Modern Plastic Surgery is safer than ever before, with constant efforts to maximise safety and minimise risk taken at every step of your journey. A responsible and ethical Plastic Surgeon starts by giving you an honest appraisal of your suitability for the particular procedure you are interested in. Whilst part of this focus is of course on the outcome of the procedure in you, part is also about your suitability with respect to safety. Obvious examples include not performing a facelift on a smoker, or a tummy tuck on someone who needs to lose weight – both these factors have conclusively been shown to increase risks of infection rates and wound healing problems.
After the decision-making process, it is crucial to educate you, the patient, about the risks and what you can do to minimise them yourself. This may be to stop taking herbal supplements that might increase bleeding risk, through to stressing the importance of following post-operative instructions so you don’t over do it after surgery, which can result in complications.
The surgery itself is of course the riskiest part of the process, but a properly qualified and accredited Consultant Plastic Surgeon will lead a theatre team that will all be well versed in the latest safety procedures as well as take absolute care during all parts of your operation to ensure all goes smoothly.
A key focus that has been highlighted in the media recently is the decision as to where your surgery takes place. At Purity Bridge, all of our Consultant Plastic Surgeons perform “major” surgery at fully equipped, fully staffed and multi-disciplinary leading private hospitals. We feel strongly that if you are undergoing, say, a facelift, there are all the appropriate back-up facilities and procedures & protocols available. Safety has to come first, and whilst this approach may increase the cost…we would ask, what price is safety and good health?
Unfortunately complications such as bleeding (haematomas) do happen in plastic surgery, even in the most experienced and careful hands. Sometimes there may be an identifiable trigger, such as a big cough that sets of the bleeding (because of an instantaneous peak in blood pressure), but most of the time there isn’t an obvious cause – it is “one of those things”. Therefore having the availability of a fully staffed operating theatre, an anaesthetist and the full back-up facilities of a comprehensive private hospital is mandatory in our eyes.
There have been many who have speculated on social media recently about the credibility of those “cosmetic doctors” who do not have access to properly accredited facilities. We agree that this must raise a degree of suspicion. Every fully accredited Consultant Plastic Surgeon will have access to a leading private hospital in which to perform surgery. In fact, most Consultants will have “practising privileges” in several private hospitals. One must surely ask “why not?” if a cosmetic surgeon only has the ability to perform the surgery in an independent facility and has not been granted practising privileges elsewhere.
The due diligence performed into Consultants in granting practising privileges at UK private hospitals includes an application process in which each Consultant is discussed by a Medical Advisory Committee composed of a team of their peers from a variety of medical specialties. During this process, any irregularities in their application, causes for concern (such as the Consultant being under investigation by the GMC) and reasons not to proceed are discussed robustly. This should help to give some confidence about the credibility of a Consultant you are seeing.
Finally, as mentioned above, the safety process continues after your actual operation – neglecting good post-operative care can not only result in problems, it can turn what was going to be an excellent result into an average one.