Health Secretary Says No to NHS-Funded Cosmetic Surgery
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has spoken out about his feelings regarding NHS-funded cosmetic surgery, saying that it should only be permitted if there is a clear, clinical need, and not just to improve a patient’s appearance.
Under the existing system, some patients can receive plastic surgery for free if there is a risk to the mental or physical health of the patient. This includes reconstructive surgery for recovering cancer patients who have undergone single or double mastectomies. However, according to an article published by Sky News, it is thought that some hospitals are allowing patients to receive free surgery procedures they say are purely cosmetic, which Mr. Hunt says should not be allowed.
According to NHS Choices (the self-confessed online ‘front door’ to the NHS), the National Health Service “rarely” performs cosmetic surgery, and when it does, patients often have to endure lengthy waiting times. It also states that “there must be overriding major physical or psychological reasons for considering it as a treatment option”. The “few cases” which the NHS deems suitable include breast implants (only to treat lopsidedness or severe underdevelopment), breast reduction to save the patient from chronic back or shoulder pain, nose reshaping to fix breathing issues, eyelid reduction to treat problems with vision, and tummy tucks to remove excess skin and/or fat after ‘essential abdominal surgery’.
One case which made the headlines in the last twelve months was that of 23-year-old Josie Cunningham - an aspiring model - who received a breast augmentation procedure on the NHS costing an estimated £5,000. It caused considerable public outrage in the national media at the time, with many people complaining that the cash-strapped National Health Serviceshould not be funding non-essential surgery. Her local GP recommended she should be given the surgery without charge as Josie claimed she was being bullied for being flat-chested.
It’s certainly a topic that’s drawn many comments from Sky News readers, with some agreeing that “clinically unnecessary treatment” should not be provided by the NHS, and neither should IVF, and others even suggesting that privatising the service is the way forward.
Mensa Member Says Surgery Helped him Get a Job
A male member of Mensa (the society for individuals with high IQs) was recently interviewed by the Daily Mail about his reasons for undergoing a rhinoplasty procedure.
21-year-old Owen Cheshire, who lives in Southampton, says that he inherited his large nose, which affected his self-confidence and resulted in bullying while he was at school. In his final year of university, he became concerned that the size and appearance of his nose would adversely affect his chances of being offered a job after he graduated, and so he made the decision to undergo cosmetic surgery at a cost of £4,000.
Mr. Cheshire (who has an IQ of 132) says the decision to seek help from a cosmetic surgeon was “a no brainer” as he “wanted to enter the job market at my best”. Previously, he admitted avoiding having his photograph taken and “hated meeting new people”, but now he says he feels “confident and ready to tackle anything”.
While Mr. Cheshire isn’t suggesting that potential interviewers would be put off hiring him due to the size of his nose, he believes that people in his situation wouldn’t perform to their best ability due to a lack of self-confidence.
During the operation, a plastic surgeon shaved off a portion of bone and smoothed the tip to give Mr. Cheshire’s nose a more streamlined appearance, resulting in what the patient calls “a huge difference”.
Rhinoplastyis a commonly requested procedure for people who fear their nose is out of proportion with the rest of their face, or has a bump or bend in it. While some people suffer from issues with their nose from birth, others seek surgery after breaking their nose.
The procedure is usually performed under general anaesthetic, and takes around two hours on average. Depending on the issue, the surgeon will perform one of two types of procedure – closed (where the incisions are made inside the nostrils) or open (where the incision is made in the bridge of skin between the nostrils). While the discomfort may ease more quickly, it generally takes around three weeks for all the bruising and swelling to disappear completely.
Cosmetic Surgery Addict, Cindy Jackson, Gets Third New Nose
It’s a case of third time lucky for one of the most renowned cosmetic surgery converts in the world. 58-year-old Cindy Jackson has just undergone her third rhinoplasty procedure in a bid to get the perfect nose, and her latest one is modelled on a combination of Kate Middleton and Angelina Jolie – a hybrid which many say is currently the most sought-after nose in the world of plastic surgery.
Despite operating her own blog, where she touts herself as a “global plastic surgery and anti-ageing expert” and “the most trusted name in cosmetic surgery since 1987”, Cindy went against the advice given by many medical experts by booking into a surgery abroad for her latest procedure, in order to take advantage of the cheaper fees offered.
Cindy had her first nose job at the age of 34 to replace a key feature of her face, which she admits she “never liked”. However, she decided after the operation that the change was not dramatic enough, and booked in for her second rhinoplasty procedure just two years later, this time opting for a Nicole Kidman-esque nose. Twenty-two years afterwards, Cindy concluded that her second nose op looked “too Eighties”, and decided to undergo a third operation in the hopes of achieving a Kate Middleton/Angelina Jolie hybrid, which she considers more “timeless” and “elegant”.
As a self-practicing cosmetic surgeryadviser, Cindy says she sees many female clients who covet both Kate and Angelina’s noses, which is partly what prompted her to go for the same look. Having had work done on almost every part of her body except for her arms and feet, Cindy doesn’t plan to cut short her obsession with perfection any time soon, stating “the arms are next”.
While it’s surely only a matter of time until Cindy undergoes operation number 58, her determination to pursue what she calls, “naturally beautiful results” can possibly be attributed to being passed over at school “unlike the pretty girls”, and a small inheritance which made it possible for her to put the wheels in motion in 1988.
BAAPS Say New Breast Implant Scare is No Cause for Alarm
Following some recent reports in national newspapers that drew a link between Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma (a very rare type of cancer) and textured breast implants, both BAPRAS (the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons) and BAAPS (the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) have addressed these concerns via their respective websites. Both associations agree that there is no due cause for alarm.
