Cosmetic Surgery Overseas

Reconsider going abroad for Cosmetic Surgery

British people tempted by surgical package holidays are risking huge medical bills and permanent disfigurement and patients are being warned of the dangers of taking cosmetic surgery holidays by UK doctors & cosmetic surgeons.

The higher cost of cosmetic procedures in the UK has led many patients to seek surgery abroad. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (see below for full press release) says increasing numbers are choosing to travel to East Europe or Africa for cheap treatments.

Procedures can often be hundreds of pounds cheaper than in the UK. But UK experts warn patients usually know very little about the surgeons or clinics-and can need corrective surgery when they come home. According to top surgeons, patients are placing their lives in the hands of surgeons who they often would not see until they are on the operating table.

Various companies have sprung up offering package holidays complete with surgery at half the UK price. Many of the vacations are advertised in the back of women's health magazines. Patients are seen in London, often in a hotel room, by an agent, and then escorted on their trip.

The surgeons involved in these schemes are not linked to the UK in any way, meaning if further surgery is needed, patients have to make a second trip to the country where they had their operation, or approach private cosmetuic surgeons in the UK who may well struggle to get access to your orginal medical records making further corrective surgery difficult.

Cheap cosmetic surgery abroad can turn out to be expensive

In certain cases, patients usually have no knowledge of the competence and experience of the surgeon, and there is very little prospect of follow-up care and advice. The best practice is compromised by the fact that patients are only meeting their surgeon immediately before a procedure-at which point generally they are committed to and have paid for the surgery.

Patients then return to the UK usually without adequate medical records, if any. The majority of experienced cosmetic surgeons frown on holiday surgery and are amazed that people go for these so-called deals.

If a patient need things put right, or are worried and need a follow up consultation they will have to fly back. That additional cost will wipe out the original saving. Alternatively they may have to pay a surgeon in the UK to revise the procedure. It would be difficult to hold the surgeon accountable at such long distance.

It begs the question

Why would anyone go to a country where they can't check out the credentials of the surgeon or even speak the language?

Cosmetic surgery vacations pose risks (05 July 2004)

COSMETIC SURGERY VACATIONS POSE RISKS

Cheap can be expensive, says British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

London, UK - 5th July 2004 - The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons today urged caution for patients considering plastic surgery holiday packages, which generally involve having cosmetic procedures performed abroad.

Many of these vacations are advertised in women`s magazines, and offer cheap plastic surgery performed over a holiday in Eastern Europe or Africa. Patients are usually seen in London by an agent, often in a hotel room, and are then escorted on their trip.

According to Norman Waterhouse, consultant plastic surgeon and President of the BAAPS;

"In these cases, patients usually have no knowledge of the competence and experience of the surgeon, and there is very little prospect of follow-up care and advice. Best practice is compromised by the fact that patients are only meeting their surgeon immediately before a procedure - at which point generally they are committed to and have paid for the surgery. Patients then return to the UK without adequate medical records, if any."

The surgeons involved in these schemes do not have a work permit nor are registered in the UK, and it is unlikely there will be any solid framework for making complaints, or even seeking revisional surgery.

According to Douglas McGeorge, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and BAAPS Council Member;

"As a surgeon I frown on holiday surgery and am amazed that people go for these so-called deals. Usually counselling for the patient is inadequate, they have no idea of the standards of care in the country they are visiting and no knowledge of the abilities or experience of the surgeon. Follow-up is difficult. Complications do occur and are usually left to the British system to pick up."

Mr. McGeorge has counselled two patients for abdominoplasty who went to Eastern Europe for treatment. They came back with wound breakdown and were upset? The standard of surgery that had been performed was poor and the hospitals were deemed 'awful'.

According to Adriaan Grobbelaar, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and BAAPS member;

"Cheap can be expensive ? if patients need things put right, or are worried and need a follow up consultation they may have to fly back. That additional cost can wipe out the original saving. Alternatively they may have to pay a surgeon in the UK to review the procedure or the NHS gets burdened with it. It will also be difficult to hold the surgeon accountable long distance."

"People seem to forget that during the recovery period, nobody feels like a holiday."

- ENDS -

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