Smiling Inside? Charles Nduka on Botox Research

Many people comment on the effects of Botox, the fact that it can produce a ‘startled’ expression, or inhibit the patient’s ability to smile normally.  But could there be farther-reaching effects?

A recent interesting article in the Daily Mail highlighted the findings of some research into the effects of Botox by Cardiff University psychologist Dr Michael Lewis.  Dr Lewis studied 25 women who had undergone Botox for crow’s feet and frown lines.  Two and four weeks later, they each completed specially-designed questionnaires which asked them to rate the symptoms of depression.Those who had merely had the treatment around the eyes to help combat crow’s feet scored 12, whereas those who had their frown lines treated scored an average of 7, which is a 50% difference.

Dr Lewis said: “The expressions we make on our faces affect the emotions we feel. We smile because we are happy but smiling also makes us happy.

“Treatment with drugs like Botox prevents the patient from being able to make a particular expression. For example, those treated for frown lines with Botox are not able to frown as strongly. This interrupts the feedback they would normally get from their face and they feel less sad.”

Charles Nduka, Safer Cosmetic Surgery founder and council member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons or BAAPS, commented to the Daily Mail that he had seen Dr Lewis’s research in action.

He said: “Enabling people to smile more has a beneficial effect on mood.

“When I have operated on someone with facial palsy I do see an elevation of mood, partly because they feel better about their appearance but another positive effect is from the rehabilitation process which requires them to smile more often.”

It would certainly seem that by limiting the ability to smile by having Botox injections, one may also be limiting one’s capacity to feel joy.  Should you be considering any cosmetic surgery procedure and should you wish to know more about the possible psychological implications, please do not hesitate to consult a Safer Cosmetic Surgery surgeon for a consultation.



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NHS Changes - Patients Must Choose Wisely

The NHS is undergoing a much-publicised period of change, one that will ultimately impact on the decisions made by the public who use its services.  Each community in England is now covered by one of the 211 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).  These GP-led groups plan and commission health services for their area and from now on CCGs will be responsible for £65 billion of the £95 billion NHS commissioning budget.

This major shift in the commissioning responsibility is already resulting in a change in perceived priorities with the NHS.  Some patients who may have been once deemed eligible for NHS treatment are being classified as “low priority” and finding that they need to turn to the private sector.  This is proving to be the case with procedures such as mole removal, scar removal, keloid scars, uneven breasts (breast asymmetry), loose folds of skin and Caesarean section scar removal.

Whilst this is not the case across the board, prospective patients who are venturing into the private sector for treatment, many for the first time, need to be aware of some key considerations.  Firstly, it is extremely important to realise that ‘private’ does not, unfortunately, immediately indicate safe and reputable.  As we are continually keen to emphasise, it is vital only to seek help form a cosmetic surgeon who is fully qualified, BAAPS(British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) or BAPRAS(British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons)-registered and experienced in their field, as is the case with all Safer Cosmetic Surgery surgeons.

It is essential that whilst exploring the different options for cosmetic surgery, prospective patients are not drawn in by any ‘special offer’ situations, such as the much-criticised buy-one-get-one-free type of deals that have been so damned by the Keogh report and other industry commentators.  It is also vital that patients meet with the cosmetic surgeon prior to the cosmetic surgery procedure for proper consultations and advice.  Again, it is important not to be swayed by price, or pressurized into hurrying a decision on any grounds. 

At Safer Cosmetic Surgery, we are highly qualified and experienced medical professionals who wish to do the best for our patients.  Anyone seeking to undergo cosmetic surgery of any kind should accept only the highest standards of professionalism and remember that whilst budget may appear to be a genuine consideration, in the end it is one’s health and a safe, positive outcome that is paramount.



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Jolie Highlights Serious Benefits of Breast Surgery

Cosmetic surgery is often in the news for all the wrong reasons, such as those cases where celebrities have undergone an excessive number of procedures, or otherwise appeared to trivialise their decision to have surgery.  But the recent news of Angelina Jolie’s brave decision to undergo a double mastectomy may have significantly changed how cosmetic surgery is viewed by some.

The Hollywood star, who has frequently topped the lists of the world’s most beautiful women, discovered that she had a defective gene, BRCA1.  Women with this defective gene have a greatly increased risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer and Jolie has explained that her doctors told her that her risk was 87%.  She therefore underwent a preventative double mastectomy, followed by reconstructive breast surgery, saying:

"Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimise the risk."

Indeed surgery has dramatically reduced Jolie’s risk of breast cancer to 5%.

With her commendable decision to go public about her medical actuality and personal choices, Jolie has highlighted several issues at once.  Not only has her story shone a spotlight on the availability and benefits of preventative mastectomies where appropriate, but the subsequent reconstruction of her breasts using implants has given an important reminder to the world that in many cases breast surgery is not purely cosmetic.

At Safer Cosmetic Surgery, we welcome the opportunity to reinforce the important fact that reconstructive breast surgery is an important medical service which can profoundly enhance the life of those who require it.  Our organisation is comprised of both plastic and reconstructive surgeons who are members of BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) and/or BAPRAS (British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons) perform the whole spectrum of cosmetic surgery operations.  We represent the heights of experience and professionalism and the training our surgeons undergo is typically twice as long as elsewhere.

We have helped many women who have considered breast surgery for a variety of reasons. Should you wish to discuss breast surgery or any other reconstructive surgery with a qualified, experienced surgeon, please do not hesitate to contact us through the online form and we will be happy to assist.



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Holding Back The TOWIE Effect

Amongst myriad reasons why the cosmetic surgery industry is growing so rapidly is a change in the perception of the industry that has occurred in recent years.  Whereas once having a procedure was restricted to a quiet minority who had made a considered choice, what is now occurring is what Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS Medical Director, has described as the “normalisation” of cosmetic surgery.

