The world’s first university degree that specialises in aesthetic plastic surgery will be launched in the UK this year.
Anglia Ruskin University in Essex, England, will be offering the post-graduate course – an MSc in Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery Practice – when the new academic year starts in September.
The course was inspired by the recent fiasco over faulty PIP breast implants and aims to increase standards and consumer confidence in the field of cosmetic surgery.
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Currently, the training of plastic surgeons in the UK is overseen by the Royal College of Surgeons.
They are trained to a competency level that allows safe surgery management with the type of work carried out in the NHS, but this does not include cosmetic surgery.
But since the PIP breast implants scandal, many plastic surgeons have called for training regulations to be tightened.
The Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery Practice course will be led by a group of leading UK-based plastic surgeons, including Professor James Frame, Paul Levick, Adrian Richards and James McDiarmid.
Commenting on the launch of the post-graduate course, Professor Frame said: “Aesthetic plastic surgery is a rapidly enlarging, super-speciality that requires recognition in its own right.
“The primary intention of developing this qualification is to improve patient safety and raise public awareness through best practice.
He continued: “At present a newly-qualified, fully-accredited plastic surgeon is released, totally lacking any experience in aesthetic plastic surgery, and is able to operate in the private sector.”
“This degree will benefit surgeons and therefore should improve the quality of surgery that patients receive.”
By improving the training and education of plastic surgeons in the UK, Anglia Ruskin University is hoping people will be deterred from going aboard for aesthetic procedures for what it describes as “safari surgery.”
Professor Frame added: “If aesthetic surgery is recognised as a speciality, with its own qualification, then clearly the public will benefit because it will help them to easily identify and employ a qualified surgeon here in the UK.
“At present there are too many under-qualified surgeons, particularly from elsewhere in the EU, coming over here and operating.
“The low price of flying abroad for cosmetic surgery can also be appealing but poor aftercare is a serious issue and the NHS spends millions of pounds each year rectifying problems caused by people undergoing cosmetic surgery outside the UK,” he said.
The MSc in Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery Practice will be open to all accredited plastic surgeons based in the UK and will run from Anglia Ruskin's Postgraduate Medical Institute in Chelmsford.
From 2013, the course will be made available to overseas plastic surgeons.
After completing the MSc course, students will have the option to proceed to a full doctorate in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
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