The Myths Around Cosmetic Surgery

Rebecca Dunlop, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Duchy Hospital, debunks the top myths surrounding cosmetic surgery. 

Plastic surgery is the same as cosmetic surgery, right?

No, plastic surgery is any surgery performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, but usually refers to reconstructive surgery, for example, restorative surgery after a cancer operation or an accident. Cosmetic surgery on the other hand is purely aesthetic: used to enhance the appearance.

Cosmetic surgery does not leave scars, does it?

Sadly, all surgery that involves a cut through the skin will leave a permanent scar. However, scars differ from person to person depending on age, skin type, location of the scar and the genetic tendency to scarring. Scars take about 18 months to mature but can continue to improve in appearance long after this. There are also various types of scar therapies available that can reduce scarring.

Cosmetic surgery is always carried out by plastic surgeons, isn't it?

Currently in the UK, the words 'surgeon' and 'cosmetic' do not guarantee any particular training; therefore patients should do their own rigorous research before going ahead. To save you some trouble, all cosmetic surgeons at Duchy Hospital are thoroughly checked.

Surgery isn’t necessary anymore due to non-invasive techniques, is it?

It is true that there has been an explosion of minimal and non-invasive techniques and when in good hands these procedures do have their place in certain patients. However, in many patients these techniques will not be effective enough to achieve the desired results and are usually not as long lasting as surgery. So, while it can be tempting to avoid the expense and down time of surgery, there is some truth to the saying ‘you get what you paid for’. It is important for patients to have realistic expectations of what the different procedures can achieve so that they can choose the surgery or procedure that is right for them.

Men don’t have cosmetic surgery, do they?

Why shouldn’t men want to look their best as well? Men frequently consult for various surgeries and facial anti-aging. In fact, men now account for 9% of cosmetic surgery operations in the UK, with the number of cosmetic surgery procedures on men doubling in the past decade.

You have to travel to London to get the best cosmetic/plastic surgery, don't you?

Of course, there are many fine surgeons in London, but techniques and equipment are similar across the UK and dedicated surgeons who practice in cosmetic surgery will continually educate themselves and update their skills. Plastic surgeons operate all over the country and you can find your nearest one by looking on the BAPRAS or BAAPS websites. Having surgery closer to home has many advantages; from close proximity for follow-up appointments to saving money on travel and over-night stays out-of-county, it’s a win-win!

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