Well, a while back I was asked a question by a prospective patient: “What is this BAAPS malarkey? Why should I see a BAAPS surgeon?”, she added.

I was a little surprised and asked her to explain why she had asked that question.

She said that while she was researching her procedure on the internet she came across recommendations that she should seek out a BAAPS or BAPRAS member surgeon. She then went on to make appointments at a number of well-known cosmetic surgery companies.

To her surprise, when she asked if their surgeons were members of BAAPS and/or BAPRAS she was told they weren’t and was given reasons like “our surgeons are cosmetic surgeons and don’t need to be members, anyone can be a member” or “anyone can pay the fees and be a member, it’s a money making scheme”.

Well I wasn’t surprised. Those providing this information are outright liars. These are the companies who employ FIFO surgeons (fly-in fly-out) and are well known for using poor quality (cheap) implants then refused to look after their patients when the implants failed. They changed their company names and hid behind legal barriers. It is shocking that the public is being misinformed in this way.

The fact is that BAAPS and BAPRAS are based at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, representing only fully trained Consultant Plastic and Aesthetic Surgeons. To be a member of BAAPS or BAPRAS, it takes 10 to 15 years of blood, sweat, tears and hard work, with a proven track record, as well as passing a series of tough exams [FRCS (plast)] in Plastic and Aesthetic surgical skills. No-one can become a member without undergoing rigorous training.

These associations also ensure their members follow protocols designed to protect patients.

Let’s face it, you wouldn’t let a plumber fit your gas boiler who isn’t CORGI registered! So why would you let a surgeon perform cosmetic surgery on you when they are not members of BAAPS and/or BAPRAS?

When considering any sort of aesthetic surgery, one should undertake careful research into the procedure, the qualifications of the surgeon and the reputation of the company. Whilst the cost of the procedure is important, it should not be the primary factor in making the decision about your choice of the surgeon and the company. Your health and safety must be the primary factor when making the decision.

Mr Rizwan Alvi is a Consultant Plastic Surgeon based in Liverpool and consults from Sthetix Clinic.