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Cosmetic surgery

Nobody's perfect, but everyone wants to get that way, especially when it comes to their appearance. In the pursuit of getting the perfect look, many men and women are turning to cosmetic surgeries. From getting a trimmer waistline through liposuction to reducing excess skin from the upper and lower eyelids with blepharoplasty, people are more than willing to go under the knife to achieve what they perceive to be a more desirable look. The popularity of cosmetic surgery has increased tremendously in the past few years and has now reached a stage where there are around 100,000 procedures done each year in the UK alone.

But the perfection-seekers often forget to see the seedier side of the booming cosmetic surgery industry. All the lifting, reducing, sucking out and filling in aren’t without side-effects. We hear about cosmetic surgeries going wrong all the time. A little nip or tuck has also gone wrong for many Hollywood stars including Lindsay Lohan and Megan Fox. It has been estimated that up to 50,000 women in the UK may have defective breast implants. All these facts raise a common question – How safe is cosmetic surgery?

According to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), in charge of regulating the cosmetic surgery industry in England, cosmetic surgery, like any other surgery, involves risk. Problems related to anaesthesia, infection at the incision site, mild bleeding, scarring, numbness, and tingling are some of the common complications of any surgical procedure.

Risks and complications in popular cosmetic surgeries

Some popular surgical procedures carry inherent risks. A facelift can lead to a shift in hairline, bleeding, swelling and bruising. In rare cases, it can even lead to facial nerve damage. Blepharoplasty (eyelid correction) can result in blurred vision, excessive tearing, dry eyes, redness and in rare cases blindness. One of the most popular cosmetic procedures, breast augmentation, can lead to infection, loss of nipple sensation and visible indentation in the skin due to the dislocation of the implant.

Breast reduction surgery can lead to wound healing problems, excessive scarring, loss of nipple sensation or even a loss in the ability to breast-feed. Procedures like liposuction and tummy tucks can cause contour irregularities, indentations, uneven areas and seroma. After tummy tuck, you can gain more in those areas that have not gone under the knife.

How to avoid these risks?

Fazel Fatah, the president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), which represents most cosmetic surgeons in the UK, believes that a patient needs to weigh-up the benefits against the risks before going under the knife. Although the safety standards have improved significantly over the past few years, patients should be fully informed of the limitations and risks of any procedure.

Choosing the right surgeon is very important. You must ensure that healthcare professionals carrying out the procedures are qualified and experienced to conduct the surgery. Ensure that your cosmetic surgeons should be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC).

Beware of ‘free’ consultations as no cosmetic surgery comes for free. Also avoid travelling long distances or overseas for any surgery as safety standards are not the same in all countries and even after-care becomes hard.

Remember undergoing cosmetic surgery is a serious commitment and results may not be according to your expectations. So before you take a decision to go under the knife think long and hard about it and take all risks under consideration.