You are here

Choosing cosmetic surgery

  • Public

If you're considering any kind of cosmetic surgery, you'll want to make sure you receive safe, compassionate and high-quality care. We've pulled together some useful tips to help you.

Check that the hospital or clinic you are considering is registered with us.

Find them using the search box at the top of this page, or or call us on 03000 616161.

If the hospital or clinic is not registered with us they may be practising illegally and their insurance may not cover them or you if anything goes wrong.

We regulate cosmetic treatments that involve surgical procedures.

By law, services have to register with us if they offer:

  • Cosmetic surgery that involves instruments or equipment being inserted into the body. This includes breast surgery, facelifts, buttock or thigh lifts, eyelid or brow surgery, nose surgery, tummy tucks or any procedure where an implant is used.
  • Laser lipolysis (such as Smart Lipo).
  • Refractive eye surgery or lens implant surgery.

We don't regulate:

  • Subcutaneous muscle relaxing injections that are used to improve appearance, like Botox®.
  • Subcutaneous injections of products such as dermal fillers.
  • Chemical peels.
  • Laser and intense pulse light (IPL) treatments like hair removal or skin rejuvenation.
  • Cosmetic procedures that don't involve cutting or inserting instruments or equipment into the body.

Ask your GP to give you a referral to a surgeon.

If you don’t want to involve your GP, make sure you search for a qualified and reputable surgeon that has been properly trained in the type of surgery you want.

Our inspection reports can help, but you should also check that they are on the General Medical Council register.

The hospital or clinic should offer you an initial consultation with the doctor who will carry out the procedure.

Take a list of questions to ask the doctor about the procedure, and don't be afraid to ask about their qualifications or expertise in the procedure – for example, how often they've performed it, what the risks are and how often complications occur.

Find out about aftercare.

Make sure that the hospital or clinic will provide the care that you need after the operation.

Make sure the hospital or clinic tells you how much it will cost.

By law, they must set out the full cost of the procedure in writing in advance.

Be wary of special offers.

Don't be tempted by deals urging you to sign up to a procedure immediately. Cosmetic surgery is a serious decision that needs proper consideration.

Read as much as you can about the procedure you are considering.

You need to be sure it's right for you and that you understand exactly what's involved. Make sure your information comes from a reliable source. For example, NHS Choices publishes information on different types of surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

If you have any concerns or worries about the care you experienced, tell the provider – but also tell us.

The information you give us helps us to monitor services and plan our inspections.

You can share your experiences on our website, by calling 03000 616161 or by emailing

Bear in mind that we don't regulate all cosmetic treatments – only those that involve surgical procedures.

Give it careful thought.

Cosmetic surgery should not be undertaken lightly and it's important to remember that all surgery, including cosmetic procedures, involves risks.


Last updated:
19 November 2015