The statistics quoted in the media focus on 150 reported cases of Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma out of 15 million breast enlargement patients worldwide, and considering BAAPS members have performed almost 80,000 breast augmentations over the last ten years – none of which led to a case of ALCL being reported – the former president of BAAPS (Fazel Fatah) says the chances of such a tumour occurring “are extremely rare”.
BAAPS’ current president, Rajiv Grover, says each individual surgeon should evaluate which risks they should inform potential patients about, dependant on factors such as their age. As breast cancer affects 1 in 10 women on average, regardless of whether they’ve received implants or not, Mr. Grover says the risk of Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma “is infinitesimally small in comparison”.
Mr. Grover’s predecessor, Mr. Fazel, also gives some reassurance for women who have received textured shell breast implants, who may be concerned by the recent media reports. As well as pointing out the fact that ALCL tumours are extremely rare, he says the risk of death from this type of cancer is 1 in 2,000,000, and there is a cure available for 94% of affected patients. He adds that ALCL is a non-aggressive form of cancer which is slow to progress, meaning that the chances of recovery are good. However, despite the minimal risk of such a cancer occurring in patients, the Association has still ensured that all of its surgeons are aware of Anaplastic Large-Cell Lymphoma and are prepared to take the necessary steps if the condition is suspected in a patient.
The final piece of advice to women who have received textured shell implants is that unless they suddenly detect “unexplained changes or swelling” in their breasts (which should be checked out by a doctor), there is “no need for concern”.
Orbix Medical Pioneers New Breast Enhancement Procedure
Israel-based Orbix Medical has recently been mentioned in an article on the UK Huffington Post site with regards to their latest medical invention. The new breast enlargement procedure claims to prevent the breasts from sagging post-surgery by supporting them with an “internal bra”, which is implanted under the skin.
Compared to existing breast augmentations, this alternative version is a great deal more invasive, despite the relatively-quick, predicted operation time (45 minutes). During the procedure, the surgeon inserts ‘silicone slings’ underneath the tissue of each breast, which are secured to the patient’s ribcage using titanium screws and silk straps.
Orbix Medical claim the procedure leaves minimal scarring and that the device cannot be seen through the skin. It also boasts that the new Breast Support System “eliminates breast re-sagging” post-surgery, and keeps the “shape and position of the breast and nipple years after the procedure”.
While the operation has been approved for use in the EU, it is still being reviewed in the US; in England, it is only currently available at one London hospital.
In early May 2014, one of the hospital’s surgeons performed the first three trials using the new device; however, many of his peers believe that more trials are necessary to determine whether the new-age procedure is a viable alternative to more traditional types of surgery.
One member of the London Breast Institute told the Daily Mail that as well as more clinical trials, there will need to be sufficient follow-ups to prove the procedure actually delivers the results that Orbix Medical claim, that the internal bra doesn’t adversely affect the shape of the breast in years to come, and that the silicone slings are safe in the long-term. Professor Mokbel adds that the fixing of silk straps to the ribcage may have potential side-effects for the patient, as common silicone implants are placed behind the natural breast to minimise the risk of post-surgical issues.
If you would like to find out more about traditional and more common types of breast surgery, including enlargements, uplifts, and reductions, please visit the Safer Cosmetic Surgery website or click here.
Teens with Low Self-Esteem Prompt Warning from BAAPS
In an age where teenagers (and even toddlers) are put under immense pressure to conform to society’s ever-changing perceptions of beauty, many medical professionals are concerned that vulnerable youngsters with low self-esteem are being driven to cosmetic surgery in a bid to overcome their body issues.
Members of BAAPS (The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) in particular have warned of the recent increase in cosmetic surgery procedures, stating that the Association’s surgeons performed over 50,000 procedures in 2013 – a noticeable 17% more than in 2012. While BAAPS has not broken down last year’s statistics by age group, Michael Cadier (the President Elect of the Association) says that more young people are approaching surgeons to request surgical procedures.
Mr. Cadier is concerned that many of these young people are “still immature and vulnerable” and are considering operations that are “too big” with “too many potential life-long implications”, instead of potentially exploring “other avenues” first.
At the same time that BAAPS spoke out about their concerns regarding vulnerable teens, BBC’s Newsbeat undertook an online survey of its readers. Those who completed the questionnaire ranged in age from 15 to 62, and 310 people submitted the survey in total. Of these 310, 64 admitted to having previously undergone a cosmetic surgery procedure - the most common type being breast implants, followed by dermal fillers and rhinoplasty (nose jobs). The majority of these people said they were happy with the results.
Of the 246 who had not undergone a procedure, 145 said they would consider doing so in future, including an 18-year-old female from Southampton. In her survey, she stated she wants breast enhancements, having suffered from low self-esteem since the age of 11. She added that there’s “almost an expectation of women to be attractive”, which adds to the feeling of not being “good enough”. Even more worrying is the fact that the young woman’s therapist has suggested she consider plastic surgery alongside counselling to help overcome her self-esteem issues.
A psychologist commissioned by BBC Newsbeatwarns that many of us seeking to change our bodies with surgery think we “will feel happier” as a result. However, she warns that “the results consistently show that’s not true”.
SaferCosmeticSurgery consultants would recommend that cosmetic surgery should not be considered by teens in the first instance, instead counselling for low-esteem should be sought. As a mature adult however, if you are still unhappy with a particular physical feature, please contact us to discuss how we can help.
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