In a BBC3 documentary, Northern Irish model Gemma Garret told of her “nightmare” when she discovered she had ruptured PIP breast implants.

In 2008, aged 26, Gemma paid £4,500 for breast implants; she told the BBC “I definitely didn’t want the plastic look”. Three years on Gemma contacted her clinic for reassurance after feeling unwell and noticing a dramatic change to the shape of her breast. After no response she “lost faith” and found a new surgeon.

In 2011 surgeons discovered both implants had ruptured and silicone had leaked into her breast tissue. The cost to Gemma for the removal of these faulty implants was £11,500. Until recently, she had also endured uncomfortable outpatient procedures every six weeks to drain blood from cavities that formed.

In a BBC3 documentary, Gemma investigated why young women want to go under the knife and what the Government is doing to make women more aware of the risks associated with breast augmentation.

“Surgery is so available to young girls,” Gemma told the Belfast Telegraph.

“It can be advertised as a lunchtime boob job and young girls are sucked in and don’t realise all the risks. There should be better regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry.”

During the documentary, SaferCosmeticSurgery member Mr Stephen Sinclair was featured demonstrating how a comprehensive initial consultation should be.

Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon Mr Sinclair met with Gemma and her friend Carly aged 21 who was considering breast augmentation. Not only did Mr Sinclair explain the potential risks of this surgery, they also discussed the many options with this surgery with regards to type of implants, shapes and sizes. It is important that all your questions have been answered fully in order for you to make an informed decision. Stay clear of any clinics offering incentives for surgery and money off deals. Mr Sinclair explained how anyone considering a cosmetic surgery procedure should never choose a surgeon based on price.

For further information on choosing the right surgeon download our cosmetic surgery checklist which will help you find an experienced surgeon. Alternatively, you can contact us on 0800 622 6262 or send your questions in an email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has agreed with the Government’s recent recommendation that a more stringent criterion is required to monitor medical devices in the UK. This all follows the welcomed review by the Government into the PIP scandal. The BAAPS has reiterated its previous calls for a compulsory breast implant register and mandatory safety audits for all practitioners.

The BAAPS President-Elect and consultant plastic surgeon Rajiv Grover has said;

“We welcome the findings of the Government’s review into the PIP scandal, and agree in particular that there should be a better system of reporting for medical devices, with data gathered from a wider set of sources that should be routinely reviewed. For the last few years, the BAAPS has been championing the reinstatement of a compulsory implant register that would monitor not just breast but all types of implant put into the body. The register is part of our regulation proposals put forward earlier this year  and would immediately address all the recommendations put forward in this report, as would a mandatory safety audit based on the model that the BAAPS requires of all its members.”

According to consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President Fazel Fatah;

“Poor post-marketing surveillance of medical devices lies at the root of the PIP crisis. At the BAAPS we feel there needs to be significantly more stringent monitoring of all medical devices including breast implants and all cosmetic injectables, via compulsory, regular reporting of adverse effects and mystery shopping which are all part of our regulation proposals. This is an opportunity for the Department of Health to get it right, and put the necessary systems and checks in place to avoid a repeat fiasco. Clearly changes are also needed at European level of the CE marking process.”

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It is estimated 700,000 people in the UK suffer with chronic migraines. These intense headaches often cause nausea and extreme sensitivity to light or sound. Sufferers of chronic migraines mean a patient must have headaches on at least 15 days a month, eight of which have to be migraines.

In the UK in 2010 Botox was approved as a treatment for chronic migraines, NICE is now considering whether the NHS should fund it.

In their final draft guidelines the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend Botox when other drugs have failed.

Director of the health technology evaluation centre at NICE, Prof Carole Longson said: "Chronic migraines are extremely debilitating and can significantly affect a person's quality of life.

"We are pleased that the committee has been able to recommend Botox as a preventative therapy for those adults whose headaches have not improved despite trying at least three other medications and whose headaches are not caused by medication overuse."

The final guidelines are expected in June.

Cost to the NHS?

For every 12-week cycle of treatment NICE estimated the cost to the NHS would be £349.40.

It is thought that the anti-wrinkle drug works by relaxing muscles and blocking pain signals.

Dr Fayyaz Ahmed, chair of British Association for the Study of Headache, said: "The headache experts with first-hand experience in treating chronic migraine know how debilitating the condition can be for some patients, and Botox can be a life changing treatment.

"We are pleased that NICE has recommended Botox for those who have failed to respond to first-line treatments."

Symptoms of migraine include:

  • Severe headache
  • Visual disturbances such as spots or flashing lights
  • Sensitivity to light, noise, or smells
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tingling sensations, pins and needles, and weakness or numbness in the limbs

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Previously when Botox was first used as an anti-ageing treatment for men and women with moderate to severe frown lines, the average age of patients was 41. Last year it was indicated that teenagers had driven a 15% increase in the demand for Botox injections.

