My name is Dr. Ash Soni, and I am a fully qualified Plastic Surgeon. I am the founder and owner of The Soni Clinic (@thesoniclinic), my plastic surgery private practice, with locations in Reigate, Surrey, and Windsor, Berkshire.
Following medical school at Imperial College London, I relocated to the United States and completed my training in general surgery and plastic surgery at Cornell in New York City, the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the University of Washington.
Subsequently, I moved back to the UK, and completed a fellowship at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, sub-specialising in Microvascular and Oncoplastic Surgery.
Since then, I have set up my own practice: The Soni Clinic. At my clinic, I perform non-surgical and surgical procedures for both women and men.
What procedures do you offer at The Soni Clinic?
At The Soni Clinic, I offer both non-surgical and surgical procedures. I have patients coming for both functional and aesthetic reasons.
From an aesthetic point of view, the most common reason is to improve their self-confidence, as a result of facial ageing. Most of my patients are in the age range between 20s all the way up to 70s.
My most common procedures that I do are eyelid surgeries for excess eyelid skin, non-surgical nose jobs, mole and cyst excisions, nipple or areola adjustments, scar revisions, vaginal rejuvenation, anti-wrinkle injections, hydrating skin injections, and filler treatment for facial rejuvenation.
Functional reasons include, but are not limited to, vision affected by hooded upper eyelids, teeth grinding issues, excess sweating, or a lesion that needs excising.
What made you get into aesthetic practice?
Over the last several years, I have performed over 3,000 surgeries in plastic and reconstructive surgery. The knowledge and understanding of anatomy has really reinforced my passion for aesthetics. I have always been interested in cosmetic surgery, as it really requires so much attention-to-detail, finesse, and technical skill, in order to create natural and aesthetically beautiful results for my patients. The skills learnt when performing very complex surgeries are applied to my daily practice, and really gave me the confidence and drive to set up my own practice.
How do we go about researching an aesthetic clinic? What are the things that we should be thinking about when trying to decide who to go to?
You want to determine how experienced the provider is, and what their training is.
What is their exact experience in the medical field, if they were in the medical field previously?
Remember, that a lot of aesthetic providers in the community have done a weekend training course, and have no other significant experience in the field. Look into how transparent they are about what exactly their training entailed.
Their websites will show you how transparent these providers are. Many are not transparent, and the reason is often because they lack sufficient training or experience.
Finally, ask around in the community. How reputable are those clinics, and see what experiences others may have had, or what they have heard.
Given that the aesthetic industry in the UK is not regulated strictly, how do we know a clinic is reputable?
In my opinion, the aesthetics industry in the UK is not regulated strictly enough, so you do need to take care. Do the research on your provider. Know where they trained, and what experience they have had. Just being in the medical industry in some capacity is not enough. Have they performed procedures on the face before, in their line of work?
Remember, many patients can be attracted by lower cost procedures. If other providers are very cheap, if often means that they don’t have the experience to back it, and are potentially using very cheap products. If they are not transparent on their website or social media about their training, it often means that they have something to hide. Saying “Harley Street trained” often means that they just did a weekend training course on Harley Street, so find out what exactly they have done.
Many aesthetic procedures are often done on the face, and complications that arise will cost you much more than just a lot of money, so make sure you are going to someone who has strong credentials, and has the experience to back it. If complications arise, your provider should feel very comfortable taking care of them.
What should a patient expect before undergoing an aesthetic procedure or cosmetic surgery?
A patient should expect a detailed consultation with their chosen provider. At the initial consultation, their aesthetic goals should be addressed. One thing to note, is that many providers will push patients into having procedures that they didn’t consider before. For me, this is a red flag. More often than not, these providers are pursuing financial gains rather than consider their patients’ overall satisfaction and well-being.
I do not push any of my patients to do anything that they didn’t come into my clinic for. Ensure that, as a patient, you fully understand the risks and benefits of the procedures that you are about to undertake, and know that the provider is comfortable with dealing with any complications that may result, and how do they go about managing them. A lot of patients come to me from other clinics with complications that the providers did not know how to manage.
What kind of complications have you seen come through your doors from other clinics?
The most serious complications I see are vascular occlusions, which is where the blood supply of the face is affected due to poor filler placement. This is when is when filler is mistakenly injected into one of the blood vessels of the face, causing part of the skin and tissue of the face to die. This is a severe complication with filler treatment, and is caused by a provider not fully understanding the facial anatomy. I also see bad bruising after these procedures, again, because another provider has nicked one of the facial blood vessels.
I also commonly see filler being placed in the wrong location, as it has spread or because it has been placed incorrectly. I see poor quality filler being used, which causes lumps in the face, which occasionally need to be surgically excised. I also see patients with too much volume being placed in areas, which do not require that amount.
These complications are challenging cases to fix. I get many coming to my clinic from other providers, and another issue is that those providers don’t know how to manage their own complications, which in itself is a terrifying prospect.
Remember, this is your face, and it is worth paying a little more upfront for someone well experienced using great quality products than not, because the complications can be much more costly.
What changes do you think should occur in the aesthetic industry?
I would like there to be more regulations in the UK in terms of who are allowed to do the non-surgical aesthetic work. Anyone can administer anti-wrinkle injections and fillers, which is quite a scary prospect. If products are injected into the wrong areas or with lack of understanding, you can have areas of the skin and tissue that die, and sometimes this can have irreversible consequences.
There is a lot of finesse and skill needed to successfully perform these procedures well, and the understanding of anatomy is crucial. I have done thousands of surgeries all over the body, so I feel very comfortable with these procedures, but I still plan my procedures in a lot of detail.
There is also no regulation about the quality of products that they use, as so many various products are available on the internet for anyone to buy.
Any final words to conclude?
I would sincerely like to thank Lisa and Ali for all of their support with this collaboration. It is so important to bring awareness to safety issues that a lot of us are unaware of. It has been a pleasure to work with them on this Q+A.
In summary, please research your provider well, don’t focus on simply the cost of treatment as complications can be much more costly, and don’t be pushed into procedures that do not align with your aesthetic goals.
If you ever have any questions, you can always message me on Instagram (@thesoniclinic) or email The Soni Clinic at firstname.lastname@example.org.