In his report Keogh writes:

"Cosmetic interventions have been normalised. Previously undertaken discreetly, now people will admit to having had procedures and even celebrate them."

The Keogh Report acknowledges something that social commentators and those monitoring the impact of the industry have long noted:  superficial celebrity culture is warping our view of cosmetic surgery. It finds that television programmes such as The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE) and celebrity magazine features are having a real influence on people, particularly young women.  The TOWIE characters do not stop at fake tan but also embrace procedures like Botox though barely into their twenties, as well as demonstrating a penchant for breast implants.

‘TOWIE is undoubtedly a hugely popular programme but I feel that some inappropriate messages trivialising the cosmetic surgery process and indeed other cosmetic treatments maybe entering into the consciousness of young, impressionable minds’ says Mr Paul Banwell, Consultant Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeon from Safer Cosmetic Surgery

Indeed, whilst some feel it is light-heartened entertainment, there is a flip side.  In a nation that is becoming increasingly obsessed with its looks, adult choices, as ever, have an impact on the young and impressionable. According to the Keogh report, 41% of girls aged 7 to 10 and 63% aged 11 to 16 said that they felt some pressure to look the way celebrities do.

TV makeover shows, of which Extreme Makeover would be one example, also receive censure in the report, but it is TOWIE and its ilk that really pack a punch with the young.  The message is clear, that to achieve the ultimate modern prize of fame, looks are paramount. Nothing new there, but the difference with reality stars is that children may now think that such looks are attainable for the average person with a little surgery.

The Keogh Report is clear that this is misleading:

“Of particular concern are TV reality drama shows in which its young stars glamorise cosmetic procedures. It is not always made clear that these celebrities have contracts with particular providers."

We agree that TOWIE and other shows in need to take a responsible approach with regard to the promotion of procedures, whilst there is an on-going need for children and young people to be protected from any portrayal in the media of having cosmetic surgery as a trivial, risk-free undertaking.

“I would wholeheartedly support the need for clear, strong messages cautioning against the flippant endorsement of cosmetic surgery - especially in the younger age-groups” concludes Paul Banwell.



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Arm Lifts To Take Off in the UK

More often than not a popular trend in cosmetic surgery tends to start off across the Atlantic.  In an age when celebrity culture underscores much media reporting, a significant number of prospective patients are likely to follow the moves of the Hollywood A-list with interest. Now it would seem that a trend for arm lift surgery that is hugely growing in popularity in the US may be the next procedure to become highly sought-after in the UK

In surgical terms, the arm lift treatment can remove excess from patient’s upper arms and treat the issue of unwanted loose skin. Many women dislike the appearance of excess fat on the tricep area, which is commonly dismissed by the colloquial term ‘bingo wings’.  Now, thanks in part to the impact of numerous press photos displaying the toned arms of women like Michelle Obama and Jennifer Aniston, more and more women are requesting cosmetic surgery to improve the appearance of their upper arms.

Other factors contributing to women seeking arm lifts, or brachioplasty, include the growing interest in weight loss.  Most women seeking the procedure had lost a considerable amount of weight, resulting in sagging, excess skin on the back of the arms. 75% of the women who underwent the procedure in 2012 were over 40 years-old, at an age where skin has begun to lose its elasticity.

In the US this procedure has increased in popularity by more than a staggering 4300% since the year 2000.  During 2012, 15,000 American women underwent arm lift surgery.  Whilst it is still relatively uncommon in the UK, industry watchers are predicting that British women are set to follow.

Mr Michael Tyler, a highly experienced surgeon listed with Safer Cosmetic Surgery says:

“The key aim of this operation is to give your arms a more youthful and athletic contour. It comes at the price of a scar on the inside of the arm.  That said, with a careful placement of that scar, the effect can be very effective with patients returning to short sleeves for the first time in years.

At Safer Cosmetic Surgery we would recommend that anyone seeking to find out more about arm lift surgery consult only with a fully qualified and BAAPS(British Association of Aesthetic Surgeons)-registered surgeon such as those that you may contact through our website.



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Sir Bruce Keogh Calls for a Crackdown

At Safer Cosmetic Surgery we have naturally followed all developments pertaining to the Keogh Review and the subsequent report very closely.  Now the Government and regulatory bodies are discussing the proposals in the report that urge for restrictions to be put in place upon this burgeoning £2.3billion industry, which has tripled in size within half a decade.

The unregulated nature of dermal fillers has been much considered and discussed by the members of Safer Cosmetic Surgery.  Now Sir Bruce Keogh would like to ensure that all fillers - which can at present legally be bought on the internet and injected by anyone - are treated as a medicine, becoming available on prescription only.

His essential, post-PIP scandal review has also called into question the competence of some surgeons notably in regard to the ‘fly in, fly out’, or ‘FiFo’ surgeons, who are not based in the UK.The report also notes the liability insurance issues that have arisen from untraceable FiFos, leading in some cases to patients being unable to seek redress.

At the heart of the report lies the understanding that there is an urgent need to regard those who undergo cosmetic surgery as patients rather than mere customers, as well as powerful belief in the duty of surgeons, associated bodies and the Government to protect the vulnerable.

Sir Bruce Keogh said:

 “We have heard terrible reports about people who have trusted a cosmetic surgery practitioner to help them out but, when things have gone wrong, they have been left high and dry with no help, these people have not had the safety net that those using the NHS have. This needs to change."

The Keogh Report calls for approved training for all cosmetic surgeons and anyone who is carrying out a procedure.  The Royal College of Surgeons has backed this and would like the Government to move forward with the proposals. 

We also fully support any legislative steps that will ensure greater safety, probity and efficacy in the cosmetic surgery industry.



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