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It is important to think about having any form of cosmetic enhancement very carefully indeed. You must be totally honest with yourself (and your surgeon) about why you are considering surgery.

The decision to undergo surgery should not be taken lightly and if you do decide to go ahead, your treatment or surgery should be carefully planned.  It may help to look at some of the most frequently asked questions.

Q. How should I decide which surgeon to see and what credentials should I look for?

A key decision you have to make when thinking about surgery is the selection of your surgeon. How then do you go about your search and what should it include?

The first step is to make sure that, as an absolute minimum, your surgeon is registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). You can do this either by their website or phone 0845 357 3456, giving the surgeon’s forename and surname.  My GMC registration number is 2686181. You can search the GMC here.

Next, find out if your surgeon is on the Specialist Register and if the answer is yes, which one?  Entry onto this register shows that the doctor has gone through a lengthy training programme in a particular field of medicine or surgery. Again, you can do this through the General Medical Council. However, it is advisable to seek advice from your General Practitioner who will be able to put you in touch with a reputable surgeon for your chosen procedure.

Check that your surgeon is on the correct part of the Specialist Register for your procedure. In addition to surgeons on the Specialist Register for Plastic Surgery, other surgeons may be appropriately trained to perform cosmetic procedures, as long as the surgery is performed in an area in which they specialise.

FRCS (Plast) is the accreditation that proves that that a surgeon has completed plastic surgery training in the UK.

Make sure that you do not choose a surgeon based on qualifications alone. Experience and personal preference are very important too. You need to feel comfortable with your surgeon’s personal approach. Your surgeon should listen to you, understand what results you wish to achieve and address any of your concerns. If you do not feel comfortable with your surgeon, you should choose another!


Q. What questions should I ask at my first consultation?

It is advisable that you make a list of the questions you would like to ask before going for your consultation; that way, you will make sure that you cover everything you wish to ask. Taking a relative or friend along can be helpful too.  Don’t be shy or feel embarrassed about asking your surgeon questions.  A reputable surgeon will be more than happy to answer any queries and questions you have. 

Assuming that you have already done your homework about the surgeon, some of the following questions may be helpful for you.

  • Were you trained specifically in the field of plastic surgery?
  • How many years of plastic surgery training have you had?
  • How many procedures of this type have you performed?
  • Where will I have the procedure?
  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure; what results do you think you can achieve for me?
  • How will you perform my procedure and will I have to stay in overnight?
  • What sort of anaesthetic will I have?
  • Will I have a lot of pain and bruising afterwards?
  • What aftercare do you provide?
  • How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
  • What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
  • What is your complication and re-operation rate?
  • How are complications managed?
  • What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the outcome of my surgery?
  • Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at?

Q. How much contact, if any, will I have with my surgeon before surgery?

This does vary depending on the type of surgery you are considering.  However, the surgeon performing your procedure should offer you a thorough face-to-face consultation. Make sure that the first time you meet your surgeon is not at the doors of the operating theatre!


Q Where should I have my procedure?

You should check that the provider – the hospital, company or clinic – is registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which is the independent regulator of health services in England.

You can ask the provider to show you their registration certificate, or you can look it up on the CQC database of registered providers.  Hair and beauty salons are certainly no place for any sort of cosmetic procedure.  The CQC advises that you do not sign up for cosmetic surgery at a hospital or clinic that can't provide evidence that it's registered with them.


Q. What sort of prices can I expect to pay?

Prices do vary as both surgeons and hospitals/clinics can and do charge differently.  It also depends upon the type of procedure you are having as some procedures can be performed in the out patient setting whilst others will require a hospital stay.

Paying more for an operation does not guarantee that a surgeon is better qualified, or that you will receive a higher quality result. However, be wary of any establishment that appears in a rush to book you in for surgery, particularly if you are offered special pricing to commit to surgery straight away. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is!

You may find that some companies insist on a non-refundable deposit for your surgery. You may incur hefty financial penalties for cancelling your surgery should you change your mind. Do make sure you check out the financial implications of cancellation and read all the small print before signing anything.

