Talking to a surgeon before picking a cosmetic procedure leads to a more successful result

Press release- 25 September 2008

BAPRAS surgeons turn away patients with unrealistic expectations

The British Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons (BAPRAS) is urging potential cosmetic surgery patients to choose their surgeon wisely, so that they can be sure they are getting the right advice.

A recent survey of BAPRAS members showed that surgeons were willing to advise patients against surgery when there are unrealistic expectations, or if there are concerns about the patient’s motivation for having surgery.

BAPRAS says the role of the cosmetic surgeon is not to just give patients the procedure they are asking for, but to advise them on the best route to achieving the change they want.  

Professor Simon Kay of BAPRAS, says that patients are often misinformed about what certain procedures are for and what they can achieve.

Instead of agreeing to perform the procedure the patient thinks they need, Professor Kay advises people to determine what it is they dislike about their appearance and then meet with a surgeon to discuss options.

“Patients often meet with a surgeon with a particular procedure, such as liposuction, in mind.  What they really need to think about is what they particularly dislike about their appearance.  A surgeon can then give them advice on whether it is liposuction that they need.

“Cosmetic surgery isn’t always the right answer, which is why it is important to determine the issue and then help the patient find the right option for them.  In some cases it will be correct to operate but in others that may not be the best route.

“In effect, the patient is taking medical advice about their appearance and how they feel about their appearance.  By approaching the problem in this way, we can, where appropriate, help them achieve a change that will hopefully make them feel better about the way they look. Equally important, is to recognise and advise when surgery is not the best option.”

BAPRAS says that surgeons must have a responsible attitude and offer proper medical advice.  By discovering the motivations of a patient, the surgeon can help them achieve a natural looking appearance that will give them the look they want. 

An important component in the training of properly qualified Plastic Surgeons is the psychology of appearance.  They need to understand what motivates the patient to seek surgery, to determine if they can cope with the potential outcomes and to recognise and help those few patients for whom surgery is not the solution.

A properly qualified Plastic Surgeon in the UK will be on the Plastic Surgery Register of the General Medical Council, and hold a specialist qualification in Plastic Surgery (such as the FRCS Plast). If in doubt, a patient contemplating surgery should seek impartial advice from their GP.  All full members of BAPRAS are fully trained, qualified and registered Plastic Surgeons.



BAPRAS, the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, is the voice of plastic surgery in the UK. It aims to increase the understanding of the professional specialty and scope of plastic surgery, promoting innovation in teaching, learning and research.

Founded in 1946 (originally as the British Association of Plastic Surgeons), today BAPRAS has over 800 members and is the professional representative body for reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgeons providing services to patients on the NHS and privately in the UK.

Members of the public can find a member plastic surgeon in their area by logging on to Anyone can check the GMC to find out if a surgeon is on the plastic surgery specialist register.