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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Yorkshire GP Tackles Cosmetic Surgery Regulation Grey Areas

An East Yorkshire GP has decided to tackle the “grey areas” in the cosmetic surgery industry by helping to open a new ‘health hub’ in Welton. Dr. Paul Charlson runs a GP’s surgery in Brough, and is due to become the president of BCAM (the British College of Aesthetic Medicine) later this summer.

Speaking to the Hull Daily Mail in late April 2014, Dr. Charlson voiced his concerns about the current lack of rules and regulations regarding who can perform cosmetic surgery procedures, where, and how, and said “the whole industry is rife with [grey areas]”.

The doctor says that many people “go around performing procedures in places they shouldn’t be”, and referred to an example of a nurse he’d heard of who had attended a house party in Leeds. As the female party-goers were enjoying themselves and drinking champagne, the nurse applied dermal fillers to their faces. Dr. Charlson points out that the recipients of the fillers had been drinking, and were therefore not in a fit state to undergo this type of procedure. Plus, dermal fillers should not be applied “outside of a clinical setting” as the environment is not sterile.

While the East Yorkshire GP says the majority of people who perform cosmetic procedures outside of an approved environment “get away with it and nothing bad will happen”, he warns that facial fillers and other similar procedures are akin to “ticking time bombs” where things can go wrong at a later date.

Dr. Charlson plans to set up a new training academy at the Welton health hub, where he aims to share new techniques he’ll be learning via his new role at the British College of Aesthetic Medicine.

The academy will operate in a similar way to one that Dr. Charlson already helps to run in Brough, where patients are given professional advice about skincare and dermatological procedures prior to undergoing any treatment. The doctor says that the majority of his patients don’t want the “Barbie doll look” and are seeking a ‘subtle’, ‘conservative” look that doesn’t look like they’ve “had any work done”.



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BAPRAS Responds to Independent Medical Devices Review

After an independent review on independent medical devices was recently published by Professor Terence Stephenson and his peers, BAPRAS (the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons) have responded via their website to add their stamp of approval to the review’s findings.

Professor Stephenson is the Vice-Chair of the Institute of Child Health at University College London, and was tasked by the MHRA (an executive agency of the Department of Health that regulates all medicines and medical devices in the UK) in the summer of 2013 with helping make recommendations about how the MHRA can improve its access to clinic advice, and improve its engagement with the clinical community in relation to medical devices.

There are several recommendations within the Professor’s report that BAPRAS is particularly in favour of. One such example is the recommendation that patient records be used to track what medical devices have been given to them. Since the PIP breast implant scandal, BAPRAS has been pushing for a compulsory register for medical devices, and is already helping to pilot a UK database with help from an NHS and MHRA-funded research service. However, it’s not only breast implants that the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons are concerned about; with the rise in the number of patients experiencing issues as a result of receiving dermal fillers (such as Botox) from unqualified and/or untrained persons, the Association believes cosmetic dermal fillers also qualify as medical devices and should, therefore, be included in the medical devices register.

Another recommendation the Association stands behind is that the MHRA should make information more readily and widely available regarding the safety and effectiveness of medical devices, so that surgeons are better-equipped to recommend an appropriate device for their patients – which some might say could have helped reduce the number of women affected by faulty PIP implants. BAPRAS also back the recommendation that the MHRA should help to set best practice across Europe, and treat devices as seriously as medicines, aided by a new advisory committee of which the Association is keen to be a part of.



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Harley Medical Group Falls Foul of Hackers

It’s not just individuals who can end up falling foul of internet hackers – it happens to companies too – and there’s nothing worse than worrying that your personal details may have been accessed by an unauthorised and unscrupulous person.

The other week, the Harley Medical Group was reportedly targeted by cyber criminals, leading the company to write to its customers and warn them that nearly 500,000 potential clients may have had their personal records accessed. According to an article in The Telegraph, around 480,000 personal records were lifted from Harley’s website enquiry form facility, which is used by prospective patients to contact the company with enquiries about cosmetic surgery. The stolen data included the names, home addresses, email addresses, contact numbers, and dates of birth of the clients, along with information detailing what type of procedure they were enquiring about.

HMG told customers that there was no breach of financial or clinical data, and reassured them that both the police and the Information Commissioner’s Office had been made aware of the security breach as soon as the hacking attempt came to light. HMG’s chairman, Peter Boddy, says that the company has now taken steps to improve the security of their website, although a security expert referred to by The Telegraph believes the breach was only possible because of the Group’s “sloppy security”, and accused it of failing to protect its customers’ data.

