Mr Banwell talks to BBC News


By Michelle Roberts,  Health Reporter – BBC News

GPs should not refer women who are well but worried for female genital cosmetic surgery on the NHS, say experts.

Specialists at a Central London teaching hospital say they received 30 such referrals, mainly from family doctors, over the past three years.

This included eight schoolgirls – one as young as 11 – the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology reports.

Experts say doctors need clear guidance on how best to care for women who mistakenly believe they need surgery.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons says medics need to determine whether a problem exists or whether an alternative solution may be preferable, but offers no advice on how to judge the problem, say the researchers from University College London’s Women’s Health Institute.

They say it may be simpler to ban the procedure in the NHS altogether, leaving it to private practices. Some Primary Care Trusts do this.

And private provider BUPA says the procedure is purely cosmetic and does not offer financial cover for the procedure.

The NHS has no such restriction.

The experts who carried out the latest work said: “A private medical insurance company seems to be able to come to a conclusion when professional bodies are reluctant to act.

“National care standards are urgently needed.”

Boom industry

Dr Sarah Creighton and colleagues believe the future demand for so-called “designer vagina” operations or labial reductions is potentially infinite and is driven by society’s wider and growing desire for cosmetic surgery in general and changing expectations about what is a desirable appearance for women.

“It’s shocking, particularly because we are seeing girls who are really young. They are asking for surgery that is irreversible and we do not know what the long-term risks of the procedure might be.”

She said latest figures for England show about 2,000 of the procedures are paid for by the NHS each year.

“That’s probably just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a massive boom industry in the private sector.”

For the study, they reviewed all 33 women referred to their clinic between 2007 and 2010 with requests for a labial reduction.

Most of the women were seeking help because they were concerned about appearance. Only a fifth wanted the surgery to reduce discomfort. One woman said she felt compelled to have the surgery after seeing a television programme on cosmetic genital surgery.

“If the concerns are aesthetic, that should probably be seen in the private sector”

A third of the women said they had looked at advertisements about the surgery before seeing a doctor.

Upon examination, all of the women were deemed to have “normal” genitalia by the doctors. But three were offered surgery to address “significant asymmetry”. The remaining 30 were refused any procedure.

All of the women were offered the options of sessions with a clinical psychologist to explore issues leading to their request for surgery.

Twelve of the women said they would be seeking a second opinion and would consider going private to get the surgery if they still could not get it on the NHS.

Paul Banwell, of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said the operation was merited for some women, particularly those with functional concerns like discomfort.

“But if the concerns are aesthetic, they should probably be seen in the private sector.”

He said he often dissuades patients from having the surgery and explains to them that there is a spectrum of ‘normality’ when it comes to female anatomy.

“We welcome the opportunity to be involved in suggesting guidelines and help for healthcare professionals seeing patients who are interested in labiaplasty.”

Permanent dermal fillers… are they safe?

“Permanent fillers have long been the subject of controversy, especially in the consumer press where stories of cosmetic treatments gone wrong dominate the headlines. TV star Lesley Ash became the poster child for what can go wrong when someone has a permanent product injected into their face. Tabloid stories about her now famous trout pout and the widely publicised ITV documentary she made last year very publically highlighted the risks and emotional side effects patients can experience when having a cosmetic procedure that they are stuck with for life.

But are permanent fillers really that bad? Many practitioners say that with the right product, in the right hands, permanent fillers can give fantastic and long lasting results which mean patients don’t have to come back time and again for repeat injections. But are the benefits worth the risk if something does go wrong or are you opening up a potential can of worms if you choose to inject a permanent filler?”


For more information on what cosmetic procedures are right for you, contact us at 0845 2600 261.

Genuine Dermaroller

Mr Banwell notes the article from ‘The Daily Mail’ on the danger of using any ‘microneedling’ products other than the Genuine Dermaroller. 

“The Microneedle Therapy System has been hailed by many in the beauty industry as a short cut to younger-looking skin – so it is little surprise that it has taken image-conscious Hong Kong by storm.

