19 September 2008

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has said that it is "increasingly concerned" by some clinics in the cosmetic surgery field using misleading sales techniques.

The association warned that such advertising strategies as using unrealistically-proportioned models and creating unrealistic expectations of what the capabilities of many types of surgery are.

Delegates in attendance at the BAAPS annual conference viewed a range of adverts by cosmetic surgery companies that involved questionable marketing techniques and have since criticised clinics over certain misleading advertising practices.

BAAPS is planning to launch its own advertising campaign in response to such practices, encouraging better cosmetic surgery choices for people considering treatment.

According to the BBC, BAAPS' president and a consultant plastic surgeon, Douglas McGeorge, said: "Surgery is a serious undertaking which requires realistic expectations and should only proceed after proper consultation with a reputable and properly qualified clinician in an appropriate clinical setting."

Speaking about the advertising problem, he added: "It is very difficult to regulate these adverts.

"We are particularly worried about younger, vulnerable readers of magazines who are being targeted very heavily."

Moves by clinics to promote good practice are welcomed by advertising regulators. Many clinics are part of the Independent Healthcare Authority code of practice states that marketing should be cultivated in order to avoid creating unrealistic expectations in patients considering surgery, including using real life models.

Former president of BAAPS, Adam Searle, told the broadcaster: "Plastic surgery, when used well, is the most powerful tool to improve patients' well-being.

"What it should not be used for is to make money.

"It is the patient who should benefit not the surgeon."