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 228.

    I'd rather they ban abortion ads

  • rate this

    Comment number 227.

    At present we have a special offer on our body enhancement with 25% off the normal fees. Unfortunately we only have one left so will do a real good job with a balloon and some window sealant for the other side.

    Not really an appetizing advert if you knew what you were really going to get?
    Some in the supply chain needs taken to task over this.

    A class action for damages that takes their houses !

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    The reason the French govt is offering to pay to extract the implants (and replace them if they've been inserted after a mastectomy for cancer) is because they know full well that their very own health agency didn't recognise a problem with the implants for 10 years! The NHS is, likewise, responsible. Patients have to be able to trust doctors and Docs have to be able to trust medical equipment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 225.

    I would suggest the governing bodies of faulty/improper goods should be accountable for costs of the repair of consumers "medical apparatus".

    Here it is the French and British Governments who did not ensure medical devices were fit for purpose. They also gained very much financially (Taxes) for the services in working of supply fitting etc.

    Going bust is no excuse for lame governments laxity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 224.

    Strange. The French NHS immediately acted and promised the women concerned they would do all that was necessary.
    What a comparison with bureaucratic Britain.
    NHS ?? Don`t make me laugh!

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    It's called taking responsibility for selling crap and endangering health/lives.
    The main issue here is WHY is the NHS bailing out the private sector again? Would not a few LAWS in this area help - or are they all in cahoots.

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    Of course they should, why should the NHS support people's vanity?

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    Not only should the advertising be banned, I believe much of the surgery, itself, should also be banned

    ++ Maybe, but this biz is a lot more widespread than I thought. I shall inspect the merchandise carefully in future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    Now that people know that if the cosmetic service they buy is substandard they won't get any help from those who took their money and did the op then it sort of renders advertising pointless doesn't it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    Ads for cosmetic surgery should be banned wherever under 18's can access but I think they should still be able to advertise in adult-oriented magazines (not kid's magazines). However there MUST be more laws to make these companies behave ! They MUST replace any faulty equipment FREE of charge & they MUST sort out ALL health issues caused by any surgery.

  • rate this

    Comment number 218.

    I have been thinking more about this. Whilst I don't think there is a need to ban all advertising. I do not think they should be allowed to link cosmetic surgery with higher self esteem. I think it is wrong to advertise that a boob job can cure your insecurities, while for some people it may, for many councelling would probably bve more appropriate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 217.

    How about we all live in the 'real world'. We all get older, we have enormous experiences, we survive and then everything drops of goes south. Get over it.

    To address the subject- teach your children well. Tell them they are wonderful because they are.

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    Most car makers don't make their own consumables. You can't buy 'Honda' tyres (mine has Firestones BTW)"

    Whilst we may disagree which of Michelin, Pirelli or Goodyear is "best" we would agree they are in contention. But if my garage substituted "Evergreen" or "Matador" tyres for one of those, claiming they were "best" we would be outraged. That's what some clinics did here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    The wonder of Woolworths.
    Union sues administrator, tax payer get £67 mil. bill.

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    190. Peter_Sym

    Thanks for the link, but I was looking for something in support of your claim that France was not prepared to extradite child killers to the UK, which I simply do not believe In fact France will transfer suspects under a European arrest warrant, so no extradition request would be made by the UK. Try this link:

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    Breast surgery is only one type of plastic surgery and I believe the surgeons responsible for he work should be responsible for putting it right. I don't really believe in plastic surgery except in extreme cases ie cancer or injury. If one toy does not meet requirements they do not stop advertising on all toys, If a retailer sells anything and it causes injury he is responsible!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    Just recently, I had the tv on and I thought I recognize that voice ..its Jane Fonda. When I looked at the tv I thought OMG, she looks like everyone else - about 40ish (Hollywood style). She was flogging her book on the joys of getting older..she is 74. Wearing makeup, face lifts, jowl lifts and dyed hair...hmm Does she really know who she is? She/they are not important more to be pitied.

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    208.Jeff Martin-"In my opinion ALL advertising which exploits people's vanity should be banned... they shouldn't be encouraged. Ban the glossy magazines as well, they are the worst cuplrits for making people feel inadequte"

    Ban, ban, ban! - and when they do ban things it's 'police state', 'no democracy' etc

    Either we're responsible for our own choices or we're not

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    Ban them yes. And then all the ads for gambling followed by shutting down all the gambling channels on the TV. Even some national stations like ITV become just gambling channels very late at night! How did all this get approved...? Answers on the back of a plain brown envelope full of money please!

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    Some sort of central fund into which all private clinics pay a % of gross turnover is required. If there is a problem, even if a clinic has gone bust the fund will pay for the damage to be put right. It works for other professions and businesses

    Unless cosmetic surgery is done via a referral from a NHS doctor for health reasons the taxpayer should not have to pick up the cost of repairs.


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