British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS)

  • Description
  • About us

    The British Asso­ci­a­tion of Plas­tic, Recon­struc­tive and Aes­thetic Sur­geons is the voice of plas­tic surgery in the UK, advanc­ing edu­ca­tion in all aspects of the spe­cialty and pro­mot­ing under­stand­ing of con­tem­po­rary prac­tice.

    BAPRAS speaks for the major­ity of recon­struc­tive and aes­thetic plas­tic sur­geons pro­vid­ing ser­vices to patients in the UK today.

    Founded in 1946 in the after­math of world war, as the British Asso­ci­a­tion of Plas­tic Sur­geons, the Asso­ci­a­tion had the objec­tives of reliev­ing sick­ness and pro­tect­ing and pre­serv­ing pub­lic health by the pro­mo­tion and devel­op­ment of plas­tic surgery. The aim of the Asso­ci­a­tion was to advance edu­ca­tion in all aspects of plas­tic surgery.

    Today, these objec­tives remain. How­ever, tech­niques and exper­tise have pro­gressed to the extent that plas­tic surgery needs to be under­stood in a mod­ern, wider context.

    While the major­ity of plas­tic surgery work is recon­struc­tive, restor­ing form and func­tion fol­low­ing ill­ness or trauma, the world knows that some is aes­thetic or ‘cos­metic’, where peo­ple elect for plas­tic surgery to change form or appear­ance. As inno­v­a­tive tech­niques develop, both recon­struc­tive and aes­thetic plas­tic surgery inform each other. The one improves the other, and vice versa, which can only be in the inter­est of all patients.

    As the voice of plas­tic surgery, BAPRAS sees its role as increas­ing under­stand­ing of the scope of plas­tic surgery. We aim to raise the pro­file of plas­tic sur­geons as an intrin­sic ele­ment of care teams pro­vid­ing spe­cial­ist care to patients with a wide range of con­di­tions. Con­tin­u­ing our objec­tive of advanc­ing edu­ca­tion, BAPRAS is always look­ing to pro­mote inno­va­tion within the spe­cial­ity of plas­tic surgery.


    Research has been key to the rapid devel­op­ment of plas­tic surgery as a spe­cialty. Plas­tic sur­geons con­tinue to con­tribute to sci­en­tific dis­cov­ery and are quick to adopt the lat­est inno­va­tions.

    Plas­tic surgery research encom­passes lab­o­ra­tory sci­ence through to clin­i­cal tri­als of new drugs and tech­niques. The spe­cialty is highly col­lab­o­ra­tive with the result that projects fre­quently cross mul­ti­ple dis­ci­plines. Some of the research top­ics are out­lined below; fur­ther infor­ma­tion about research units in the UK can be found here.


    Micro­surgery has trans­formed the abil­ity for plas­tic sur­geons to recon­struct areas of the body that are absent either at birth, due to dis­ease or as a result of injury. Micro­surgery allows free tis­sue trans­fer (‘free flaps’) where tis­sue is removed from one area of the body and re-​plumbed into another by recon­nect­ing very small blood vessels.

    Micro­surgery is used on a daily basis by plas­tic sur­geons. Tech­ni­cal advances in micro­sur­gi­cal equip­ment con­tinue but a greater focus is on max­imis­ing patient safety and enhanc­ing the recon­struc­tive out­come. Advances in flap recon­struc­tion include per­fo­ra­tor flaps and new super-​thin flaps.

    Wound healing

    Scar-​free would heal­ing would result in a sur­gi­cal rev­o­lu­tion. At the present time wound heal­ing with scar for­ma­tion is unavoid­able. How­ever, sci­en­tists have shown that dur­ing devel­op­ment in the womb var­i­ous body struc­tures grow together with­out leav­ing a scar. Our under­stand­ing of this process has lead to the devel­op­ment of new drugs that aim to achieve scar-​free healing.

    Tis­sue engineering

    Injury or dis­ease can result in the loss of tis­sue, such as skin, mus­cle, car­ti­lage and bone. If this is severe, there may not be enough tis­sue left for recon­struc­tion. In the future tis­sue engi­neer­ing may allow the arti­fi­cial growth of new tis­sues that can then be trans­planted into the patient to over­come this problem.

    One group set to ben­e­fit from this tech­nol­ogy is patients with exten­sive burns with insuf­fi­cient skin for har­vest­ing skin grafts. The skin is a com­plex organ with many com­po­nents such as sweat glands and hair fol­li­cles that are cru­cial for it to func­tion prop­erly. Tis­sue engi­neer­ing has enabled plas­tic sur­geons to recon­struct and replace skin com­po­nents. How­ever, cur­rent tech­niques are lim­ited and fur­ther work is needed before this becomes a prac­ti­cal solu­tion for wound repair.

    Com­pos­ite tis­sue allotranplantation

    One ground­break­ing and sen­si­tive area of recon­struc­tive surgery is that of human facial trans­plan­ta­tion. Although the anatom­i­cal and micro­sur­gi­cal knowl­edge is avail­able and full and par­tial facial trans­plants have now taken place out­side the UK, there are still many issues con­cern­ing the psy­cho­log­i­cal impact on the recip­i­ent and their fam­ily as well as the long-​term risks of immuno­sup­pres­sion. Along­side this more widely pub­li­cised research, there is con­sid­er­able work being under­taken to manip­u­late tol­er­ance in donor spe­cific ways, so that many other struc­tures (limbs and major body parts) could also be suc­cess­fully transplanted.

    Where is plas­tic surgery research tak­ing place?

    Most of the plas­tic surgery units in the UK are engaged in some form of research. A list is avail­able here. The work is pub­lished in National and Inter­na­tional sci­en­tific jour­nals and dis­sem­i­nated at con­fer­ences and through the devel­op­ment of clin­i­cal guide­lines. The Jour­nal of Plas­tic, Recon­struc­tive and Aes­thetic Surgery is the Inter­na­tional pub­li­ca­tion asso­ci­ated with BAPRAS.

    Join us

    Mem­ber­ship of BAPRAS offers a range of ben­e­fits and opportunities:

    • There are many teach­ing and learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, both for those in train­ing and those devel­op­ing ongo­ing pro­fes­sional skills.
    • All mem­bers wil be noti­fied of and be able to attend Sci­en­tific and Clin­i­cal meetings
    • All mem­bers can con­tribute to debates on the direc­tion and devel­op­ment of our spe­cial­ity, as well as take part in an ongo­ing exchange of infor­ma­tion, knowl­edge and expertise.
    • All mem­bers have their names and addresses pub­lished in the Association’s Mem­bers’ Hand­book (for mem­bers only).

    There are dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories and lev­els of BAPRAS mem­ber­ship to suit vary­ing needs, and some ben­e­fits vary accord­ing to these mem­ber­ship categories:

    • Selected mem­ber­ship lev­els will receive a free copy of the Jour­nal of Plas­tic, Recon­struc­tive and Aes­thetic Surgery
    • All mem­bers receive reduced rates for Sci­en­tific Meet­ings and Courses, but the rates vary with mem­ber­ship level
    • Cer­tain mem­ber­ship lev­els are eli­gi­ble for elec­tion to BAPRAS Council
    • Cer­tain mem­ber­ship lev­els will be able vote at Gen­eral meetings.


    Phone +44.20.7831.5161

    Social Networks and Comments