Leading UK surgeons call for ban on cosmetic surgery advertising

Leading plastic surgeons in the UK have responded to the current crisis in cosmetic surgery by calling for a ban on advertisements for all types of cosmetic surgery, including breast enlargements and tummy tucks. They say the industry is an under-regulated “wild west”.

The surgeons are members of the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), who work on reconstruction in the National Health Service and regularly perform cosmetic surgery in private hospitals. The group, based at the Royal College of Surgeons, has been concerned in recent years about standards in private cosmetic chains, which advertise aggressively in tabloids and women’s magazines.

They have called for a ban as part of a six-point-plan with proposals for tighter regulation of the industry, including registration and audit of surgeons. “Over the last decade the BAAPS has worked tirelessly to educate the public on the many aggressive marketing gimmicks that not only trivialise surgery but endanger the patient,” said the organisation's president Fazal Fatah.

“We have warned against the unrealistic expectations set by reality 'makeover' shows and against crass competition prizes promising 'mummy makeovers' and body overhauls. In no other area of surgery would one encounter Christmas vouchers and 2-for-1 offers – the pendulum has swung too far, and it is time for change.”

According to the BAAPS, nose straightening and breast enlargement are medical procedures, and advertising should be banned as for prescription medicines. BAAPS says there should be a register for all types of implants, not simply those used to enlarge breasts but also those inserted into the buttocks, calves, pectoral muscles and other areas. Widespread calls for a breast implant register followed the scandal of the PIP implants, which were made with industrial-grade silicone designed for mattresses. ~ Guardian, Jan 22; BioEdge, Jan 21

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