Top Things to ask Your Cosmetic Surgeon Before Going under the Knife

With cosmetic surgery and cosmetic tourism on the increase, Mr Nigel Carver, Consultant Cosmetic Surgeon at The Holly Private Hospital recently spoke to West Essex Life Magazine about the 8 Things You Need to ask a Cosmetic Surgeon.

Below you can read the full article.

Mr Carver says, “Be sure to ask your Cosmetic Surgeon these important questions before going under the knife to stay safe and get the best result.”

1. What kind of results should I expect? 
Make sure you express what you are looking for in detail but don’t have unrealistic expectations. It’s the surgeon’s job to align your expectations with what is realistic. Surgeons work hard to get the best results possible, but there are certain things that can’t be controlled such as skin elasticity, asymmetry and gravity. Working on people is different from working with wood or steel and undergoing cosmetic surgery isn’t like buying a pair of shoes.

2. What exactly does this cosmetic surgery procedure entail? 
Most surgery happens under general anesthetic with a hospital stay. Different operations require different recovery periods when you must rest and avoid exercise. Maximize your chances for success by following your surgeon’s instructions closely. Make the time to both prepare and recover. If you’re in a rush you are almost certain to have problems and then be unhappy.

3. What are the potential risks and complications of undergoing this cosmetic procedure? 
It’s a huge red flag if your surgeon promises a risk-free procedure—there’s no such thing. There are particular complications, especially bleeding after surgery, which require complete rest for a period after you return home. If you don’t comply with these instructions you could put your safety and the result in jeopardy.

4. How often have you done this cosmetic procedure? 
Ideally your surgeon has done the same procedure hundreds of times over many years. Also ask what training the doctor has—you don’t want someone who only went on a weekend course. Ask to see before and after pictures from previous patients. Surgeons can talk about how great your results will be until they are blue in the face but a picture is worth 1000 words.

5. What are your qualifications? 
Your plastic surgeon should have the qualification FRCS(Plast) from the Royal College of Surgeons, be on the GMC specialist register and be a member of two professional organisations called BAPRAS and BAAPS. These are easy to look up.

6. Where will the surgery take place? 
You should be operated on in an accredited hospital checked and scored by the CQC (Care Quality Commission). Look it up on the Private Healthcare information Network (

7. How much will this cosmetic procedure cost? 
It’s true that plastic surgery is expensive but the frugal route is not always the safest route. If the price of your operation is 75% cheaper than everyone else’s then there is usually a good reason—and it’s probably not a good one. Low cost often means that quality or corners are being cut somewhere. You only have one body, so treat it well and look for safety and quality with your surgery.

8. What support is in place if I have a problem and the surgeon is not available? Also ask about the reoperation or revision policy. 
A revision without charge should be available if necessary up to 1 year post-operatively. Ideally this should be free, but you may still have to pay for anaesthesia and hospital fees.

Use the internet as a research tool. Plastic surgeons have websites and “third party” websites exist where you can find reviews of surgeons made by previous patients. Internet or magazine advertisements on the contrary are not a good guide. Are you in charge of selecting the surgeon? Or are you being recruited by a cosmetic surgery company which assigns patients to surgeons who might not be the best? The safest recommendation is word of mouth from someone you know who has undergone surgery and is happy with the outcome.

Find someone in your area—do not travel for Plastic Surgery. All procedures require follow up, complications are possible and these are best managed by the original surgeon. If you travel to another country you will have no idea whether it’s safe and reliable. Having complications managed by another surgeon when you get home will cost you additional money.

Shop around and don’t get caught up in the “latest and greatest” technique or product that you recently read in a magazine. If you find someone that is well qualified and experienced, has explained the pros and cons of the procedure, and perhaps most importantly, who you like—then you have found your surgeon. You should feel confident that he or she will employ the safest technique because you’ve done your homework. Good luck!

Nigel Carver FRCS(Plast), Consultant Plastic Surgeon.


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Date: 23/04/2018