Psychological services – plastic surgery

Psychology services for plastic surgery patients 

The plastic surgery psychology team at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust consists of clinical psychologists and psychological experts who specialise in altered appearance. These specialists ensure that plastic surgery patients receive the best possible psychological treatment after a change in appearance and before their surgery. Our work covers the following stages, where we ask patients a number of questions:

Assessment of alternatives to plastic surgery:

  • What impact does altered or unusual appearance have on people’s lives? 
  • What do people hope plastic surgery will change about their lives? 
  • Are there alternatives to procedures like scar removal or birth mark removal? 

We assess each patient to see if we can make these changes without plastic surgery.

Preparing patients for plastic surgery:

We can help set goals and help patients to change any necessary behaviour before an operation, such as stopping smoking.

Managing patient expectations

We work hard to ensure plastic surgery patients fully understand their surgery and know what is planned and what it will involve. We work with patients individually and in groups to educate them about the risks and complications of their plastic surgery, as well as how they can reduce risk and manage their recovery after their operation.

Managing patient trauma

Some patients have been seriously injured in accidents. Managing the psychological impact of trauma is as important as managing the physical changes. Our psychologists monitor problems and offer psychological treatment when needed.

Assessing cosmetic surgery cases

The NHS provides cosmetic surgery only in exceptional cases. Surgical and psychological assessments are needed to provide reports for the cosmetic surgery tribunal, which makes a final decision about each case.

Treating appearance anxiety

Some patients with minor changes in appearance can become excessively worried and preoccupied. Others may reach a point in treatment where plastic surgery has achieved as much as is possible but appearance remains altered. Royal Free clinical psychologists help in both situations by intervening to reduce appearance anxiety and improve self-confidence.