselves look a little bit more fake”, commented Chloe.

My concerned seemed well founded when at the end of the programme:

i) Katt, who had breast augmentation that took her from a 32A to a 32D, was thinking about additional surgery because she wanted to “go bigger eventually”.
ii) Tom (number two) whose nose surgery was featured, later revealed that following his surgery, he had undergone a cosmetic procedure on his teeth.
iii) Alex, who also had nose surgery, ended by saying she wouldn’t mind having her breast done in the future, not due to their size, but because she wanted them “rounder.”
iv) What happens if the change in my body doesn’t change the way I feel about myself?
Hazel had asked the question prior to her gastric sleeve surgery. At the end of the programme, 13 weeks after surgery and after a 61 pound weigh loss, she stated:
“I am still not at the stage where I’m happy with my body, no way near. I look in the mirror and I still see a fat girl. I want to get to a stage where I am healthy and slim”.

One criticism I have of the programme, is that it was too long. It could easily have been 15-20 minutes shorter (and better) without losing any of the underlying message.



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Increase in cosmetic surgery

In the UK, body reshaping via cosmetic surgery is on the increase.

The summary and charts below detail the growth of cosmetic surgery between 2008 and 2011.

Total Procedures Summary:

     2008 -  34,187 + 5 %  2008 versus 2007

     2009 - 36,482  + 6.71 % 2008 versus 2009

     2010 - 38,274  + 5 % 2009 versus 2010

     2011 -  43,069  + 5.8 2010 versus 2011


Source: British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons


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