Cosmetic Surgery Abroad or on Surgery Holidays

Going abroad to have cosmetic surgery, the so-called ‘Facelift Holiday’ has become more and more popular as so many people want surgery without the prohibitive price tag. Is it really a good idea to have surgery in a country where you don’t know the word for, ‘liposuction’, though?

Until recently, only the rich had plastic surgery. Stars would have facelifts and then pretend they hadn’t – and nobody ever admitted to having fake breasts. These days, the celebrity-driven trend is to be out and proud when it comes to your surgery, but the problem is, it’s still expensive and even with credit agreements and buy now, pay later, it’s not affordable for everyone.

To cater for people who want celebrity surgery but don’t have a celebrity bank balance, legions of overseas cosmetic surgery clinics are now advertising in the UK media. Tempting though it seems, surgery abroad can be risky.

How it Works

The most common destination for surgery seems to be Eastern Europe, and many clinics offer procedures at what works out to be around half the price of what a clinic in this country would cost. The surgery will usually be arranged by a consultant in the UK, who will also organise flights and accommodation.

It all sounds great, and you get sunshine thrown in too! However, in 2007 the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) said that a third of its members had reported an increase in the amount of people coming to them for repairs to ‘botched’ surgery carried out abroad, including wound infections, tissue loss and one facelift patient who’s stitches hadn’t even been taken out – she had to have them removed when she returned.

Many surgeons have voiced concerns about the lack of aftercare often provided by foreign clinics.

Avoid the Cowboys…

If you’re still thinking of going abroad for your surgery, you can reduce your chances of being operated on by a rogue surgeon if you remember the following tips.

  • Never base your decision purely on cost. Compare prices within the countries you are considering and find out what you get for your money. The budget option may not even include accommodation in a clinic – there have been stories of people being expected to stay at grotty hotels nearby. As a general rule, the more expensive countries such as the US, Australia, South Africa, Canada, and Spain are better regulated.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if your surgeon is Board Certified. Most countries have some kind of professional association for cosmetic surgery – find out about this before you speak to your surgeon and ask about membership. If they aren’t a member of any professional body, it should ring alarm bells.
  • Research the clinic before you sign up for anything. Get hold of the name of the clinic or hospital and find them on the Internet. Will the surgery take place in a doctor’s clinic or a hospital? How long has the clinic been established? Are there any testimonials on the website?
  • What happens after the surgery? Find out how long you will be staying for, and make sure that there will always be someone close by in case of any questions or problems. The surgeon or clinic staff should be able to tell you exactly what to expect.
  • What about aftercare? Find out if the package includes follow up visits to a surgeon in the UK. If you have problems once you’re home, you need to be reassured that you can see someone.
  • Language barriers. It sounds obvious, but if all else fails, make sure that your surgeon actually understands you! You need to be able to explain what you want, and you also need to be able to understand what you’re being told.

It really pays to do your homework before you decide to go abroad for any cosmetic procedure. If it all goes wrong, you could come back from your ‘holiday’ with more than just sunburn and a dodgy tummy..

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