05/11/2013 12:32 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 10:52 GMT

The Dangers of an Unregulated Liposuction Industry

If you type the word 'liposuction' into Google, the first result states 'subscribe for 20% off'; the second offers £400 off when a free consultation is booked. There are also a number of advertisements that pop up offering 0% and flexible finance. Such is proof of the huge demand for both the surgery itself and competitive prices.

What many don't realise, however, is the desire for cheap or so-called 'all inclusive' surgery deals has fuelled an unregulated market where doctors - who are trained in medicine but not in surgery - are performing surgical procedures when they are not adequately qualified to do so. Despite government recommendations that they should be banned, more than half of the top 50 aesthetic cosmetic surgery providers still offer promotional deals often tied in with freebies such as photo shoots. The research published at the annual meeting of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons in London also found that many deals had an expiry date, with statements such as 'book by Friday'.

All cosmetic surgery carries risks - ones that affect a small percentage of patients - but risks nonetheless. However, when carried out by a doctor who has not undertaken appropriate training those risks greatly increase. Not dissimilarly is the growing popularity of non-surgical cosmetic treatments such as Botox, derma-fillers and liposuction which are increasingly being offered by so called walk-in clinics, spas and beauty salons on the high street and in shopping malls. Experts have recently warned consumers that although many anti-ageing treatments are categorised as non-surgical cosmetic procedures, it is still vitally important to ensure that only fully qualified and experienced doctors with appropriate specialist knowledge and training are actually carrying out these treatments.

The Royal College of Surgeons recently published landmark standards that clearly states that only doctors with a postgraduate surgical qualification should be carrying out procedures such as liposuction whereas the industry seems to be dominated by non-surgically qualified doctors performing liposuction.

Worryingly, there is even a 2 day courses teaching doctors how to carry out vaser lipo - in contrast it takes a minimum of 6 years to train as a plastic surgeon - so many general practitioners will attend a 2 day course, buy the equipment and start offering liposuction.

It is thus of great importance, now more than ever, that anyone considering liposuction, carries out thorough research before choosing both a surgeon and a practise in order to ensure that they receive the very best care available. It is vital that potential customers are not tempted by short-lived offers, nor swayed by heavily cut prices. Otherwise, what may seem like a good deal in the short term may turn out to have disastrous consequences in the long.