The Department of Health has issued guidance on Cosmetic Surgery, summarised below.
Cosmetic surgery should not be undertaken lightly. Cosmetic surgery can change your appearance in ways that you might consider desirable but it can be expensive in time and money and, although uncommon, it has been known to result in some changes to your appearance which you may not always find pleasing in the future. It is important that you do not feel pressurised or obliged to have it. It should be a decision you take only after a lot of careful thought and questioning.
This page provides some questions to ask yourself about your reasons for wanting cosmetic surgery and your expectations of the results the procedure will bring, as well as providing some alternatives to cosmetic surgery. If you feel you want to know more, this site will provide you with details of questions to ask in order for you to make a well informed decision about whether to go ahead with surgery, and which surgeon to choose.
Your reasons and expectations
As a first step, you need to think long and hard about why you feel you may benefit from cosmetic surgery.
- Do you expect it to change your life as well as your appearance, and how do you think your life will be better?
- Is it reasonable or likely that a change in your appearance will radically change your life?
- Are you considering surgery for yourself or to please someone else?
- Do you think that having surgery will improve your relationship or employment prospects?
- Is it reasonable to expect surgery to achieve the changes to your appearance that you are hoping for?
There are alternatives to cosmetic surgery. If you feel your concerns about your appearance result from anxieties about social situations or from problems with relationships, you might want to discuss with your GP or another professional the possibility of seeing a counsellor or psychologist. If you have been considering cosmetic surgery because of employment issues, you may want to consider alternatives such as career counselling. If you are living with an appearance that you consider looks disfiguring or unusual, the organisation Changing Faces can offer support and information about how to manage others attention and how to enhance your self-esteem and confidence.
If you do feel that you could benefit from cosmetic surgery, then it is vital to ensure that you are as well informed as possible. The next step is to gather information about the procedure you are interested in and the surgeons who offer this procedure. However, you should note that it is not advisable to undergo cosmetic surgery if you are pregnant or if you have certain medical conditions, or if you are taking certain medications.
You may be nervous about asking for information, but surgeons with your best interests at heart will do everything they can to put you at your ease and will make sure that you get the information you need. You may find it helpful to write all your questions down so you don't forget anything. Or you may prefer to attend consultations with your partner, or a relative or friend, who can remind you to ask for information if you forget.
Explore this site for detailed information about cosmetic surgery. Download the checklist
to help ensure that you have asked all of the questions you need.