In a bid to freeze their looks and hold back wrinkles in later life twentysomethings are following their celebrity icons and undergoing anti wrinkle treatments. Celebrities from popular young shows such as The Only Way Is Essex and Xfactor have admitted to using treatments.

These non invasive procedures tend to last for around six months and at a cost of £200 - £500 per session - it’s an expensive outgoing for someone starting at such a young age. The Belfast Telegraph asked Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Stephen Sinclair, what the physical cost is to someone starting so young.

SaferCosmeticSurgery member, Stephen Sinclair, said there are no studies to prove that having Botox in your teens or twenties can have adverse affects or cause premature ageing. Given every client's individual history, it is difficult to pinpoint the best time to start treatment.

“As you age, the fat distribution in your face changes, putting more pressure on areas like the jowls or the nasolabial fold,” he explained.

“This normally starts to happen in your thirties or forties. There is a growing trend among young women to prevent lines and folds by use of Botox and fillers and these treatments are very successful.

“But having it done in your teens and twenties does seem early. The main thing young women should be doing now is leading a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, get exercise, don't smoke, don't binge drink. All these will help your skin in later life.

“Of course it can come down to genes and every person is different. Some women look younger than they are, some look older. It's hard to give a definitive time-point as to when you should start these treatments. But once you start losing fat, that's when they can be very useful.

“If you are thinking of having treatments done, it is essential to seek out a good practitioner and a good clinic, somebody who has knowledge of this field and the experience and expertise to do the job right.”

Please download the SaferCosmeticSurgery checklist for tips on choosing the right surgeon, if you would like to make an appointment with Mr Sinclair or an experienced surgeon who is more local to you please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 622 6262.

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UK plastic surgeons have welcomed the decision to discontinue using Macrolane gel as a temporary breast enlargement procedure.

Manufacturers of the injectable filler have decided to withdraw the product for the use of breast enhancement this week following warnings from experts that the product could mask the signs of breast cancer.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) found in a survey that 25% of its members using Macrolane noticed patient complications from the filler.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said Macrolane could affect mammogram readings and make diagnosis more difficult.

A spokesman for MHRA confirmed there are no safety concerns with the product itself, and it could still be used for other purposes such as "augmenting body contour" and correcting soft tissue defects.

MHRA advised: "If women have been injected with Macrolane and subsequently had a mammogram, they should contact their GP to see if they need to be referred for further screening."

The “lunchtime boob job"

This less invasive procedure appealed to women looking for a temporary breast enhancement with little recovery. The injectable filler did not require the use of implants and results lasted for around 12 – 18 months. According to BAAPS figures in 2009 more than 1,000 women in the UK underwent this treatment.

BAAPS president Fazel Fatah said: "Any treatment can only be considered safe once it is known what long-term effect it has on cancer screening as this can affect such a high proportion of women.

"We have urged caution in the past against the use of fillers in the breast, especially when there is a lack of peer-reviewed results from controlled clinical trials."

A spokesman for Q-Med, manufacturers of the product in Sweden said all breast augmentation procedures, including those involving Macrolane, could interfere with mammograms.

"At present, there is a lack of consensus amongst radiologists regarding radiology examination of breasts treated with Macrolane," he said.

He said the decision to discontinue the product for breast enhancements followed consultation with regulatory authorities.

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Large, heavy breasts can cause a great deal of discomfort for women, with many experiencing neck ache, back pain and in the worst case scenario, skeletal deformity as a direct result of the excess weight placed on their bodies. If you yourself are experiencing a high level of discomfort because of the size and weight of your breasts, you may have considered breast reduction surgery to remove this unwanted burden. If this is the case, then we at Safer Cosmetic Surgery are here to offer you some post-surgery advice and guidance to alleviate any anxieties you may be feeling.

Medical Consultation

Before you commit to having this operation, it’s important that you find a qualified surgeon who is a fully fledged member of the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and the British Association of Aesthetic Surgeons (BAAPS). You can find a surgeon is who both a member of these organisations and local to you by visiting our website.

During the consultation, you can ask the surgeon any questions you may have about the surgical procedure, the potential risks, and the after-effects. The surgeon will then look at your breasts and explain how they intend to re-shape and re-proportion your breasts so that they no longer weigh you down and affect your standard of living.

Pre-Surgery Advice

Your surgeon should discuss what you can and cannot do before the surgical procedure, however to give you an insight into what to expect we have listed some of the common guidelines below.

Usually before the surgery you will be expected to sustain from eating or drinking for at least 8 hours before the surgery unless otherwise stated. In addition to this, you should avoid taking aspirin as this can thin the blood and lead to excessive bleeding.

For further advice and guidance, use our website to find an approved surgeon who will tell you everything you need to know before committing to breast reduction surgery.

Many people search for facelift before and after photos online to find out about the likely outcome. has a range of before and after pictures that you can view before booking a consultation.

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