Top 3 steps before deciding on cosmetic surgery

1. Think hard

Whether or not to have cosmetic surgery is not a light decision and it is one that only you can make. Ask yourself exactly what it is that you do not like about that area of your body, in what way you would like it to be enhanced, and what impact you expect the change to have on your life. During the Cambridge cosmetic surgery consultation with Mr Tariq Ahmad, you will explore all of these matters. Patients who do not have a clear and specific idea of their dislikes and their hopes are more likely to be dissatisfied with the results, and to this end Mr Tariq Ahmad will only proceed when he is confident that his patients’ expectations are tangible.

2. Do your research

Make sure you that you are aware of what is involved, both in terms of the actual procedure and the recovery. There is risk attached to any kind of surgery and it is important that you understand what can go wrong. Discussing methods, aftercare and risks are all part of the cosmetic surgery consultation but you will get more out of it if you go prepared with a researched list of questions.

3. Know your surgeon

Find out about your surgeon’s qualifications, reputation and their experience. You need to feel confident that you will be in safe, skilled hands and that you are never hurried or pressurised into making a decision. Mr Tariq Ahmad sees all his Cambridge patients personally at the consultation stage. This is your opportunity to ask about his experience of the procedure, to see photos of patients who have previously undergone cosmetic surgery, and to talk at length about your expectations. Only through doing this can you make an informed and confident decision.

What's the difference between a plastic and cosmetic surgeon?

Many men and women who are interested in enhancing their appearance in some way or another become confused about what is exactly the difference between a plastic surgeon and a cosmetic surgeon.

Cosmetic surgery is defined as a procedure that alters the patient's face and body to achieve a more aesthetically-pleasing appearance. It is deemed as elective surgery because there is no medical need for the patient to undergo this procedure.

Plastic surgery is very different. In the UK, the Royal College of Surgeons lists ten different specialities. These include general surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery, otorhinolaryngology, also known as ENT or ear, nose and throat surgery, paediatric surgery, plastic surgery, trauma and orthopaedic surgery, urology, oral and maxillofacial surgery and vascular surgery.

The majority of the surgical disciplines are confined to a particular part of the body, but plastic surgery is one of the few specialities which is constrained to no clearly defined part of the face and body. A plastic surgeon such as Cambridge-based Mr Tariq Ahmad is skilled in operating on all areas of the face and body.

What is a plastic surgeon?

Plastic surgeons are also known as reconstructive surgeons as they work with patients whose appearance has been transformed as a result of injury, trauma or disease. For example, burns victims. Obviously, the aim of the surgery the perform for these patients is partly functional but it is also to improve the appearance of the patients. However, this is not elective in the way that cosmetic surgery is, but it is seen as a necessity as it improves that patient's quality of life.

In terms of the title cosmetic surgeon, this is just a title that has become adopted by the media to make a differentiation with the reconstructive and aesthetic work done by plastic surgeons. The title cosmetic surgeon doesn't mean anything – a general surgeon could call themselves a cosmetic surgeon and it doesn't mean they have completed the many years' training that a plastic surgeon has to undergo.

Checking my cosmetic surgeon's qualifications

Cosmetic surgery can even be performed by a doctor or dermatologist. Always ensure that your cosmetic surgeon is a plastic surgeon who is or has held a consultant-level position in the NHS as a plastic surgeon. Mr Tariq Ahmad is a consultant plastic surgeon in the NHS in Cambridge as well as operating privately from all the top private hospitals in the Cambridge area.

What should I expect during a cosmetic surgery consultation?

If you are at the stage that you are having a cosmetic surgery consultation, then this is obviously something you've thought about very carefully and you probably have already done lots of research in advance.

Certainly, the first thing you should expect during a cosmetic surgery consultation is to see the plastic surgeon who will be carrying out the procedure. Beware any clinic or plastic surgery chain that offers you a consultation with a plastic surgery co-ordinator. These are basically sales reps and, therefore, their main objective is to move you to the next stage.

Mr Tariq Ahmad always sees patients personally at his Cambridge cosmetic surgery clinic and his aim is never to encourage you to have unnecessary surgery. If he doesn't feel that you need surgery or that you have unrealistic expectations about what can be achieved he will advise you to reconsider your decision.

Ascertaining whether you have realistic expectations is of primary importance to Cambridge-based plastic surgeon Mr Tariq Ahmad. If you don't have realistic expectations then you will never by satisfied with the results of the procedure however successful they are.

To this end, Mr Tariq Ahmad will ask you a number of questions on your reasons and motivations for undergoing this procedure and for you to be able to give a clear and definite appraisal of exactly what is bothering you about your appearance and what you hope to achieve from surgery.

Questions you should ask in your Cambridge cosmetic surgery consultation

Mr Tariq Ahmad will have a number of questions for you, but a cosmetic surgery consultation is also the opportunity for you to ask the questions that are important. It can often be a good idea to prepare them in advance as it can sometimes be overwhelming when you're actually in the consultation.

The kind of questions that it is important to ask Mr Tariq Ahmad when you go for a consultation at his Cambridge cosmetic surgery clinic include: what qualifications do you have, what experience do you have in this particular procedure, how would you deal with any potential complications if they occur.

It is also a good idea to ask to see before and after photographs of patients who have undergone a similar operation to you so you can get a very clear idea of what results you will be able to achieve.

The most important thing to expect during a cosmetic surgery consultation is not to feel rushed or pressurised – Mr Tariq Ahmad always ensures his Cambridge cosmetic surgery patients have all the time needed to get the information they need to make this important decision and he offers secondary consultations if necessary.

Top questions to ask in your cosmetic surgery consultation

A consultation for any surgery procedure can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming and that can be even more so for a cosmetic surgery procedure where you're entrusting your surgeon with your appearance.

Being well-informed and asking the right questions increases the chance that you will be satisfied with your eventual results.

So, what are the most important questions you should be asking of your plastic surgeon in particular?

What qualifications and experience do you have?

You should be seeing a consultant plastic surgeon that has the qualification FRCS (Plast). All surgeons will have the letters FRCS after their name – it stands for Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons – but the Plast indicates a higher qualification in plastic surgery.

What professional memberships do you hold?

There are a number of independent plastic surgery organisations in the UK and their aim is to improve standards of plastic surgery in this country. To that end they do safety audits of their members and it can be a helpful indication of your surgeon's capabilities.

The organisations to look out for include the British Association of Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS). Cambridge cosmetic surgeon Mr Tariq Ahmad is a member of both these organisations.

Where will you carry out the procedure?

Your surgeon will usually have operating rights at a number of private hospitals and it is worth checking the standards of the particular hospital where the procedure will be carried out. This also will extend to the medical team that back the surgeon up. Mr Tariq Ahmad carries out cosmetic surgery procedures at all the top private hospitals in the Cambridge area.

What other cosmetic surgery questions should I ask?

There are also a number of questions that you should ask about the specific procedure that you're about to undertake. Cambridge cosmetic surgeon Mr Tariq Ahmad has produced a list of frequently asked questions for some of his most popular cosmetic surgery procedures.