UK plastic surgeons seek higher standards, more regulation
February 1, 2013
The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), a British group of plastic surgeons, recently released a statement calling for some changes in the rhetoric of the plastic surgery industry in the UK. The announcement could serve as a reminder for both patients and cosmetic surgeons here in the U.S. that it's essential to focus on realistic results and safety.
Who should practice surgery
The RCS statement urges doctors to consider a psychological assessment of their patients before agreeing to perform plastic surgery, reports The Telegraph, and voices concern over a number of treatments, like Botox injections and laser hair removal, which currently, in the U.K., can be administered by individuals who may not have received proper medical training. The group also argues that only specialists should be able to carry out certain cosmetic procedures, like breast enhancements.
"With the demand for cosmetic surgery and non-surgical treatments rising year on year, it is crucial that the highest level of professionalism is maintained amongst practitioners," said a member of the RCS, according to the news outlet.
At-home cosmetic procedure parties, often referred to as Botox parties, should be banned, the college said. During these gatherings, groups of friends gather at a residence to receive anti-aging injections or dermal fillers, but a home is simply not a safe place for a medical procedure, the RCS explains.
The danger of advertising
Much of the RCS statement focused on the language plastic surgeons should use in order to give individuals an accurate assessment of the possible results. They warned that realistic expectations should be more important than commercial success when it comes to explaining procedures to patients.
The RCS recommends that surgeons avoid words like "nicer" or "better," and instead use more appropriate, objective terms like "bigger" and "smaller" when talking about procedures. Additionally, they warned against using celebrity comparisons, as this could lead patients to believe they will be leading a more glamorous lifestyle after surgery, when the true objective of plastic surgery should be to improve one's self-image.
The American connection
Though the RCS statement was aimed at practitioners in the U.K., the guidance reflects the standards of many groups here in the U.S., like the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), which offers patient information, before and after photos and a find-a-surgeon search function on its website. The group urges individuals considering cosmetic surgery to speak with a board-certified doctor. Patients should feel comfortable asking their surgeon about his or her medical training and experience. Asking to see before and after pictures during a consultation can help one understand what sort of results may be possible.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.
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