Body Image and Mental Health

BMI The Alexandra Hospital


















A negative body image can affect an individual’s personal wellbeing, and this often leads to cosmetic interventions. Mr Stephen Powis, the National Medical Director of NHS England, has recently endorsed the view that providers should be officially registered and trained to recognise patients with body-image or other mental-health issues.

For Cosmetic Surgery the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) have introduced the RCS Certification Scheme through which clinicians receive formal training and as part of a professional masterclass. Mr Gary Ross, Consultant Plastic Surgeon at the BMI The Alexandra Hospital, became the first cosmetic surgeon to be certified through the Royal College of Surgeons in 2017 and has been using psychological screening tools for several years. He stated:

'There has been an increase in patients requesting cosmetic surgery in recent years and there has also been an increase in requests from patients with underlying psychological issues.’

Mr Gary Ross has piloted a direct referral pathway with CBT clinics, who are a specialist nationwide provider of psychological healthcare services in order to provide an effective and efficient means of assessment for patients. He stated:

'I have been referring all young patients under 21 and all patients with a past history of psychological issues and any patient in which there has been a concern following psychological screening to CBT clinics for further assessment of their psychological needs, especially in regards to the presence of Body Dysmorphia or Eating Disorder. This pilot has been well received by patients and gives patients, clinicians and providers reassurances that cosmetic surgery is in the patient’s best interest. For many patients I believe a formal assessment should be mandatory prior to consideration of cosmetic surgery.’

Gary RossThe psychological risks are often overlooked, and it is refreshing that the cosmetic industry is highlighting the awareness of psychological well-being in order to prevent avoidable harm.

Although, most patients describe an improvement, following cosmetic surgery, it is important that cosmetic surgery should not be seen as a quick fix and patients well-being is considered. Mr Ross stated:

‘Through long term outcome studies, we are now beginning to understand the importance of patient selection and to predict those patients who are most likely to benefit from cosmetic surgery and most importantly those patients who may be at risk.’


About BMI The Alexandra Hospital

BMI The Alexandra Hospital is part of the BMI Healthcare hospital network. It provides a range of inpatient, outpatient and day-case specialties, including orthopaedic, spinal, general medicine, urology, ear nose and throat, cardiac, and neurology, for routine and complex cases. Diagnostic and specialist equipment on site includes MRI scanners, ultrasound, CT scanners, mammography and x-ray.

Led by executive director Marge Falconer, the hospital in Mill Lane, Cheadle, provides services for NHS patients, for insured patients and for patients who choose to pay for their own care.

For more information about BMI The Alexandra Hospital visit

Established in 1970, BMI Healthcare is the UK’s largest independent provider of private healthcare with 58 hospitals and healthcare facilities. There are over 7, 000 consultants practice at BMI hospitals, which handle over 2 million patient visits per year.

An independent survey of 116,747 patients carried out by Quality Health, the same company which assesses patient satisfaction within the NHS, between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2017, showed that 98.5% would recommend their hospital to their families and friends. 95.2% rated the overall quality of their nursing care as excellent or very good, 95.2% said that their hospital’s diagnostic imaging met or exceeded their expectations and 98.3% would apply the same rating to their experience of physiotherapy.

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For more information on this story, contact the BMI Healthcare press office via: [email protected] or 020 3283 6771.

Date: 26th February 2018