When considering breast surgery, many potential patients have come up against the tricky problem – ‘But what will they actually look like on me?’

It is this issue of being unable to picture the final results that has proven a persistent barrier for a significant proportion of women. This is one of the main reasons why only a small percentage of those who think about breast augmentations actually go on to have surgery.

However, all that is rapidly changing. Thanks to fantastic technological advances from U.S. imaging companies, it is possible for potential patients to view post-operative simulations of their bodies using the VECTRA® 3D imaging system. In other words, it is possible to remain as ‘before’ whilst you see a clear image of the ‘after’.

The VECTRA® 3D imaging system has been designed to show potential patients all possible outcomes of their breast augmentation surgery. A three-dimensional image is created, then women can choose different cup sizes to view. They can see how each size will look on their body – there is even virtual clothing so that they can see how, for example, a bikini would look after surgery.

This 3D imaging application is a fantastic asset within cosmetic surgery. It essentially removes unnecessary concerns and doubts from would-be patients who are unsure what to expect, whilst at the same time giving them realistic expectations. It may also prevent corrective surgery for unhappy patients as the right individual choice can be made each time. This can only be a positive boost to patient care, since the women who are given the opportunity to use the 3D imaging are essentially able to make an even more informed decision about their cosmetic surgery.

As technology develops, expect to see a growing number of systems being more commonly used by surgeons in the U.K., where it has already proven popular with those who appreciate the value of such state-of-the-art tools. It is a way of improving patient confidence and satisfaction, hence the need to spread the word about the increasingly widespread availability of Vectra in the UK.

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In a fantastic bid to limit the number of people undergoing unsafe cosmetic surgery, a UK University has decided to launch a hands-on course to provide qualified surgeons with additional knowledge and expertise.

This move by British higher education recognises the specialist skills needed to perform cosmetic surgery procedures and the concern with increasing numbers of Brits using unqualified surgeons. This course may have been set up following the recent PIP breast implant scandal, which greatly increased awareness of the need to only undertake surgery if you are sure you are in safe hands.

As the number of cosmetic surgery procedures undergone in Britain increase and more complicated operations are conceived, it’s no wonder that there is a need for more specialist training and it’s great to see that a British University has decided to take matters into their own hands and offer a practical course.

The course is being offered by Anglia Ruskin University and it is hoped that as well as improving surgeons skills, it will also help to raise public awareness and push members of the public to find qualified surgeons and undergo safer procedures. There are many highly experienced cosmetic surgeons the UK, such as the surgeons who are members of BAAPS and/or BAPRAS, and it’s hoped that the introduction of this new course will raise awareness to the fact that Britain is leading the way in safe cosmetic surgery. This awareness may help to deter people from travelling abroad for cheap, high-risk surgery.

This course comes of the back of another course targeted at cosmetic surgeons. In 2010, Lincoln University created an art class, aimed to help surgeons form a sense of perspective and knowledge of the human form through sculpture classes and drawing. Whilst this course is less technical it offers surgeons the ability to improve a different range of skills. Its aim is to improve surgeons’ perceptual skills, thus enabling them to really tailor each procedure to the individual.

Both courses are great examples of why Britain is gaining a fantastic reputation as having one of the safest and most advanced cosmetic surgery offerings. We look forward to seeing which other educational establishments join this growing trend, and the types of courses and activities that they come up with.

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Plastic surgery used to be seen as an activity undertaken by women and perhaps a few high profile celebrity men, but this is becoming less and less true. Increasingly men from all walks of life are opting for cosmetic surgery to improve their looks and confidence. There are many popular cosmetic surgery procedures for men and these include: facelifts, ear surgery and liposuction. In the UK, in 2011, nearly 4000 men underwent cosmetic surgery (figure from BAAPS). The variety of operations for men also continues to grow with some more extreme procedures becoming available. One example is ‘Leg Lengthening’ surgery, which involves breaking the leg bones and therefore a very painful recovery period. 

So why are men opting for plastic surgery?

There are many reasons why more and more men are choosing cosmetic surgery. As techniques become more advanced, men feel more confident that they can get the results that they want. Furthermore, as more women choose cosmetic surgery, their boyfriends and husbands see the positive affects and are choosing to follow suit.

Successful men often struggle to fit physical exercise into their daily regimes and cosmetic surgery offers them the chance to quickly get their bodies back in to shape. One of the most popular male cosmetic surgery procedures is the "moob job" or male breast reduction. The rise in male celebrity cosmetic surgery also creates a notion that successful men must look good. This has a knock on affect on the male population who feel that improving their looks could improve their career and general success in life. The rise in male celebrities undergoing treatment also shows men that it isn’t a purely feminine activity and that the results can be really impressive.

One concern with this increasing trend is that men may still feel nervous about discussing their surgery and asking for information. Many cosmetic surgery guidelines are targeted towards women, which means that men might struggle to find useful resources and information. The concern with this is that men may not be in a position to choose the safest cosmetic surgery options available to them.

It really is vital that men pro-actively research before jumping into cosmetic surgery and there are many fantastic and highly experience surgeons out their who you can go to for advice. At SaferCosmeticSurgery, we are highly qualified to offer specialist advice to men considering cosmetic surgery to ensure that any procedure undertaken is safe.

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The final report into the PIP breast implant scandal (cheap implants used for breast enlargement) has now been released and concluded that the gel found in the implants does not cause a long term threat to human health.  The investigation was lead by NHS Director, Prof Sir Bruce Keogh. It says the implants, which were filled with unauthorised silicone, have been found to be neither toxic nor carcinogenic.

The review confirmed they do however have double the rupture rate of other implants tested.

Around 47,000 women in the UK have had the implants fitted. Prof Keogh said women had faced an "incredibly worrying time".

It’s thought around 95% were fitted privately. A minority of operations were carried out on the NHS, mostly for breast reconstruction patients following cancer treatment.

Earlier in January, Prof Keogh's team concluded there was insufficient evidence to recommend the routine removal of PIP implants. But it recognised the concern that the issue was causing.

In this week’s final report he said that repeated tests in many countries have "shown that the implants are not toxic and therefore we do not believe they are a threat to the long-term health of women who have PIP implants".

He concluded: "We have however found that these implants are substandard, when compared to other implants and that they are more likely to rupture. We would therefore advise that women who have symptoms of a rupture - for example tenderness, soreness or lumpiness - should speak to their surgeon or GP."

Consultant Plastic surgeon and president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), Fazel Fatah, said: "Despite rigorous testing showing no long-term danger to human health from the individual chemicals in the gel, the fact remains that PIPs are significantly more likely to rupture and leak and, therefore, cause physical reactions in an unacceptable proportion of the patients.

"We agree with the report findings that anxiety itself is a form of health risk and thus it is entirely reasonable for women to have the right to opt for removal - regardless of whether there has been rupture."

Throughout the UK any women who had PIP implants through the NHS have been given the option to have them removed and replaced free of charge.

In Wales the NHS will also replace those of private patients. In England and Scotland the NHS will remove implants of private patients but not replace them.

Last month, a separate review led by Health Minister Lord Howe examined the role of the Department of Health and the UK regulator the MHRA. It said serious lessons must be learned and questioned how well women with these implants were informed about the risks.

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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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