According to data from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), the number of cosmetic surgery procedures fell 40% in 2016. The reason? Many more “relatable” celebrities who are seemingly at home with their flaws. However, for many people cosmetic surgery remains a very attractive option, whether you’re considering a full procedure or a tweak like botox. If you’re keen to have cosmetic surgery, it’s important to make sure that you have all the facts – to ensure you don’t pay more than you need to, and to stay safe.
Cosmetic surgery – the options
If you’re looking at cosmetic surgery then there are two broad categories: surgical and non-surgical procedures. Non-surgical procedures are generally less invasive and are unlikely to require anaesthetic or a hospital stay. Surgical procedures are much more of a commitment. These are some common examples of the two:
Surgical procedures: breast enlargement/reduction, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, ear correction surgery, liposuction, hair transplant, eyelid surgery, facelift, labiaplasty, a nose job or surgical fat transfer.
Non-surgical procedures: botox, dermal fillers, microdermabraison, chemical peels, laser hair removal, skin lightening, tattoo removal or permanent make up.
The cost of cosmetic surgery
Some cosmetic surgery is available on the NHS, which means that there will be no cost to you. However, this is becoming increasingly unusual and generally requires a broader motivation than simply wanting to have fewer wrinkles or a smaller nose. Costs for cosmetic surgery can vary significantly, depending on where you are in the UK and the type of clinic that you choose. Research carried out by Private Health UK identified these average costs for some common surgical cosmetic surgery procedures in the UK:
Non-surgical procedures tend to be much cheaper and are much more accessible. Often, this is because they are administered by beauty therapists and not by doctors, nurses or trained clinicians. If you’re looking at non-surgical cosmetic surgery then these are some of the most common procedures, as well as the potential costs involved, according to the NHS:
Dermal fillers – £150 to £300 per session
Botox – £150-£350 per session, depending on the amount of product used
Chemical peels – £60 – £500, depending on the depth of the peel
Microdermabrasion – £60 – £80 per session
Laser hair removal – £40 – £400
Tattoo removal – £150 – £800, depending on the size of the tattoo
Where to get cosmetic surgery, the UK or abroad?
For anyone looking at either surgical or non-surgical procedures the choice of where to get the cosmetic surgery is often based on cost. Many people become cosmetic surgery tourists, travelling to other locations in order to access cheaper plastic surgery. And this is often worth it, as it’s possible to save around 60% on the cost of cosmetic surgery by choosing to go to somewhere outside the UK. The idea also appeals to many people because of the privacy element involved – the surgery can be scheduled into a holiday and no one needs to know. If you’re considering cosmetic surgery abroad then the NHS has these tips:
Find out how doctors and clinics are regulated in the country you’re thinking of, as well as how standards are enforced.
If you can’t establish that a surgeon is fully trained then it may be better to go elsewhere.
Make sure the surgeon speaks English so everything can be explained to you.
Look for feedback on the clinic and the service – social media can be a useful tool here.
What happens if things go wrong? Find out what insurance the clinic has and what local hospitals are like if there is a problem.
Look into aftercare – how will this be administered?
Cosmetic surgery – how to stay safe
There are always risks to any kind of surgery or operation and accepting these is part of the process of determining whether you’re ready for cosmetic surgery. There are also some key steps to take if you want to stay safe.
Consult the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners register – this is a new register aimed at those carrying out non-surgical procedures, such as botox and fillers. Currently, no qualifications are required to administer non-surgical procedures but anyone on this register must have had approved training.
If you’re having a surgical procedure then make sure the person who advises you about it is the person who will actually do the surgery.
Find out whether the clinic has insurance coverage in the event that anything should go wrong.
Check that the clinic is registered with the Care Quality Commission (the independent regulator of health services in England).
Visit the clinic and ask questions – for example, what kind of aftercare is there, what are the total costs involved and what happens if something goes wrong?
Search for feedback and reviews – many people who have had a bad experience with a surgeon or beauty therapist go online to share it. Search social media, Google and chat rooms and forums to see what you can find.
Amanda Gillam is Solution Loans's General Manager and has been since 2009. She is also a prolific writer on personal finance issues, and has been quoted numerous times in articles published on 3rd party websites and in press releases. Her...Read more about Amanda Gillam