SCS Surgeon Speaks Out about Cosmetic Surgery Industry

When Stephen McCulley isn’t busy in his role as a consultant plastic surgeon at Nottingham’s City Hospital, he somehow manages to find the time to contribute informative pieces regarding cosmetic surgery to the popular online news site – The Huffington Post. Mr McCulley’s first January article gives an insight into what he believes has gone wrong with the cosmetic surgery industry, and it makes for some very enlightening reading.

Mr McCulley says that the rise in the number of people undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures is increasing year on year, with more than 43,000 procedures being carried out in the UK in 2012, indicating that much of the stigma surrounding plastic surgery is finally reducing. This is no doubt due in part to the rise in regular media pieces, television shows like Ten Years Younger, and reality shows like The Only Way is Essex making surgery more of a ‘norm’. However, what he’s concerned is happening is that we’re likely to become overexposed to procedures to such an extent that media ethics and company marketing tactics are suffering as a result. Mr McCulley refers in particular to some of the online voucher sites who offer money off cosmetic surgery procedures, often throwing in freebies and perks to entice customers to buy, making the concept of signing-up to surgery as trivial as booking a discounted meal.

He also points the finger at some of the less scrupulous surgeons, such as the man who offered free procedures to women who were willing to date him, and some who perform surgery on people who are clearly troubled.

Mr McCulley believes that the recommendations outlined in last year’s Keogh review are imperative (although, far from new concepts) in helping to restrict how cosmetic surgery is promoted and who can practice it. In his mind, plastic surgery isn’t about achieving a perfect appearance, but instead altering features and characteristics which are causing people to feel self-conscious, emotionally distressed, and uncomfortable in their own skin. He sums it up as helping people to get on with their lives free from “anxiety about a physical problem or appearance which can be treated or improved by surgery”.

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Cosmetic Surgery Trends of 2013 Unveiled

A recent article in the Mail Online has revealed what UK residents were getting up to over the last year with regards to cosmetic surgery. There’s been everything from the downright weird to the wonderful, with some old favourites sliding down the list in favour of new crazes.

Plus, it’s not just regular members of the public who’ve been heading to the cosmetic surgeons; celebrities have been checking in as well, with Britney Spears confessing to having had lip fillers, Christine Hamilton undergoing a non-surgical face lift, and Sharon Osbourne triumphantly returning as an X-Factor judge looking younger than ever before…

The most popular treatments of 2013, according to the article, were varicose vein surgery and vampire facials. Thanks to a Twitter photo from Kim Kardashian, vampire facials have seen an 800% rise in the last year. It’s not a procedure for the faint-hearted as it involves injecting the patient’s own blood back into the face and, as yet, there is no medical proof that it has any effect on halting the ageing process.

However, anti-ageing treatments in other forms were also a hit in 2013, with many patients choosing to opt for non-surgical facelifts and dermal fillers – procedures which each experienced a rise of 93%.

Varicose vein treatments experienced the biggest rise in popularity last year, possibly due to the casting-off of excess clothing during the long-awaited Indian summer that the UK enjoyed in 2013. Women in particular are prone to varicose veins and thread veins on their legs, which can make wearing short skirts and shorts awkward and embarrassing. While it’s not known exactly what causes the appearance of these types of veins, many medical experts believe they may be influenced by factors like genetics, smoking, hormonal changes, and changes in temperature. Luckily, varicose veins can be treated surgically or via injections and thread veins can be significantly reduced with up to six laser treatments (each lasting just a few minutes).

The Mail Online article predicts that more people will choose non-invasive surgery in 2014, and you can find more information about the different types of non-surgical procedures that are performed by our surgeons right here on our website.

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BAPRAS Backs Anti-Bullying Campaign for Victims of Facial Disfigurement

A new campaign called “Don’t Call me Freakface” has been launched by Changing Faces (the national disfigurement charity), and it’s got the full backing of BAPRAS – the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. The campaign’s main target is Mind Candy, the company behind the popular children’s game, Moshi Monsters. The game features a variety of characters including ones which Changing Faces says are common terms that are used towards children with disfigurements, such as Fish Lips, Bruiser, and Freakface, many of whom are depicted with spots, scars, and missing eyes.

Peter Budny is a consultant plastic surgeon as well as the chairman of the BAPRAS Communications Committee, and he says that the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons fully support the “Don’t Call me Freakface” campaign, which aims to “challenge negative perceptions of facial disfigurement and scars” by preventing offensive terminology from being used to describe children’s toys. He adds that the Association feels it is “unacceptable” to encourage prejudice and name-calling based on personal appearance, and wants “more work to be done to promote ‘face equality’”.

Much of the work performed by cosmetic plastic surgeons includes operations on people with disfigurements, including those affected from birth as well as victims of scalding, burns, and explosives. BAPRAS are firmly involved in developing “groundbreaking innovations” to help restore “both form and function” for individuals affected by disfigurements, and at this year’s annual winter meeting, the Association held sessions on pioneering work in cleft lip and palate repair for children, ear reconstruction and haemangiomas (more commonly known as strawberry marks).

Changing Faces is currently appealing to the public to sign their petition, which also requests the makers of Moshi Monsters to remove all descriptions of the Glump characters which make use of disfigurements to “emphasise just how evil and scary [the characters] are”.

The charity has already achieved success in challenging large companies before; earlier this year, they convinced Lego to remove the description of their Butch Cavendish figure, who was described as having a “terribly scarred face which is a perfect reflection of the bottomless pit that passes for his soul”.

