When looking to have a cosmetic procedure, the first thing to do is to find a list of certified plastic surgeons and make sure your doctor is on this list. There are a number of less reputable doctors, so it is vital that you make sure your surgeon is highly respected, experienced and fully certified.
The type of certification required can vary depending on what types of procedure you want done. If you are looking for something less invasive, such as Botox or fillers, the expert does not need to be a certified surgeon; however, if you are looking to have a surgical procedure, the doctor must be certified and listed.
The GMC register
If you are in the UK, your doctor should be listed on the board of plastic surgeons. You should check the surgeon and hospital are registered with the GMC (General Medical Council) as a minimum requirement. This means they are insured to carry out procedures in the UK. It is also a good idea to check that your doctor is on the GMC’s list as a specialist in the area you are looking to get treated.
It is vital that the person you speak to about the operation is the one who will perform it, or at least supervise the procedure. You can also talk to your GP as a first step in discussing the process. They will be able to advise you on the steps you can take to ensure your surgeons is the best person for the job.
The Care Quality Commission
In addition to the GMC, you could check that the surgeon is registered by the CQC (Care Quality Commission), which is the independent auditor for health services. This is a regulation body for the industry in the UK. You can see what sort of reputation your doctor has by checking their report history.
It is also important to visit hospitals and check out the sort of care you can expect to receive after the procedure. Ask questions such as what do you do if you are not satisfied with the results of the procedure and whether you will have to pay for any alterations or further treatments. Talk with the surgeon about all aspects of the surgery and aftercare and ensure you are satisfied with the answers.
The new RCS register
You should check the new certification system that is coming out in the UK. Currently, surgeons offering plastic surgery need only be registered with the GMC as a doctor and there is no requirement for any specialism; however, the RCS (Royal College of Surgeons) has launched a new certification system in 2017 to enable plastic surgeons to show that they have the specialist skill to perform certain operations.
Certification for this new RCS system is voluntary; however, most surgeons want to be certified to prove their skill, so this is certainly worth checking. If your surgeon is not registered with this system, you should find out why.
If you follow these procedures before choosing a plastic surgeon, you should be much more confident that they are suitably qualified and experienced in your procedure and will do a good and safe job.