Massive rise in demand for cosmetic procedure consultations

UK cosmetic surgeons see massive rise in demand for online consultations but urge caution.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS)  has reported a “massive upswing” in demand for virtual consultations during lockdown, calling it a “Zoom Boom.”

Whilst the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns have affected many industries, and have meant that planned cosmetic procedures have been unable to go ahead, it would appear that cosmetic surgery patients have still been researching and looking for procedures during their time at home.

In information released today, reports show that there has been a universal surge in surgeons offering virtual consultations, with some BAAPS members seeing a staggering 60-70% rise.

While being able to communicate with patients and carry out consultations online has been a welcome addition to many surgeons’ practice, the association is urging the public to be cautious and vigilant and to seek quality advice to ensure their safety is a number one priority.

Rajan Uppal, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS member, says:

“There are clear advantages to doing a video consultation, including the fact that you do not need to take a day off work to see your doctor and do not need to find the clinic and make your way there.  A video consultation can also be organised much more easily than a face-to-face consultation with most clinics and surgeons [and] some patients are more likely to book a video consultation rather than actually go and see a surgeon face-to-face in the first instance.”

With the increase in flexibility to speak with surgeons or cosmetic doctors, BAAPS is warning people to look out for surgeons who may not be qualified or experienced.

BAAPS urges patients to find a surgeon who is registered and has all the appropriate qualifications, including having the letters “FRCS plast” after their name. Surgeons who are members of professional organisations, such as BAAPS, will also be audited annually and held accountable when it comes to maintaining their knowledge and training.

In addition, BAAPS encourage people to consider digging deeper into any online reviews, asking for real-life case studies and always asking the surgeon or consultant about their privacy.  Often, consultations will involved exposing intimate areas of the body – and these can often be photographed or filmed for the doctor to refer to at a later date.  It’s essential to understand their practices around such private content.

Dan Marsh consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS Honorary Secretary says,

“The issues that need to be discussed about virtual consultations include confidentiality, whether they are recorded and if there is a chaperone present for undressing to show intimate parts of the body. Please check the privacy and confidentiality statements on the website of the clinic or surgeon that you are seeing. The video consultation should be followed by a clinical examination face-to-face before planning any surgery. There also needs to be a 14-day cooling off period which can tie up with the 14 days self-isolation required currently.”

BAAPS says, the prevalence of coronavirus has made patients cautious in going to see a surgeon in a hospital. Although there is some uncertainty as to the safety of having surgery, reputable clinics and surgeons will have established protocols in place developed along national standards which will protect patients and staff.

In many cases this will involve a period of isolation before surgery and taking nasal swabs two days before an operation, although protocols differ in different regions of the country. Surgeons may also be tested themselves to make sure they are not infected with the virus.

BAAPS encourages everyone who is considering plastic or cosmetic surgery to ask what the protocols are in place with your individual surgeon and to check those with second and even third opinions where possible.

Photo by Allie on Unsplash

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