Fiona Thomas spoke to aesthetic nurse Julie Brackenbury who said that “this level of service is quite common. ‘I often meet patients who are not only unhappy with results of treatments, but also the service they’ve received. ‘They often complain of feeling rushed into making a decision, of not being listened to, and ultimately finding their previous experience distressing. No patient should feel like a number or a sale.”
With celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and Lauren Goodger going under the knife or getting fillers on the regular, cosmetic surgery has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Surprisingly, there’s no legal age restrictions on non-surgical procedures and anyone can set themselves up as a practitioner to inject fillers due to lack of regulation in the industry.
I spoke to some people who have had cosmetic procedures and regretted it later. Catherine, a nurse from Glasgow, went to her dentist surgery to have Botox injections in her forehead after being given the recommendation by a friend. She was drawn in by the fact that the procedure was cheaper than a doctor she has previously visited, so decided to give it a go. After filling in her health questionnaire, Catherine met the woman who would be carrying out the procedure. ‘Whoever did it I presumed she was a dentist, but she wasn’t. So I’m not entirely sure of her qualifications. ‘Anyway she never talked me through it. I sat in the chair, she asked me to frown and then proceeded with the injections.’ Catherine says she wasn’t taken through any information about possible side-effects or post-treatment instructions and the woman ‘literally didn’t speak’ to her. I spoke to aesthetic nurse Julie Brackenbury who said that this level of service is quite common. ‘I often meet patients who are not only unhappy with results of treatments, but also the service they’ve received. ‘They often complain of feeling rushed into making a decision, of not being listened to, and ultimately finding their previous experience distressing. No patient should feel like a number or a sale.’ During the treatment, Catherine says she had already decided, ‘I’m definitely not coming back here’. She then waited a week only to find out that one eyebrow was raised higher than the other and had to go back to have it corrected by the same woman who offered no apology, chat or even reassurance that it could be fixed. ‘I didn’t know this could happen due to Botox’ says Catherine, but after a few weeks it went back to normal, although she has since returned to a qualified doctor for any future injections. Lucy, a 20-year-old student from north-east England, had three laser surgery sessions between the ages of ten and 11 to remove a birthmark from a small section of her back, although she now wishes she hadn’t.
The reason behind it was too adhere to the perfect look because I didn’t think it looked pretty and the birthmark made me feel ugly, She says the surgery was done in a bid to help her fit in, stop bullying and give her some self-confidence, but now she feels it wasn’t really necessary. ‘Overall, I do regret it because I no longer feel as though it impacts my life as I did previously. I now think that I should have waited until I was an adult like I am now so I could have made a rational decision.’ Claire is a 32-year-old credit controller who regrets having breast implants because of complications further down the line. Initially, the surgery had a major impact on Claire’s happiness and she was pleased that her previously small top-half was now more in proportion with the rest of her body. ‘I was body confident and filled my clothes out much better. As I am pear-shaped I was a size 10/12 on bottom and a small 8 on top. It also gave me the confidence to model and do promotional work.’ The PIP breast implants that she had were withdrawn from the UK in 2010 after it was found they had been fraudulently manufactured with unapproved silicone gel, and were far more prone to splitting than other types. Unfortunately Claire’s ruptured and she had them removed along with some breast tissue and lymph nodes. Claire is now trying to embrace her body as it is but she finds it difficult now that she has a new shape to come to terms with. ‘I am now left with very loose skin and barely any breast tissue as I had to have some removed as my implants had ruptured. I have also had to have lymph nodes removed and will have to have further surgery in the future to remove more. ‘Although now I am older and am a lot more body confident I really dislike my top half.’ Now that she has lost the shape that made her feel so confident, she would like to have more implants but she’s sceptical after her own personal negative experience, even though she used a well-respected practice with a great reputation. ‘This was reflected in the price and assured me they were using the best implants around. When I found out myself and thousands of other women had the PIP implants they pretty much shut up shop, changed their name and didn’t want to know.’ Claire says that anyone considering cosmetic surgery should be careful, as the after-effects can be dangerous: ‘I am now still left with industrial silicone floating around my body not knowing how it will effect me in years to come.’
Manchester-based plastic surgeon Gary Ross suggests how people can minimise the risk of regretting these procedures in the long term. ‘Surgeon selection is so important: it can be the difference between natural-looking great results and a disaster.’ Checking the credentials of your surgeon is essential, and can be done by reviewing the General Medical Council (GMC) register. The British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons only offer full membership to those who have completed their training and are on the GMC specialist registrar for plastic surgery. He says a good surgeon will always turn away a patient with unrealistic expectations and that it is ‘never recommended to copy a celebrity.’ Julie adds that it’s not just the surgeon’s skills that should be considered, but also the relationship you develop with them as a practitioner ‘Find a cosmetic expert you feel comfortable and confident with, and only undergo treatment if it’s mutually agreed by yourself and the practitioner that it’ll improve your self-esteem not decrease it.’
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