This is the single most important factor influencing the outcome of your planned surgery. You are a customer and are at liberty to see as many surgeons as you wish prior to making a decision. At present there is no examination in cosmetic surgery and it does not exist as a recognised sub-specialty in the UK. A good assurance step is to choose a surgeon who holds (or has held) a substantive consultant position within the NHS in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery, and is a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). This person will have a CCST (Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training) in plastic surgery, will also be on the GMC (General Medical Council) Specialist Register for plastic surgery and will at some time have been appointed by a committee of their peers to the position of consultant plastic surgeon within the NHS. This person is then subject to government controls designed to protect patients such as audits, periodic appraisals, revalidation and clinical governance. In addition to this your surgeon will be a trainer of junior surgeons within the NHS system. Finding a surgeon who frequently performs the procedure you are seeking is also key. A surgeon in full-time aesthetic practice will generally be more focused on aesthetic rather than reconstructive surgery and vice-versa.
It now seems that surgeons from many different backgrounds offer cosmetic procedures. General surgeons, ear nose and throat surgeons (so-called facial plastic surgeons), eye surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons and dermatologists often offer a limited range of procedures specific to the region of the body that their speciality usually covers.