How to choose a cosmetic surgeon in the UK?

Cosmetic surgery is on the rise. In 2013 there were 50,122 cosmetic procedures in the UK; a rise of 17% on the previous year¹. So you’re not alone if you’re considering cosmetic surgery. But how do you make sure you get the best care for your needs?

The reputation of the cosmetic surgery industry has been brought into question over the years. Many practitioners claim to be experts with impressive sounding qualifications but some are not even surgeons and their qualifications may have little meaning.

Most cosmetic surgery involves serious operations and so it’s important to ensure your cosmetic surgeon is qualified, ethical and trustworthy.

Simple guidelines to help you choose the right surgeon

Don’t just accept a claim of excellence by a cosmetic surgery consultant. For peace of mind it is best to investigate and check that your proposed surgeon is fully trained and qualified in cosmetic surgery and ticks the following:

1. GMC registered and on the GMC “specialist register” for plastic surgery

THE GMC (General Medical Council) register doctors to practise medicine in the UK. The purpose of the GMC is to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine².

From 1 January 1997, all doctors taking up a post as a substantive, fixed term or honorary consultant in the health service in the UK are required to be on the GMC specialist register. Doctors need to apply for entry onto the specialist register and meet the criteria set down in legislation such as completing a period of formal specialist training and /or qualifications³. A cosmetic surgeon will need to be on the GMC specialist register specifically for plastic surgery.

2. Holds an FRCS (Plast) or FRCS in plastic surgery qualification

Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) is a professional qualification to practise as a surgeon in Ireland or the United Kingdom. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care.

FRCS is a general qualification and surgeons who have had specialist training in plastic surgery hold the qualification FRCS (Plast) or FRCS in plastic surgery.

3. Work or have worked as an NHS consultant plastic surgeon

Cosmetic surgeons who work or have worked for the NHS in substantive NHS posts as consultant cosmetic and plastic surgeons will have extensive specialist experience and qualifications in this field.

4. Holds membership for an organisation like BAAPS or BAPRAS

The BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) is based at The Royal College of Surgeons and was established for the advancement of education and safety in aesthetic surgery. Having surgery by a BAAPS member gives patients the assurance that their surgeon has been examined in aesthetic/cosmetic surgery and has been deemed by colleagues to be of sufficient standing to become a member⁴.

The BAPRAS (British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons) is known as the voice for plastic surgery⁵. It was founded for reconstructive plastic surgery work and the members undergo intensive specialist training in plastic surgery that qualifies them to also perform aesthetic or cosmetic surgery.

Membership to either organisation is a good indication of a consultant being fully trained and qualified as a plastic or cosmetic surgeon.

5. Working out of a reputable clinic or healthcare facility

Reputable healthcare providers, such as Ramsay Health Care, offer well trained consultant surgeons. Within these hospitals a cosmetic surgeon will work alongside other specialists who are able to give supporting care and are also on the GMC register in their own fields.

Here you can find our guide prices for cosmetic surgery procedures.

Read more cosmetic surgery blog posts to find answers from our consultants to the most common questions including: best place for breasts implants, breastfeeding and implants,  cosmetic surgery after weight loss surgery.

About Ramsay Health Care Cosmetic Services

Cosmetic Surgery from Ramsay is a leading provider of cosmetic surgery and non-surgical treatments in the UK.

Ramsay offers a wide range of cosmetic surgery procedures including breast enlargement, breast reduction, breast uplift, eyelid reshaping, tummy tuck, apronectomy  (mini tummy tuck), gynaecomastia surgery, nose reshaping, prominent ear correction and liposuction. Also available are a number of cosmetic enhancing procedures that do not involve any incisions, surgery or general anaesthetics and include acne treatment, dermal fillers, skin resurfacing and laser hair removal.

Cosmetic surgeons

Ramsay is proud to work in partnership with some of the highest qualified and experienced cosmetic surgeons in the UK. These consultants are all qualified as plastic surgeons, and have undergone intensive specialist training in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery

At Ramsay all cosmetic surgeons follow the simple guidelines:

1. GMC registered and on the GMC “specialist register” for plastic surgery or any specialist area they work in.
2. FRCS (Plast) or FRCS in plastic surgery qualified
3. Hold or have held posts in the NHS as consultant plastic surgeon as well as private practise
4. Many are fully qualified members of BAAPS and BAPRAS


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