[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 May 2007, 00:22 GMT 01:22 UK
'Few ask GP' before cosmetic ops
Collagen injection in the lips
Which? says independent advice on cosmetic procedures is vital
Only one in eight people considering cosmetic surgery consults their GP about the risks and benefits before going ahead, a survey suggests.

Consumer group Which? questioned more than 300 people and warned that getting independent advice was vital.

The UK's cosmetic surgery industry is predicted to double in size between now and 2012 - more than 700,000 cosmetic procedures were carried out in 2006.

A cosmetic surgeons' group agreed it was important GPs played a bigger role.

It is quite shocking that people will trust adverts in magazines but won't consult their GP before they decide to have cosmetic treatments
Frances Blunden, Which?

While many cosmetic operations are minor in nature, carried out under local anaesthetic, some are classed as major operations, and carry a significant risk of complications or poor results.

Which? is campaigning for both an improvement in the information available to patients considering cosmetic surgery on these risks.

'Cooling-off' period

It also wants a mandatory "cooling-off period" following any decision to go ahead with an operation, and has set up a website to offer advice to would-be patients.

Spokesman Frances Blunden said: "It is quite shocking that people will trust adverts in magazines but won't consult their GP before they decide to have cosmetic treatments.

"It's not a decision to take lightly, particularly as, in some cases, people will undergo a major operation which obviously involves risks that should be talked through with their own, impartial doctor first."

The survey found many patients were more likely to take the advice of friends and family, or rely on internet or magazine articles, than consult a GP.

We would always advise a patient to discuss matters with their GP first if possible
Hamish Laing, Bapras

Many of those who stayed away from their GP surgery said that other people had told them it "wouldn't be helpful", or said they had had a bad experience with their GP previously.

The Department of Health also recommends that people considering cosmetic surgery procedures talk to their GP first, because they may be able to offer general advice about surgery, and any health problems which should be mentioned to the cosmetic surgeon prior to the operation.

'Seek advice'

Hamish Laing, the Honorary Secretary of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (Bapras), said he recognised that it was increasingly common for patients to choose to "self-refer" to a plastic surgeon.

He said: "We would always advise a patient to discuss matters with their GP first if possible.

"If they are unwilling or unable to do so, then the specialist should seek the patient's permission to write to the GP at the end of the first consultation to make the GP aware of it.

"The GP will be able to ensure that an appropriately trained and registered specialist is seen.

"In making the referral the GP will be able to tell the specialist of any medical or other contraindications that the patient might have to surgery."


SEE ALSO
Young 'hung up on their bodies'
20 Feb 07 |  Health

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific