Few people ask GPs for cosmetic surgery adviceSurvey finds only one in eight consult their GP

15 May 2007

 

Woman preparing for cosmetic surgery

Always check the person carrying out your treatment has the right qualifications and experience

Only around one in eight people consult their GP before deciding to have cosmetic surgery or treatments, new Which? research reveals today.

When we interviewed people who were considering or who had already undertaken cosmetic treatment, we found only 15 per cent of people who were planning surgery, and just 11 per cent of those who’d already had it, had consulted their own doctor.

People were more likely to have asked friends and family, or to have relied heavily on the internet and magazines, which carry much more advertising than impartial information.

Of those who did visit their GP, four in five found it helpful and three in four found the advice balanced. Of those who had visited their GP and then had surgery, three in four said their GP's advice proved to be accurate.

Online cosmetic guide

Which? has set up an online guide to provide impartial advice so doctors can refer their patients to it and people thinking about cosmetic treatment can fully research their decision.

Which? health campaigner Frances Blunden said: 'It is quite shocking that people will trust adverts in magazines but won't consult their GP before they decide to have cosmetic treatments. It's not a decision to take lightly, particularly as, in some cases, people will undergo a major operation which obviously involves risks that should be talked through with their own, impartial doctor first.

'We've set up an online guide where people can get down-to-earth advice about different cosmetic treatments - what they involve, what the medical terms mean, and what the risks are. We hope that GPs will refer their patients to this site as well.'

Our online guide covers the most popular procedures and their risks. It also includes how to check out clinics and surgeons before committing to anything, situations when people should simply ‘walk away’ and what to do if something should go wrong.