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Permanent Facial Paralysis Risk for DIY Botoxers

A recent article in the Mail Online has voiced some serious concerns about do-it-yourself cosmetic treatments. With a worrying rise in the number of self-confessed DIY Botox-ers and people who receive non-surgical treatments from untrained and unqualified practitioners, experts have now issued a health warning in a bid to prevent any further individuals from ending up with permanent facial paralysis.

Recently-released statistics show that approximately 4% of people who undergo non-surgical procedures such as Botox administer the treatment themselves, while 13% have been treated by friends without the necessary training or qualifications. A further 11% have received treatment from an untrained third party like a hairdresser or beautician.

These statistics state that while 66% of people want stricter regulations introduced for the cosmetic industry, 33% of patients have admitted to feeling nervous or frightened before, during, or after their procedure, amazingly 21% of those surveyed, said that they would happily receive laser hair removal from a non-qualified person.

Experts say that there are many risks associated with incorrectly injected Botox, including drooping eyebrows, a lopsided face, allergic reactions, muscle paralysis (possibly permanent), severe pain, and difficulty in swallowing and controlling facial muscles.

Dr Hilary Jones is known as the resident doctor from Daybreak TV and also writes a regular newspaper health column. He says that while the non-surgical cosmetic industry is growing so fast, it’s “vital” that “the health of those undergoing treatments isn’t put at risk”. Dr. Hilary is also concerned about the abundance of places offering Botox, chemical peels, and dermal filler treatments that are administered by individuals with little or no training “in completely unsuitable environments, with potentially dangerous products”.

Like many industry experts, Liberate totally backs the recommendations laid out in the 2013 Keogh report, and wants to see only fully-qualified and trained medical professionals allowed to administer non-surgical treatments. At the time of writing, the Department of Health is yet to officially respond to these recommendations although, it is rumoured that the Government plan to reject them on the basis that stricter regulations would hamper economic growth in the run-up to the 2015 elections.

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Sharon Osbourne Speaks Out about Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery

After seeing several articles on labiaplasty recently hitting the headlines, the spotlight has now fallen on vaginal rejuvenation surgery. While both types of procedure are performed on the female genital areas, both entail very different techniques and can be carried out for entirely different reasons.

The other week, Sharon Osbourne (X Factor UK judge and wife of Ozzy Osbourne) opened up to Graham Norton on his UK TV show about a very personal detail of her private life. While the now 61-year-old confessed to having undergone vaginal rejuvenation surgery at the time, back in 2011, she was initially quoted as merely saying that she’d received “a little bit of lady surgery downstairs”. However, an evidently more comfortable and confident Sharon Osbourne told Graham Norton more recently some further details of the procedure she underwent two years ago. While she says she remains delighted with the results, at the time, she says the operation was “just excruciating”.

While labiaplasty and vaginoplasty are commonly confused, labiaplasty entails making aesthetic changes to the appearance of the inner labia – more often than not entailing a reduction in size or an attempt to restore symmetry. Vaginal rejuvenation surgery (otherwise known as vaginoplasty), on the other hand, is a technique used to tighten the vagina and is most commonly requested by older women and women who’ve given birth. The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic, although the patient is often allowed to go home the same day. The use of dissolvable stitches also means that there is no need for removal post-surgery.

The majority of females seeking this type of procedure do so because the muscles of their vagina have loosened due to factors like age or childbirth. This can naturally affect the woman’s sex life and is often a cause for concern for her partner as well as herself. Tightening the muscles through vaginoplasty surgery can help to restore the affected area, and sometimes improve sexual pleasure for both the woman and her partner. However, as with any type of invasive surgery, there is a small risk of infection, the risk of loss of sensation, and mild discomfort and swelling should be expected for the first seven days.

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Labiaplasty Becomes UK's Third Most Popular Procedure

According to an internet clinic search engine (, the UK’s third-most popular type of cosmetic procedure is now labiaplasty – which involves the reconstruction of the inner labia to change their size and/or shape.

Up until recently, the most requested non-surgical and elective surgical cosmetic procedures in the UK included the likes of breast implants, face lifts, tummy tucks, Botox injections, dermal fillers, and laser treatments (according to a Government report published in September 2013). However, the company behind say they’ve seen a 109% rise in the amount of enquiries relating to labiaplasty within the last year, rocketing it into the Number Three spot.

The company believes that such growth in interest can be attributed to “increased consumer awareness”, and cites TV coverage on popular programmes like Embarrassing Bodies as a prime factor, along with articles in newspapers and magazines. The statistics show that the increase in customer interest regarding labiaplasty has been particularly pronounced over the last six-month period.

However, not everyone is happy about the rise in “designer vagina” surgery for various reasons. Some would say that women are now empowered to change their genitalia as they so choose, while others believe we’re being influenced or made to feel inadequate by the pornography industry.

, a member of BAAPS as well as a founding member of SaferCosmetic Surgery, says that around 50% of his patients want to undergo labiaplasty for function while the other 50% want the procedure performed for entirely aesthetic reasons. Mr. Banwell believes the statistics produced by largely represent the trend he’s seen in his own practice. In fact, he’s experienced an even higher increase over the last twelve months – 200%. Contrary to what some critics believe, Mr. Banwell doesn’t think the new trend “has anything to do with the glamour industry”; instead, he believes it is just the latest trend in cosmetic surgery.

Mr. Banwell lectures on this type of female genitalia surgery worldwide, and says that the women who walk through his surgery doors are all “normal people” from all walks of life and ages. Unless he believes a patient is unsuitable for the procedure or has unrealistic expectations, women should feel comfortable about seeking help from a cosmetic surgeon.

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