Think Over Before You Make Over

The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) is urging Australians to think very carefully before committing to cosmetic surgery procedures, whether in Australia or overseas, and inform themselves of all possible risks and possible consequences. “Our message is to ‘think over before you make over’ says ASPS President, Dr Tony Kane at the biennial Plastic Surgery Congress in Brisbane.

Additionally ASPS is calling for regulations to mandate a minimum 14 day cooling off period after the initial consultation, arguing the 7 day cooling off period in the Medical Board of Australia’s draft recommendations on Cosmetic Surgery regulation doesn’t go far enough.

“Alarmingly some people seem to spend more time researching a new hairdresser than they do their surgeon and rush into surgery they later regret,” says Dr Kane.

“Our priority is patient safety. Since 2011 the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeon’s Code of Conduct has included a 10 day cooling off period, however, we’d like to see the Medical Board go even further and implement a 14 day cooling off period.”

“We are concerned that increasing numbers of Australians are having cosmetic procedures without fully understanding the potential risks and, importantly, without properly investigating the qualifications of the person undertaking their procedure or the facility in which it’s being conducted.”

“Despite a growing number of reports in the media of poor or disastrous outcomes, and sadly, even deaths, people are still rushing into cosmetic surgery with little consideration for their safety, often putting financial considerations ahead of their health,” says Dr Kane.

“This is a global issue. Cosmetic surgery can have life-changing benefits for many people and more and more people will choose to take up this option but we urge them to make informed choices,,” said British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) Vice President Dr Graeme Perks, who is attending the Plastic Surgery Congress in Brisbane.

BAPRAS recently launched a “Think over before you Make Over” campaign in conjunction with disturbing survey findings that showed that of the two million British considering cosmetic surgery each year, a quarter don’t bother to check the credentials of their surgeon while a fifth aren’t aware of the risk associated with different procedures,” says Dr Perks.

“We believe an Australian survey would reveal similar results. We are seeing a growing number of patients requiring corrective surgery particularly to correct surgery conducted overseas,” says Dr Kane. “People need to understand that cosmetic surgery is not trivial. It is serious, invasive surgery requiring anaesthetic and like any other surgery, involving an element of risk.”

“That’s why we implore people to take responsibility for their own health and personal safety by doing their homework ahead of any cosmetic surgery to ensure the decision you make is the right one for you.”

The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons encourages anyone considering cosmetic surgery to ask some simple, but crucial questions:

Who? Who is undertaking your surgery and are they appropriately qualified to do so? Is your surgeon a fully-qualified, accredited plastic and reconstructive surgeon? Beware of flashy websites – these don’t necessarily reflect the skills or qualifications of the surgeon. You can check your surgeon’s credentials with the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. You should have at least two face-to-face consultations ahead of your surgery to find out details of the surgery, the possible complications, and cost. You should be given a cooling off period to review your decision. If you are travelling overseas for surgery check whether your surgeon is a member of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons and whether you will meet them face-to-face ahead of the surgery.

Where? Where are you having your surgery? Whether it’s overseas or in Australia, find out whether you having your procedure in an accredited hospital or day surgery? Is there resuscitation equipment on site in case of an emergency and is there a qualified anaesthetist supervising? If not, be warned, you are taking a risk.

What? What happens after the surgery? What after care is available, who will take care of any complications that may arise post-operatively. Post-operative is an important part of your surgery and needs to be considered as part of the entire process, particularly if you are travelling overseas. Lying by a pool sipping a cocktail ahead of a long haul flight home is not a safe form of post-operative care.

Why? Why are you having this surgery? What are you expectations of the results and what benefits do you anticipate? It’s important to have a realistic understanding of the likely results and to be aware of the limitations of surgery. This is not the same as buying a new pair of shoes or a new hair-style. Take your time to consider it – don’t rush your decision – and if you have any doubts, get a second opinion.

How? How much will it cost? Beware of cut-price offers or packages that include a holiday or travel. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you are getting a bargain price procedure, you need to ask where are the savings being made – is it in the level of care, the experience of the surgeon or the standard of the anaesthetic or facilities?
Download media release.

Media enquiries:  Edwina Gatenby, phone  0402 130 254.