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Choosing a Surgeon

If you are considering cosmetic surgery, the most important thing that you can do is to find yourself a good cosmetic surgeon. He / she needs to have had specialist training in cosmetic surgery and be experienced. In the UK, it is possible for surgeons to practice cosmetic procedures without training specifically in them.

A starting point to finding a good surgeon could be to ask your GP, if you have confidence in his judgement. However, whilst your GP will be familiar with the cosmetic surgeons practicing in your area, he won't necessarily know how good they are or what their experience is. Personal recommendations from family and friends are also useful. Another way of finding a surgeon is to have a look online or in the Yellow Pages. Harley Medical Group will offer you a free initial consultation.

Once you have a name, you should consult the register that contains the names of all specialist plastic surgeons practicing in the UK. The register is the General Medical Council's (GMC) specialist register. The easiest way to check your surgeon's status is to visit the search function on the GMC website. Search on the name of your surgeon or his registration number if you know it, and click on the result. Any specialist registrations will be displayed.

You should feel free to ask the surgeon about his training and experience. When you meet with the surgeon at the first consultation, he should take your medical history and examine you. He should then explain the procedure and any associated risks to you. He should ensure that your goals are realistic, and may refuse surgery if he feels that you are being unrealistic in your expectations.

It is useful to see before and after photos of the surgeon's work, although not all surgeons have these due to confidentiality restrictions. You should also bear in mind that surgeon may only be showing you favourable results, and there can never be any warranties that you will get a similar result - everyone's anatomy is different. Be cautious about a surgeon who is over optimistic about results, minimises the risks, pressurises you into going ahead or suggests other surgeries (unrelated to the original one) that you had not already considered.

Make sure that you are fully aware of what the procedure entails, what the costs are, what happens if you are not happy with the result, what the recovery period is, what scars you will be left with and how long you will have to take off work.

Only when you are happy with both the surgeon and the details of the procedure should you think about going ahead with it.