Cosmetic surgery ad ban proposals broadly well received

Plans to limit the advertising of cosmetic surgery seem to have been generally well accepted by many medical negligence solicitors, amongst others.

The plans, contained in recommendations by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons [BAAPS], published in September, cover a range of proposed ad limits including limits on inducements for more surgery, [including “buy one get one free” offers  and loyalty cards] and an outright prohibition on any adverts of cosmetic surgery aimed at those under 18. BAAPS has an admirable history of opposing cosmetic surgery advertising, having previously recommended a complete ban.

Many medical solicitors share the concerns of Fazel Fatah, the current president of BAAPS, that some advertising “takes advantage of the vulnerability of people who seek surgical treatments for psychological reasons”. BAAPS had previously warned against, for example, the irresponsible trivialisation of cosmetic surgery and the setting of quite unrealistic expectations in TV “makeover” shows.

However some in the industry have expressed doubts on whether these sort of restrictions will actually achieve what they are set out to do – arguing that rather than looking at advertising, it should be the actual cosmetic surgery services themselves who need better regulation.

The calls for an advertising ban come on the heels of the recent PIP breast implant scandal [when the French government, amongst others, concluded that the material used in breast implants was not medical grade and poses a risk to health] – and on the back of which the UK government has recently ordered a review of the entire cosmetic surgery industry.

The fact of the matter is that this area is subject to a quite remarkable lack of regulation – a UK survey in 2010, for example, revealed that 70% of clinics offering cosmetic surgery were effectively unregulated. As a result cosmetic surgery negligence claims are sadly rife. It’s about time the government really took a good look at the whole cosmic surgery industry – and followed many of the recommendations made by the responsible plastic surgeons at BAAPS.

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