Many LGBTI people turn to cosmetic procedures to preserve and enhance their natural looks.
The truth is, however much care we take of our bodies, we may well need help to maintain them to keep them the way we want them. And LGBTI people often tend to set very high standards for themselves, after all.
Because your body is important, you need to know how to get the right care and realistic advice. Here are the nine things you should consider before you even think about making a decision.
Are they qualified?
Is the surgeon, cosmetic doctor or nurse practitioner and the clinics they work from fully qualified and registered? EG, depending on their qualifications, if it’s the UK, they should be registered with the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) General Medical Council (GMC) British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN) and the clinic itself should be registered with the Care Quality Commission.
How many times have they carried out this procedure before? Are their patients satisfied? Ask probing questions about their experience and expect answers.
Get a personal recommendation
This will tell you not only about the results you may achieve but just as importantly about the level of care you’ll receive. A friendly recommendation doesn’t save you having to do your homework but can be very reassuring.
Do they offer good advice?
You should always have a full medical consultation before agreeing to undergo any cosmetic procedure. Does the practitioner explain clearly what is going to take place and give you a clear indication of the expected outcome of your results?
Do you actually need what is being offered? For example, not many people realise you can achieve great results on fat-loss, including in hard-to-target areas, through something like Coolsculpting, freezing the fat away.
I admit, we are Coolsculpting experts so I am a proponent of it. But my point is you don’t necessarily need painful, invasive operations with long recovery time – there are alternatives.
They should leave you with a sensible expectation – not that the finished result will be perfection but that it will be an achievable improvement.
What products are they using?
If they are injecting dermal fillers, muscle relaxing injections or similar, what product is going to be used? Is it CE marked to conform to relevant EU health and safety or an FDA approved medical device as a recognised global certification? Are they using permanent or semi-permanent dermal fillers? How long will the improvements last for? If in doubt, check that what they are using is safe.
Ask for ‘before and after’ photos
This will give you an idea of the treatment results you can achieve and what you can’t achieve. If they aren’t happy to show you their own before and after pictures and case studies, that’s a warning sign.
What care will you get?
You will want to be looked after before and during any cosmetic procedure you have. But remember you may need aftercare on some treatments – even if things go smoothly. And some procedures require several treatments over a course of weeks or even months.
What happens if there’s a problem?
Most cosmetic procedures from qualified practitioners at registered clinics are safe. But there can be risks, however small. Do you fully understand what could go wrong?
If so, what would their responsibility be? All practising cosmetic medical professionals and indeed the clinics should be properly insured – that’s something else you can check.
Is going abroad right for you?
Tourism for cosmetic procedures is big business and works fine for a lot of people. But it’s important to be cautious.
Standards of care, qualifications, registration and more may not be the same as in your home country and it can be hard to work out what is good and not.
Also, it is harder to go for a consultation and then make a level-headed decision about the procedure in the cold light of day.
Finally, follow-up treatment and care can be difficult and very expensive if you have to fly to another country each time. In a worst-case scenario if something went wrong, could you afford to fly there again?
Is it too cheap?
Don’t be lured by bargains.
Check the cost of the treatment and be clear what is included and what is not. But avoid cut-price deals, special offers or bargains.
These can be particularly dangerous when they have to be used by a certain time as they rush you in to making a decision. They may not be medically appropriate.
It’s your body so it’s always better to be safe than go for cheap options.
Dr Tracy Mountford is the founder and Medical Director of The Cosmetic Skin Clinic with clinics in both Buckinghamshire and on Upper Wimpole Street in London. Find out more here.
Full disclosure: The Cosmetic Skin Clinic is a client of Gay Star News.