Doctors face being struck off for conducting cosmetic surgery such as breast enlargements if the procedures are inappropriately marketed. Guidelines for cosmetic work are to be introduced for the first time by the General Medical Council (GMC). The move coincides with a rise in women crowdfunding breast implants through a controversial website.
The new rules, written with the Royal College of Surgeons, will cover the marketing and funding of operations. Doctors found in breach “could find themselves in front of the GMC and potentially banned from practising”, the GMC said. Doctors will be told that they may not provide services as a prize nor use promotional tactics such as discounts or refer-a-friend offers that could encourage patients to make ill-informed decisions.
The rules follow a 2013 review by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS medical director, in the wake of a scandal over faulty Poly Implant Prothèse (PIP) breast implants that were prone to rupture . However, the need for guidelines has been reinforced by the number of British women using “sugar daddies” to fund their implants via myfreeimplants.com. The site allows women to send messages and post photos and videos of themselves in exchange for “donations”.
More than 5,500 people have donor accounts, 919 in Britain. Once women reach their target, the fee is paid to a surgeon, who may not know how the patient raised the money. Jay Moore, founder of the site, said this avoided any possibility of “fraud” if the money went straight to the patient. The site has been condemned as “degrading” and “inappropriate” by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. Since its inception in 2005, the site has funded 284 breast procedures in Britain. Some 561 UK clients are listed, a rise of 51% in a year. British women raised $247,000 (£168,000) in 2015.