Dr Pixie McKenna
“Credibility is key in this industry.”
Whether it’s to turn back the clock, boost confidence or finally get to grips with that embarrassing bodily part, aesthetic medicine is now mainstream in clinical practice.
Unlike conventional visits to the doctor, in this sphere of medicine, patients aren’t looking for a diagnosis, but rather an intervention. They have an agenda for change, and they understand it is a commercial market. For the first time in their lives they are consumers where healthcare is concerned. It’s an entirely different experience to the NHS and one that can be quiet daunting for some.
I welcome the freedom patients have to alter, enhance and update their appearance. Despite being a doctor for more than half my life, I am personally still terrified of needles and squeamish about procedures.
So, although I have been told countless times on social medial that I would benefit from Botox, a nose job and even a face lift, if I’m honest, the fact I’m such a bad patient just puts me off.
Don’t be embarrassed to have aesthetic surgery, but do talk to a GP first
That said, I totally understand the desire of many of my own patients, friends and peers to have, as they term it, ‘work done’. It’s nothing to ashamed or embarrassed about but equally, I feel it is always something worth taking to a healthcare professional about.
As a GP, I don’t sit there in judgement, but I do sit there as someone who can generally give you a good steer for the credentials of a clinic, so it’s always worth asking. Too many patients navigate this journey alone, encouraged and enticed by glossy brochures and bold claims. But ultimately, credibility is key in this industry.
It terrifies me when patients recount how they ‘shopped around’ and ‘got a great deal’ for their aesthetic procedure rather than how they researched thoroughly and got a ‘great doctor’. In medicine there is no such thing as a bargain, so one should always beware of offers that are too good to be true.
My golden rules for finding a good surgeon:
It is essential to look at the pedigree of the practitioner, see testimony of previous work and ensure the after care is as good as the intervention. With any medical procedure, things can go wrong, so there should always be a contingency plan.
For me there are a few golden rules. Do your research and always ask for case histories. Involve your GP where possible, in particular if you have any concerns. Ensure the after care is as good as the actual care. Check both the clinic and the clinician are fully registered and indemnified. And remember, what you want may not necessarily be what you need.
Your surgeon should be realistic about your expectations
If someone won’t treat you, it is highly likely they think you won’t get the outcome you want. That, to me, is the mark of good clinician; doing what you need not what you want.
Thankfully, the vast majority of clinics are heavily regulated, rigorous about upholding best practice and realistic when it comes to managing patients’ expectations. As a patient, if something doesn’t feel right, there is a high chance it is not right for you. Aesthetic medicine is all about choice and it is a very beautiful thing when it is done brilliantly.
Ultimately that’s what every patient deserves, and they should engage the best clinician to do a brilliant job. We need to keep our eyes open to not just the good, but also the bad and the ugly in this beautiful industry.
headshot photo: Louise Young