It seems that with the rise of social media and the pressure that that brings to some to look different or halt the ageing process, there has been yet another sharp rise in the number of cosmetic surgery procedures in the UK in 2015. Figures from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) have revealed that there were 51,140 such procedures last year compared with 45,406 for 2014 (a rise of approximately 13%).
It also appears that more men are undergoing plastic surgery of some type, although they still amount to only 10% of all the operations done.
As one may expect, breast operations are the most common cosmetic procedure but interestingly the second most popular is eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty). The procedure that has increased the most in 2015 is liposuction (up 20%) closely followed by face and neck lifts (up 16%).
Despite this increasing desire to look better/younger, things can go badly wrong and it is essential that patients embark upon procedures once they have been fully counselled as to the pros and cons of the surgery and made fully aware as to the risks and complications that may arise. Being an industry that is almost entirely private sector, there is a danger that the commercial pressures of the industry may result in procedures that are unnecessary, rushed and not completed with the appropriate skill and care and result in an outcome that was not expected.
BAAPS have confirmed however that 30% of requested procedures are turned down. Some patients are simply unsuitable for surgery due to pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or being overweight. Smoking can also affect the outcome as it can compromise the healing process.
There is still no formal regulation of the industry, only guidelines for practice so far. Surely given the rise of demand and the risks involved, regulation is needed urgently and thankfully the General Medical Council (GMC) are considering this issue and trying to introduce stricter controls and certification for doctors who offer cosmetic interventions.