Be clear on the price of any consultations you are going to have and also the cost of the surgery itself.  Check too that any price you are quoted covers the surgeon, anaesthetist (if one is required) and the hospital fee.  Take as much time as you need to decide whether to proceed with surgery; it’s a big decision. 


Q. How much does Mr Henley charge for a consultation?

The standard consultation fee of £195 includes any other pre operative consultations. Variable reduced rates for mini cosmetic and consultations for skin lesions available on request from Mr Henley’s secretary.

The first consultation is usually the longest. Successful cosmetic surgery begins with a thorough assessment of your health, in addition to your motivation and goals of surgery. If a doctor is willing to perform surgery without checking out your general health first, beware!

If you would like an estimate for the price of operation you are considering, my secretary will be able to provide you with this.  Should you choose to proceed with surgery, you will be given full details of any charges.


Q.  Will I have any scars?

Anytime there is an incision or cut in the skin, there is going to be a scar; there is no such thing as no scar.  However, the goal is to make any scar as small and discreet as possible. Plastic surgeons take great care with ‘sewing up’ the skin and are also good at hiding scars in places that you may not see. Be mindful though, however good the surgeon, scars are a natural part of the healing process.


Q. How long will it take my scar to heal?

Scars will heal rather quickly - within the course of a few weeks to one or two months - but you may not see final results from any cosmetic surgery treatment for up to a year.  Individual factors also influence how quickly your body is able to recover from a wound. Read more in Scars and Healing.


Q. Am I eligible for cosmetic surgery on the NHS?

Cosmetic surgery is rarely available through the NHS unless there is an overriding physical or psychological reason. 

If you think you may be able to receive cosmetic surgery funded by the NHS, you are advised to go and discuss this with your GP to see what is possible. They will be able to offer expert advice depending on the procedure you are looking to have, and refer you to a hospital specialist and Plastic Surgery team, if necessary.


Q. What is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure? Who can carry these out?

A non-surgical cosmetic procedure is one that includes treatments like botox injections or lip fillers; no surgery is involved. If you want to have a non-cosmetic surgical procedure, it is important to realise that these can legally be performed by registered practitioners who are not Plastic Surgeons and who may not hold any medical qualifications at all.  Anyone can set themselves up as a lip filler practitioner and as a result, young men and women across the country are being targeted online by amateurs advertising treatments on social media.


Q. Is there a “best time” to have cosmetic surgery?

Timing is very important.  Sometimes, people  consider cosmetic surgery as a way to cheer themselves up; this is certainly not recommended.  The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons ( BAAPS) advise that unless the circumstances are exceptional,  you should avoid surgery if you have recently experienced major life events such as moving house, changing job, losing a loved one, the break-up of a relationship or the arrival of children.

If you or someone close to you going through difficult times at the moment, you should very seriously consider postponing surgery until things have settled down. Patients who opt for surgery when they are feeling stressed or pressured with other commitments may experience a longer and more difficult post-operative recovery.

A good surgeon will talk to you about your mental health and wellbeing before agreeing to perform any form of surgical procedure and will not perform surgery if they believe that a patient can be helped to improve their quality of life and wellbeing more effectively through other means.


Q. I had surgery abroad, but am now having problems back in the UK.  Where can I seek help?

Complications following surgery are always a risk, especially if travelling abroad for treatment. Read more about this in the Blog.

As a UK resident, you are entitled to NHS treatment should you face any serious condition and illness as a result of surgery, regardless of where this has been performed.


Q. What can I do if I’m not happy with the result?

A reputable surgeon will offer you advice if you are not happy with the result of the operation so I would advise that you discuss it with the surgeon first.  If you don’t feel able to do this, take the matter up with the hospital or clinic where you had the procedure performed.  Most cases are usually resolved this way.  However, the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) say that if you are still not satisfied, you can take your case further. There are a number of bodies that may be able to  help you with your complaint, including:


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Get in touch to discuss having Mr Henley as your Consultant Plastic Surgeon