Cosmetic surgeons call for surgery adverts ban

Ruptured PIP implant The PIP implants were made with low-grade silicone not meant for medical use

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Cosmetic surgery advertising should be banned and annual checks carried out on surgeons, the industry has said.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps) wants measures including increased regulation of the "cowboy" market in the UK.

Prof Sir Bruce Keogh is leading a government review of the trade after the PIP breast implants scandal.

Sir Bruce has said an insurance scheme for the sector, similar to that in the travel industry, could be introduced.

'Marketing gimmicks'

The government is also considering the introduction of a breast implant registry to make a record of all cosmetic operations.

Baaps said cosmetic surgery as a medical procedure should not be advertised, in the same way that the promotion of prescription medicines is banned.

Start Quote

In no other area of surgery would one encounter Christmas vouchers and two-for-one offers”

End Quote Fazel Fatah President, British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

Baaps president Fazel Fatah said: "Over the last decade the Baaps has worked tirelessly to educate the public on the many aggressive marketing gimmicks that not only trivialise surgery but endanger the patient.

"We have warned against the unrealistic expectations set by reality 'makeover' shows and against crass competition prizes promising 'mummy makeovers' and body overhauls.

"In no other area of surgery would one encounter Christmas vouchers and two-for-one offers - the pendulum has swung too far, and it is time for change.

"Thus we are delighted with the upcoming inquiry and put forward our realistic and achievable proposals for consideration by the government."

'Patient welfare'

The Independent Healthcare Advisory Services represents the cosmetic surgery industry.

Its director Sally Taber told the BBC that "this type of advertising has increased to an inapproprate level".

However, she added: "We do not agree that there should be a total ban on cosmetic surgery advertising.

"Advertising should be honest and ethical, in everybody's interests so the patient is aware of what is available.

"We have worked hard with Baaps to ensure there isn't this incentivised advertising."

The faulty implants were made by the now-closed French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP) and filled with industrial rather than medical grade silicone.

Some 300,000 of the implants were sold around the world, mainly in Europe.

About 40,000 women in the UK received PIP implants, with 95% dealt with by private clinics.

The government has said implants given on the NHS can be removed and replaced free of charge, and removed but not replaced if it was done privately.

Private clinics have varied in their response to whether they will remove the implants for free.

NHS medical director Sir Bruce said: "I am working with experts from the plastic surgery field to look at what we can do to make sure people who choose to have cosmetic surgery and other cosmetic procedures are safe.

"I will be looking at all aspects of regulation, at the regulation of implants and fillers, at whether the people who carry out cosmetic interventions have the right skills, at whether the clinics look after the care and welfare of their patients."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    What I hate most are the ads for breast enlargement that claim "the biggest change you will see is my on my face", basically claiming that your can't be happy/attractive unless you have large breasts. That is a dangerous myth. As someone who can't fill an A cup, I assure you that is not true.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    lets tax em 100% to start exempt if for genuine medical need if you are so vain pay for it not the rest of us when it goes wrong by the way can the government pay for me to have a holiday my last one was ruined

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    If you've saved the money to have cosmetic procedures done in the name of vanity in the first place you should save your OWN money to have it reversed.
    If a man bought a £150,000 sports car to augment his ego and it leaked like a sieve could he seek resolve using the tax payer?
    "There's only one thing they can't fix, and I won't let you be mislead, that's the hole in your head" (courtesy Anouk)

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Not all plastic surgery is cosmetic vanity (bigger b**bs, smaller nose). Victims of dog bites (topical), burns (remember Simon West?), cleft plate (the Smile program?), car accident facial damage, etc., all require necessary treatments. Banning the procedure is nonsensical – while advertising something one’s GP will tell you about happens anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Why is it that when something goes wrong, instead of dealing with the actual problem, the government deals with the one thing that had nothing to do with the PIP implants.
    This was a failure by a company that made a faulty product. This is not a failure of advertising.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Let this be a lesson to us all. Big b**bs does not a better person make, and actually they look very comical. Perhaps, along with the credit crunch, this issue will make people look how self centered and riduclous we became in the 90's and make us realise that there are more important things than cup size, and orange skin. What is inside is more important than the 'packaging'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    The whole affair regarding the PIP implants gives us an insight into how a privatised health service would look. I recall numerous posts in a previous discussion claiming that the private sector would deliver better standards. But look what happens when profits are under threat, no-one takes responsibility and the 'victims' are cast adrift by the culprits. Privatised health care? No thanks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    15. Peter_Sym
    #2 To use your TV analogy its as if Comet sold you a Sony TV which then turned out to be faulty... You take it back to Comet to be told that Sony have gone bust ...not Comet's problem.
    That's my point, but then you'd have to buy another TV at your cost. Either way, it's as I said, i.e. the Government would not have to buy you a new TV.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    If anything, the failure of some private cosmetic surgery groups to plan ahead for situations like these, and then to refuse corrective procedures to those needing them, should be a very strong warning against privatisation of the healthcare system more generally. Imagine if a private clinic used financial excuses to refuse to put right a faulty hip replacement or pacemaker...

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    Yesterday they allowed private companies selling abortions to tout for business on our TV's, today surgeons remind us that greedy businessmen stop at nothing to sell another boob job.
    BOGOF, today only, pick up the phone now and dial freephone 'Your Life in their hands', don't delay, act today.
    We live in a permissive society but we are in danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater..

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    @10.Johnn K
    "This is the end of the liberalism. Restrictions, decrees and dictates are coming."

    I've been suggesting this for some time now - people should wise up - it will only get worse. The longer it is allowed to go on, the harder it will become to unpick.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    I'm quite happy for advertising to continue, so long as the weak-willed and soft headed who fall for it (that's both males and females, folks) pay personally for all the consequences of their own naivety. Unfortunately that day will never come- as soon as it goes wrong, Joe Mug here will be expected to pick up the tab. How many tattoo removals on the NHS this year, I wonder? I'm guessing plenty.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    In some parts of the world you have surgeons earning obscene sums of money making obsessed people look obscure. In the rest of the world you'll have desperate people carrying their sick sometimes hundreds of miles to seek treatment. Ban plastic surgery, never mind the adds !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    #2 The PIP implants carried a european safety kite mark. To use your TV analogy its as if Comet sold you a Sony TV which then turned out to be faulty. You take it back to Comet to be told that Sony have gone bust and that as the TV had the european safety mark its not Comet's problem. Legally it appears the clinics don't have to change the implants although some are doing so anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Quite frankly these items should have been installed with a guarantee. The NHS should not be forced to pay for people's vanity, only where they have been installed as a result of necessary reconstructive surgery following necessary treatment. In case of malfunction then the NHS should remove them for the sake of the patients physical health but new ones should not be installed at taxpayers expense

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    I think it's a good thing that these sorts of procedures aren't trivialised, as they are at the moment. Breast augmentation, liposuction, tummytucks, etc etc, these are encouraged by many and regarded as healthy, self-affirming things to do. They are major operations, and it's sad to see a generation grow up with cosmetic surgery being labelled as a "treat".

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Baaps, really!? Did no one at the association think through this acronym!

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Thank goodness this issue is being addressed. Cosmetic procedures and 'having work' done are frequently referred to as though normal, and many older women who would never have considered such measures now feel they are an expectation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    This is the end of the liberalism. Restrictions, decrees and dictates are coming.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Someone had a mischievous sense of humour when they called their association Baaps. Had to be a man.


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