The Changing Face of Cosmetology in the UK

18th August 2015

Rhinoplasty, liposuction, abdominoplasty and otoplasty – these are just some of the 50,122 cosmetic surgery procedures performed in the UK last year, prompting the Department of Health to predict the value of the industry would rise to £3.6bn in 2015. Rather than turning their noses up at surgery, traditionally stiff upper lipped Brits are rapidly flocking to private treatment centres in their droves to have beaks straightened, flab sucked out and eyebrows lifted ... ... but at what cost?

Although the dangers of cosmetic surgery are well documented, recent research has revealed enquires into abdominoplasty – Britain’s fastest growing cosmetic surgery trend – have soared by 264 per cent in the past six months.

Brits Travel Abroad for Surgery

Coming in at around £5,500, this procedure is among the more expensive cosmetic surgery options, which is why the number of Britons undergoing procedures abroad has risen by 109 per cent in the past two years. Whether it’s a tummy tuck in Turkey or liposuction in Latvia, tourists are tempted by the cut-price procedures, with Eastern Europe – Czech Republuc and Poland, in particular – the largest hub for cosmetic tourism. However, it’s not without its risks.

Governance of Healthcare Professionals

While most of us expect to return from a trip abroad with nothing more than painful sunburn and an ill-advised sombrero, many patients experience a conveyor belt approach – rushed through the procedure without the proper consultation. Indeed, it’s also more difficult to gauge whether a doctor abroad is complying with the relevant professional standard, with the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps) revealing the number of patients reporting complications after treatment abroad is rising.

In the UK, of course, the performance of a surgeon is monitored closely, with routine training and independent yearly appraisals carried out to make sure patients are protected and given in depth explanations of the appropriate aftercare. 

Eliminating Healthcare Risks

Aside from the aptitude of their surgeon, though, patients must take into account other hazards. Not least the cleanliness of the clinic where they’re undergoing treatment, as the risk of infection is a tangible threat, especially when healthcare providers are not taking the requisite precautions to dispose of their waste properly.

Whilst it may sound inconsequential when patients are in for a simple procedure, the safe management of healthcare waste is vital to ensure the activities any healthcare provider carries out are not a risk to patients’ health.

This waste includes:

  • Human or animal tissue
  • Blood or bodily fluids
  • Excretions
  • Drugs or other pharmaceutical products
  • Swabs or dressings
  • Syringes, needles or other sharp instruments

In reality, most healthcare providers are teamed up with waste disposal experts, helping to slash the risk of infection after treatment, although bearing these dangers in mind is crucial before jumping into any cosmetic surgery procedure.

Non-Surgical Procedures

In an effort to sidestep some of these risks and defy the hands of time, then, a growing number of Brits are opting for a wide variety of non-surgical procedures carried out by highly qualified practitioners. From dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle muscle relaxants to laser hair removal and botox, this is an industry enjoying a remarkable uptick in recent years, as patients look to improve their appearance without the complications of invasive surgery. In fact, non-surgical procedures account for nine out of 10 procedures and 75 per cent of the market value, which has seen the demand for qualified professionals tasked with carrying out these treatments rise exponentially. Whatever way you slice it, however, it seems this thirst for cosmetic surgery will continue to grow, as practitioners from every corner of the country look to get their hands on a slice of this multi-billion pound pie.