Patients seeking plastic, cosmetic (aesthetic) or reconstructive surgery should always check to see if their doctor is qualified to perform plastic surgery.

In Ireland, just about anyone with a basic medical degree is allowed to perform cosmetic surgery. Hard to believe, but currently there is no legislation in place that prevents any doctor, even your local GP, without having undergone formal surgical training to call themselves a ‘surgeon’.

Your only safeguard is to look for the letters FRCS (Plast) with a doctors name and check that they are affiliated with the Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons (IAPS), as only fully qualified plastic surgeons have these titles and memberships. Only after surgeons have completed extensive higher surgical training (six years) in Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, specialist examination (FRCS Plast) and in-service assessments by the Royal College of Surgeons are they eligible to be entered onto the Irish Medical Council’s specialist register.

In other European countries, such as France and Denmark, there are clear legal guidelines that state what type of surgery can be performed and which practitioners can offer what type of services. These were developed, in the interest of patient safety, after years of misleading advertising, inaccurate website claims and unsubstantiated claims of success by non-specialist doctors and commercial clinics in those countries.

Check www.plasticsurgery.ie for a comprehensive list of all accredited plastic surgeons. Choose wisely. Protect yourself.