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New guidelines published by Royal College of Surgeons

The Royal College of Surgeons have published new guidelines - Professional Standards for Cosmetic Practice.

The new guidelines from the college state that it should be standard practice to discuss relevant psychological issues including referring patients when appropriate to clinical psychologists. It should also be made clear to the patient whose responsibility it would be to pay for any additional care as the NHS will not intervene to correct privately provided cosmetic procedures even if the outcome is poor.

The Key recommendations from the guidelines are;

Only those who have qualified as a medical doctor and undertaken post-graduate surgical training should carry out invasive procedures such as breast surgery or liposuction.

Practitioners have a duty to manage a patient’s expectations of how they will feel after treatment. They should not imply that patients will feel ‘better’ or ‘look nicer’, and should instead use unambiguous language like ‘bigger’ or ‘smaller’ to describe what that patient is trying to change.

Any guidance for marketing and advertising must be honest and responsible, using only real patient photographs that have not been air brushed or digitally enhanced.

There should be a cooling off period of at least two weeks between the initial consultation and any invasive surgery.

There should be no financial inducements such as time limited special offers.

Cosmetic practice should only be carried out in licenced premises with resuscitation equipment. Currently non-surgical procedures such as laser treatments or injectables can be administered by people with no healthcare qualifications whatsoever. Botox and Filler parties should not be allowed.

These recommendations have been sent to Sir Bruce Keogh whose review of the cosmetic surgery is due in March. Unfortunately whilst these are very sensible recommendations any change to the present practices will require a change of law. Previous recommendations from the department of health following the Trilucent Breast Implant scandal 10 years ago have been quietly forgotten.