Cosmetic procedures: ethical issues


Published 22/06/2017

Report cover cosmetic procedures
Surgery tools

In order to inform its deliberations, the working party carried out a wide range of evidence gathering activities.

Open consultation

The working party sought views and evidence in two formats. The first was an 18-question document aimed at professional organisations, stakeholders, and researchers; the second was a broader 15- question survey hosted by the Survey Monkey website which sought the views of members of the public with a general interest in cosmetic procedures.

Individual responses to the call for evidence



Fact-finding meetings

Between February 2016 and June 2017, the working party held a series of fact-finding meetings, which addressed distinct questions and issues that arose throughout the project. More details about each meeting is available at Annex A of the full report.

Literature reviews

Three literature reviews were carried out:

Roundtable on cosmetic procedures

On 28 January 2014 the Council held a roundtable scoping meeting to help explore and establish the major ethical and societal questions raised by the increasing use of cosmetic procedures.

The aim of this roundtable meeting was to bring together a range of experts to advise the Nuffield Council on Bioethics about how it might usefully contribute to debates surrounding cosmetic procedures and related discussions of body modification, beauty and normalness.

Participants included academics from the fields of social anthropology, ethics, psychology, clinical medicine, childhood studies and appearance studies; representatives from charities and campaigning organisations; artists, art academics and art advisors; Government officials; and practitioners, such as GPs, aesthetics surgeons and nurses.

The key issues and themes that emerged helped to inform the Council’s project on cosmetic procedures.

Download a note of the meeting.