It’s well known that gym membership signups spike at the turn of the year.
Although many patients make decisions over the Christmas period to proceed with plastic surgery in the new year, these decisions should not be influenced by gifts received over the Christmas period.
The “gifting” of plastic surgery appears to be an increasing trend that potentially exploits patients at a vulnerable time.
The increasing `commoditization` of cosmetic procedures, eg Christmas gift vouchers has also been highlighted by the Royal College of Surgeons and the General Medical Council. It is clearly stated that marketing must be responsible and must not trivialize interventions and must not exploit patients vulnerability.
This “gifting” trend is a concern for patient safety and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has cautioned the use of Christmas gift vouchers, denouncing them as a cynical marketing ploys.
Patients who receive plastic surgery gifts will have received them from someone on their behalf – whether it be a friend or family member. This is one of the fundamental problems with gifting as the motivation for the gift is propagated by the family member or friend.
All patients need to make their own decision of whether to proceed with plastic surgery and they must not be incentivized or influenced by others in making this decision. This self motivation for patients is violated by gifting and places patients under pressure to use these gifts and proceed with treatments. They may feel that if they don’t proceed that they will be insulting the person who has given them the gift.
All plastic surgery treatments have pros and cons and the risks of treatment need to be discussed prior to any decision to proceed. This discussion must occur between a suitably qualified plastic surgeon and the patient and should not be influenced by gift vouchers. The risks are rarely provided with the gift voucher and rarely will these plastic surgery gift vouchers be refundable.
Patients must make their own decision to proceed and must consult with a qualified plastic surgeon in order to determine whether plastic surgery is recommended and whether it can meet their expectations. Only after a detailed consultation can patients be empowered as to whether to proceed.
Those who feel that the provision of plastic surgery gifts / vouchers is a caring and worthwhile Christmas present need to be aware of the implications of their actions and that they may be actually harming those that they have gifted plastic surgery to.
Christmas is a time for giving and no harm is the best present that a family member / friend can give.