How to choose a Cosmetic Surgeon in the UK

At Elite Surgical, we are passionate about making sure our patients and members of the public are fully informed and aware of how to safely and securely research and choose a cosmetic surgeon in the UK. Choosing your surgeon can be a daunting process and it is difficult for patients to choose a reputable surgeon in the private world of cosmetic surgery. Most cosmetic surgery involves serious operations and so it’s important to ensure your cosmetic surgeon is qualified, ethical and trustworthy.

However, with these simple guidelines, Elite Surgical can help you to choose the right surgeon.

1.       GMC registered and on the GMC “specialist register” for plastic surgery 

THE GMC (General Medical Council) register doctors to practise medicine in the UK. The purpose of the GMC is to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine². 

From 1 January 1997, all doctors taking up a post as a substantive, fixed term or honorary consultant in the health service in the UK are required to be on the GMC specialist register. Doctors need to apply for entry onto the specialist register and meet the criteria set down in legislation such as completing a period of formal specialist training and /or qualifications³. Ensure your Consultant Plastic Surgeon is not only on the GMC Register ( as all UK practicing doctors have to be) but a cosmetic surgeon will need to be on the GMC Specialist Register for Plastic Surgery, this can be checked by searching for your surgeon on the GMC register online. 

This ensures that the Plastic Surgeon has met a minimum set of criteria judged by the GMC and Royal Colleges of Surgeons in the UK and is therefore entitled to hold the position of a substantive NHS Consultant Plastic Surgeon. Surgical training in the UK is some of the longest and demanding in the world with many surgeons spending over 10 years training before reaching Consultant Level.

2.       Holds an FRCS (Plast) or FRCS in plastic surgery qualification 

Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) is a professional qualification to practise as a surgeon in Ireland or the United Kingdom. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. 

FRCS is a general qualification and surgeons who have had specialist training in plastic surgery hold the qualification FRCS (Plast) or FRCS in plastic surgery. 

3.       Work or have worked as an NHS consultant plastic surgeon 

Cosmetic surgeons who work or have worked for the NHS in substantive NHS posts as consultant cosmetic and plastic surgeons will have extensive specialist experience and qualifications in this field. 

4.       Holds membership for an organisation like BAAPS or BAPRAS 

The BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) is based at The Royal College of Surgeons and was established for the advancement of education and safety in aesthetic surgery. Having surgery by a BAAPS member gives patients the assurance that their surgeon has been examined in aesthetic/cosmetic surgery and has been deemed by colleagues to be of sufficient standing to become a member⁴. 

The BAPRAS (British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons) is known as the voice for plastic surgery⁵. It was founded for reconstructive plastic surgery work and the members undergo intensive specialist training in plastic surgery that qualifies them to also perform aesthetic or cosmetic surgery. 

Membership to either organisation is a good indication of a consultant being fully trained and qualified as a plastic or cosmetic surgeon. 

5.       Working out of a reputable clinic or healthcare facility 

Elite Surgical use all CQC facilities and within these hospitals, our surgeons will work alongside other specialists who are able to give supporting care and are also on the GMC register in their own field. All our surgeons are or have held a Consultant post in the NHS meaning they are fully qualified and trained up to UK standard.


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