A rise in the number of people undergoing cosmetic surgery is putting pressure on GPs, especially if operations are botched, a poll out today suggests.
Three in five GPs have been visited by patients who have had unsatisfactory surgery while three in four feel poorly prepared to deal with increasing patient demand for procedures.
Over half of the 155 GPs surveyed by GP newspaper said the number of queries they received was increasing.
Reasons for surgery
But only some felt adequately trained to give information, with 21% telling patients to look on the internet and 59% telling them to ask private hospitals about surgery not offered on the NHS.
Almost two thirds said they would question patients about the reasons they wanted surgery.
Breast augmentation was by far the most common query reported by GPs, with questions about liposuction and tummy tucks also common.
Surgery on the face, like nose jobs and eye lifts, was the third most commonly reported query.
The poll also revealed that GPs are concerned about cosmetic procedures, with 79% preferring patients to consult them before undergoing surgery.
The poll comes after figures published earlier this month showed a surge in demand for some types of procedures.
The data, from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps), revealed that the number of women undergoing facelifts has reached a record high.
Last year, 4,238 facelifts were carried out on women – a rise of 37% on the previous year.
There was also a 61% rise in the number of men having tummy tucks, with 98 in 2007, up from 61 in 2006.
More men are also having breast reductions.
In 2007, there were 224 reductions on men, up 27% on the 177 figure for 2006, and 10 times the 22 carried out in 2002.
Meanwhile, the number of men having liposuction also went up 18% between 2006 and 2007.
Overall, 32,453 surgical procedures on men and women were carried out in the UK – up 12.2% on 2006, when 28,921 procedures were carried out.
Douglas McGeorge, president of Baaps and consultant plastic surgeon, said: ‘Although cosmetic surgery is being taught in more medical schools these days, perhaps older GPs may not feel adequately trained because it was not part of the curriculum when they began medical school.
‘The consumer watchdog Which? reported last year that only one in eight people visit their GP before deciding on cosmetic surgery, yet it’s mainly GPs that are being exposed to the aftermath of unsatisfied patients.
‘When people decide to travel abroad for surgery, for example, many are left with inadequate aftercare and it is left to the GPs to pick up the pieces and provide advice.’
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