The hacking scandal is the latest drama to affect the Harley Medical Group, which has also come under fire in the national press in recent months for deliberately going into administration and subsequently reopening to avoid paying compensation to PIP implant victims. The company was previously known as the Harley Medical Centre, which operated dozens of clinics around the UK. In 2012, HMC declared bankruptcy, claiming that the high risk of legal action from PIP patients was likely to put it out of business. However, just days later, the company re-opened its clinics under a new name.

New regulations being introduced by the Department of Health should prevent this type of scenario occurring in future, as all senior management and directors will be subjected to a “fit and proper person test’ before being granted a licence.



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Young Star of Fixers Campaign looks at Perceptions of Cosmetic Surgery

While many of us choose to undergo cosmetic surgery in later life in a bid to combat the ageing process, others seek help at a far earlier age. While many men and women who’ve undergone surgery in their 20s are more than happy with the outcome, there are some who look back and wonder whether rushing to the operating table was really the right decision.

The Fixers campaign encourages young people to help others and enlighten them on issues which are particularly important to them. The campaign receives funding from The National Lottery, and so far, over 12,000 Fixers from across the UK have been involved in a variety of projects, many of which have been showcased on TV. Subject matters have included eating disorders, cyber-bullying, youth offending, and drugs, and 20-year-old Zoe Wyatt from Hampshire recently appeared on ITV News Meridian to encourage other youngsters to think twice before undergoing cosmetic surgery.

In 2013, Zoe underwent a procedure to adjust her jaw because she was unhappy with the way she looked. A year later, she’s come to realise that there was actually nothing wrong with her jaw in the first place, and regrets not knowing how long the recovery time would actually be. Zoe’s Fixers project includes raising awareness of the seriousness of cosmetic surgery among young adults, as she worries that surgery is “turning into the norm”. Likewise, some of the students Zoe interviewed at Bournemouth University spoke of the “pressure to get [procedures] done”. Zoe’s Fixers film is called “Irreversible” and it highlights the fact that once certain types of procedures are performed, there’s no going back if you change your mind.

Safer Cosmetic Surgery and all of our surgeons applaud Zoe for tackling this tricky issue, and agree that young people should not bow to pressure from friends or peers, try to copy celebrities, or undergo a procedure to combat low self-esteem. Zoe wants people to realise that procedures don’t always magically “sort all of your problems out” and, as a professional interviewed in Zoe’s Fixers interview points out, youngster’s expectations of a positive outcome following surgery are sometimes unrealistically high. Beauty, as they say, is only skin deep, and the negative emotions which lie behind our skin cannot be resolved by surgery alone.



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Crackdown on Bust Cosmetic Surgery Firms Opening New Clinics

According to a recent article in the Daily Mail online newspaper, cosmetic surgery firms which go bankrupt to avoid paying their former patients compensation will be prevented from opening new clinics. One such example of a firm which has risen like a phoenix from the flames is The Harley Medical Centre. In 2012, the chain of clinics went into administration to avoid having to stump up potentially vast volumes of cash to compensate as many as 13,000 patients who had received faulty PIP implants. While the Centre’s management claimed the decision to shut up shop was due to the risk of the company being put out of business by such costly legal action, low and behold, the Centre’s clinics reopened just days later under a similar name of The Harley Medical Group and once again started treating patients.

Thanks to a planned governmental crackdown, those in charge of such clinics will no longer be able to go bust and reopen in such a short space of time in the future. Instead, when the directors and managers apply for a health clinic licence, they will be subject to a “fit and proper person test” by the Department of Health. According to the Minister for Care and Support, Norman Lamb, the test will enable the government to ensure that the people in charge of health clinics and surgeries “are up to the job” and “remove those who are not”.

While the new regulations may come too late for many of the thousands of women affected by the PIP implant scandal, it should go some way towards ensuring that this situation never reoccurs. Many patients were left with no financial support to get their faulty breast implantsremoved or replaced, and no company still trading to provide advice, take ownership of the situation, and provide them with compensation.

Even those who’ve been unaffected by PIPs welcome the new crackdown, with some of the readers’ comments on the Daily Mail article saying directors who try to “outrun their creditors” should be “slung in jail”. Another reader says that ALL companies should be banned from “phoenixing”, and that allowing them to reinvent themselves is “legalised theft”.



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