But the city’s Consumer Council today issued a warning about the treatment following a series of serious complaints.

The procedure, which is not for the faint-hearted, involves the face being covered with topical anaesthetic before it is massaged with a needle-studded roller – a process believed to improve collagen-production.

Though many have raved about impressive results, the organisation said that it had received 43 reports of bad reactions to the microneedle, such as deteriorating skin condition.

It said that there was no scientific basis to the treatment, and warned that the device was potentially lethal.

The Consumer Council added that beauty salons’ efforts to sterilise the Microneedle rollers between clients were often inadequate, posing risks such as HIV and hepatitis.

Publicity and community relations officer Philip Leung Kwong-hon told the South China Morning Post: ‘It is unwise to risk your life for a prettier appearance.’

But beauty salons offering the treatment say that the warning is unlikely to affect demand, which continues to be strong.

Samantha Ku Ka-yin, of Hong Kong’s Miss Beauty spa, told the city’s The Standard newspaper: ‘If people want to improve the appearance of their skin they will not care about [the warning].’

She added that at her spa, a new roller was used for every client.

The Microneedle Therapy System, which is sometimes known as a Dermaroller, soared in popularity after it featured on the Rachel Ray show earlier this year.

Its makers claim that the tiny wounds created by the roller stimulate collagen production and enhance the natural blood supply, leaving the face with a healthy glow and more youthful complexion.

Celebrity fans are believed to include Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.”

For more information on why the Genuine Dermaroller is safe and effective, call 0845 2600 261.  Janine and Victoria will be happy to book your complimentary consultation with Judi Critchard, Mr Banwell’s Senior Aesthetic Nurse.

Paul Banwell comments on statistics for Breast Surgery

Liberate’s survey has revealed that 25% of women that were surveyed started to first consider cosmetic surgery between the ages of 10-15 years-old.

 The 3000 British women between 18 and 30 years-old who took part in the research were asked at what age they first considered cosmetic surgery, to which 25% of women answered between the ages of 10-15 years-old. 33% also answered that they had considered cosmetic surgery between the ages of 15-18 years-old.

This is quite an interesting yet shocking statistic, as it shows a large number of people may be considering plastic surgery or cosmetic surgery from a very young age.

Mr Paul Banwell, consultant plastic surgeon at Liberate commented: “There is no doubt that more and more younger people are considering cosmetic surgery and breast augmentation still remains the number one procedure. However, the statistics regarding the age at which women are first considering surgery is quite shocking.”

The research was conducted by One Poll in February 2011; surveying 3000 British women aged 18 – 30 regarding their feelings about their appearance and their attitudes towards cosmetic surgery. We wanted to explore issues young women face surrounding cosmetic surgery, look at current trends and find out what young women know and don’t know about surgery.

Mr Banwell consults at Tunbridge Wells, East Grinstead, Worthing and Brighton.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) annual report states that in 2010:
• Repeat cosmetic procedure patients increased 13% from 2009
• Over $10.1 billion was spent on U.S. cosmetic procedures
• Office-based cosmetic procedures increased 5% from 2009
• Over 11.6 million minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures were complete

Sunbed user is killed by 19 cancer tumours

Mr Banwell notes the dangers of sunbed use in this article from Metro on 23.06.2011.

“A mother who started using sunbeds at the age of 16 has died from skin cancer – after 19 tumours attacked body.  Donna Ballantyne, 39, blasted herself twice a week in unmanned coin-operated tanning booths but later campaigned to raise awareness of the risks.  ‘If I could turn back time, I wouldn’t have spent even one second of my life on a sunbed’ she said.  Mrs Ballantyne, from Bothwell, Lanarkshire, had a melanoma removed in 2002 but four years later was told she had cancer after finding a lump under her arm.  She died on Monday after the tumours spread to her liver, stomach, leg and neck.  ‘Her motto was to fight cancer for her children – that is exactly what she did,’ said her mother, Rena.  Mrs Ballantyne had three children – 14-year old Dylan, Sophie, 12, and seven-year-old Leon.”

For more information on sunblock and protecting your skin, call 0845 2600 261.