Quick fix cosmetic ops are the Wild West of medicine, says DR MAX THE MIND ...

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The 59-year-old Strictly judge took her decision after learning that implants can make the detection of breast cancer harder

The 59-year-old Strictly judge took her decision after learning that implants can make the detection of breast cancer harder 

Shirley Ballas’s decision to have her breast implants removed after 17 years seems entirely sensible.

The 59-year-old Strictly judge took her decision after learning that implants can make the detection of breast cancer harder.

Ballas, who has previously suffered a cancer scare, learned there was a history of the disease in her family while taking part in the BBC1 ancestry show, Who Do You Think You Are? in 2018.

She said she had the implants originally to combat ‘chronic confidence issues’ and, given the opportunity, I’d love to ask her if she felt her confidence improved as a result.

Ballas’s dilemma is a reminder of the risks — in her case, low level — some people will take for the sake of their appearance. 

A report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) this week said that a staggering one in five cosmetic surgery clinics expose their patients to harm.

They identified clinics offering unsafe facelifts, nose jobs, breast enlargements and weight-loss surgery.

Many used poorly qualified staff and/or cut corners on safety and infection control in order to keep costs low.

The report exposes a horrifying truth that cosmetic surgery is still the Wild West of medicine.

Every NHS doctor will have seen patients who are victims of poor care in the private sector — and this is especially true of the cosmetic surgery industry, here and abroad.

And given that it is no longer the preserve of the wealthy, with cut-price packages widely available, so the number of problematic cases — and fatalities — has increased.

I saw it myself while working in breast surgery: several cases of botched implants, and horrendous infections after patients had opted for private treatment. When things went wrong, the NHS had to step in.

Often, the private companies offering these procedures do not have the skill, resources or facilities to fix the problems they create — nor do some want to bother with them. Tight profit margins do not allow for complications.

Ballas’s dilemma is a reminder of the risks — in her case, low level — some people will take for the sake of their appearance. A report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) this week said that a staggering one in five cosmetic surgery clinics expose their patients to harm

Ballas’s dilemma is a reminder of the risks — in her case, low level — some people will take for the sake of their appearance. A report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) this week said that a staggering one in five cosmetic surgery clinics expose their patients to harm

So why do people still take the risk? It’s only human to want a quick fix to our perceived problems. And cosmetic surgery and anti-ageing procedures appeal in particular because, on the whole, they offer instantaneous results at affordable prices.

I have nothing against people opting for such treatments if they have realistic expectations about what they want it to achieve.

Yes, cosmetic surgery can make us feel better about ourselves and more confident, with a positive impact on careers, relationships and sex lives. But it would be wrong to think it held the answer to every problem we face.

For some, it’s not surgical intervention they need to make them feel better about themselves, but psychological help. Any honest surgeon will tell you that some of the patients they see are there because of family, relationship or emotional difficulties — the kind of problem no operation or injection can ever alleviate.

If you’re having marital difficulties, a breast enlargement might make your husband pay you more attention, but it’s not going to fundamentally change the nature of your relationship.

For those with underlying emotional or psychological problems, studies show that undergoing cosmetic surgery, in the belief it will make them feel better about themselves, can actually make them feel worse.

Patients focus all their hope on a life-changing result that will erase their problems — but when reality hits and they are no better, despair can kick in.

Such problems need to be addressed through talking therapies, rather than surgery. And interestingly, people considering surgery but who undergo talking therapy to address their feelings of low self-esteem first, often decide surgery isn’t needed after all.

I wonder what Shirley Ballas, a hugely talented and attractive woman who exudes confidence, would tell her younger self now?

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