Cosmetic Surgery On The NHS

Is Cosmetic Surgery Available On The NHS?

Cosmetic Surgery is rarely available through the NHS. There has to be a dominant physical or psychological reasons for considering cosmetic surgery.The NHS will not pay for surgery for cosmetic reasons alone. Only in rare cases, the Primary Care Trust (PCT) may decide that cosmetic surgery is required in order to protect a person’s health. If you have been scarred or disfigured through an accident or treatment (as a result of a mastectomy for breast cancer, for example), or if you require surgery to repair or rebuild a part of your body that has been damaged by an illness the NHS will offer reconstructive surgery. Besides, teenagers who are suffering emotional distress because their ears stick out, for example, may also receive treatment. Reconstructive and cosmetic surgery to correct, or improve, congenital abnormalities and injuries will usually be carried out free of charge, as this is seen as ‘medically essential’. But if your reason for seeking Cosmetic Surgery is because you want a different nose, bigger breasts, smaller thighs or a flatter tummy just to improve your job prospects or because of fashion alone, you won't get them on the NHS.This is because the NHS only has a limited amount of money and this needs to be spent carefully so patients who need treatment don't lose out. Moreover, Cosmetic Surgery is seen as ‘elective’ surgery for aesthetic purpose; meaning it is something the patient has chosen to have as opposed to being necessary. And, because it is concerned with physical appearance, it is often treated as a ‘frivolous’ concern.

What Is The Standard Of NHS Surgery?

NHS Surgeons are highly qualified. NHS reconstructive surgery is performed by plastic surgeons who have had extensive training and belong to the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. Surgeons who carry out cosmetic surgery through the NHS also belong to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

What Do I Do If I Think That I Qualify?

If you can demonstrate a genuine ‘need’ then you may be able to have cosmetic surgery on the NHS; if not, then you will have to find a private clinic or hospital. Most private insurers, however will not pay out for cosmetic surgery.To receive cosmetic surgery from the NHS, you will normally need a referral from your GP. You will then have to have a consultation with a plastic surgeon and an assessment by a psychiatrist, or psychologist. It will then be decided whether or not there is the pivotal issues of having enough social, psychological, or physical benefit to be gained to justify the surgery. Your GP will be able to provide you with some general advice about surgery, as well as any specific issues that you should discuss with the surgeon. For example, cosmetic surgery is not recommended for pregnant women, people with certain medical conditions, or those taking certain types of medication.

Health Authority Guidelines For Qualification Of NHS Cosmetic Surgery

All health authorities have a strict set of guidelines which they have to follow, and these guidelines state that non-essential surgery such as a nose jobs or breast enlargements can only be justified in a few selected cases. There is a patient information leaflet about NHS treatment, which gives some examples of procedures carried by the NHS and also describes the assessment and referral process.

What Types Of Cosmetic Surgery Are Available Through The NHS?

The most common types of cosmetic surgery that are provided by the NHS are:
  • Breast Implants - as a result of severe underdevelopment or asymmetry (lop-sidedness),
  • Breast Reduction - as a result of back, or shoulder, pain
  • Nose Reshaping (Rhinoplasty) - as a result of breathing problems
  • Abdominal Surgery - for example, tummy tucks due to excess fat, or skin, after pregnancy, or essential abdominal surgery, and
  • Eyelid Reduction- as a result of affected vision.