Cosmetic Surgeons Must Be “Surgeons”, BAAPS Tells PIPS Enquiry

In short

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has made its submission to the two month long UK study commissioned in the wake of the PIP scandal. The measures proposed by BAAPS give the impression that the specialty is taking this opportunity to well and truly clean up cosmetic surgery’s act.


This particular study, undertaken by NHS Medical Director, Sir Bruce Keogh, was first advertised in the immediate aftermath of the PIP scandal and was charged with examining regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry in its entirety. As such it represented a far broader review of practices than would have been demanded by one manufacturer’s transgression, suggesting the cosmetic surgery industry was itself in need of a makeover.

When we covered the story back in January, Sir Bruce was saying that the scope of the investigation would include a review of regulation of dermal fillers and botox injections as well as focusing on the skills and qualifications of practitioners. And that’s how it has been progressing.

BAAPS, in its submission, has provided its own comprehensive hit list, which is a rather damning indictment of the pre-existing controls and forms a somewhat self-deprecating rewriting of the practice rulebook.  You can find the BAAPS submission here. In summary though, in a direct extract from the item on BAAPS’ own site, measures include:

  • the re-classification of dermal fillers as medicines
  • defining who should be allowed to perform cosmetic (surgical and non-surgical) procedures
  • establishing a compulsory register for practitioners
  • requiring surgeons from abroad to have UK-based indemnity insurance
  • severely restricting advertising
  • making legal claims histories part of revalidation
And following the Royal College of Surgeons’ recommendation, BAAPS argues that use of the word surgeon must be restricted to those who are on the specialist register for a surgical specialty.

Perhaps the only recommendation with a direct bearing on the PIPs case is the recommendation that the industry should operate an ABTA-style insurance scheme, which would have offered protection in the form of further treatment for patients who have a breast or other permanent implant in the event of product failure.

So the bottom line is that it looks like the specialty, under the interrogatory gaze of Sir Bruce, has taking a  long hard look in the mirror and decided it needs rather more than a nip and tuck. The BAAPS recommendations are hard to argue with, but it’s quite alarming that its taken the illegal actions of a rogue implant manufacturer to catalyse what looks increasingly like a radical reform of the cosmetic “surgery” industry.

Source: BAAPS