As more and more people use cosmetic surgery to improve their bodies and faces, the General Medical Council (GMC) is urging plastic surgeons to give their patients more time to think.
The British medical charity declared in a press release last week that “doctors who carry out cosmetic procedures must allow patients time to think before agreeing to go ahead with treatment.” It also set out new standards for UK cosmetic surgeons.
One of the GMC’s key points is that they want to prevent plastic surgeons from pressuring their customers into an irreversible surgery. This pressure can include positive inducements such as “buy one surgery, get another free” offers.
Cosmetic surgery has continued to grow worldwide, with procedures such as varicose vein surgery and Botox becoming standard over the past few years despite economic troubles. In the United States, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that there were 15.6 million cosmetic procedures in 2014, a 3 percent increase from 2013.
But in the United Kingdom, concerns about cosmetic surgery continue to linger from the earlier Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) breast implant scandal. PIP was a French breast implant company which used substandard silicone to manufacture their breast implants. These implants carry a risk of rupture which would harm their patients, which includes over 47,000 British women.
As a result, cosmetic surgery rates and breast implants in particular fell in the United Kingdom in 2014. Cosmetic surgical procedures were down 9 percent and breast implants down 23 percent.
But while the General Medical Council claims that these new procedures could help restore confidence for cosmetic surgeons, some plastic surgeons say that they already give patients a 2-week waiting period.
The United Kingdom is not the only country which has proposed waiting restrictions on cosmetic surgery. In March 2015, the Medical Board of Australia proposed that adults would have to wait seven days between consulting their practitioner and undergoing the procedure. They also recommended that teenagers, who are using plastic surgery more than ever, should have to wait three months.
The final GMC guidelines are expected to be ready by 2016.