As cosmetic surgery abroad generally costs less than it does in the UK, it is understandable that there is great interest. However, it is essential that financial saving to be made outweigh the risks of having the surgery.
The two primary governing bodies for cosmetic surgery in the UK, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), and the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), have both made statements in regards to the potential dangers when having surgery abroad. Although there are undisputedly talented surgeons in many of the countries that patients choose to go to, some international standards and guidelines aren’t as rigidly regulated as they are in the UK.
All cosmetic surgery carries risks, therefore there is still a chance that things can wrong whether you choose to have it in the UK, or in another country. Aside from the skill of the surgeon, one of the biggest differences for patient safety is the aftercare procedure. If a procedure is carried out in the UK, the surgeon has a duty to provide adequate aftercare, to check on the patients’ progress and to act quickly if there happens to be any complications. When abroad, the aftercare process isn’t quite as straightforward. Many surgeons, or practices, don’t have someone for you to turn to if things go wrong once you step foot back in the UK. This means that you may not get the treatment that you need to rectify something that goes wrong, potentially leading to further complications.
If you are considering the benefits of having cosmetic surgery abroad, you must do your research. Many of the people who choose to go abroad for their surgery will make a decision based on the website and very little additional information. In some cases, a meeting will be arranged with a UK representative, however they are usually little more than a sales person, with a poor knowledge of the surgeon and their capabilities. To minimise risks as much as possible, it is recommended that you have two initial consultations with your surgeon before agreeing to any procedure, to allow you time to consider your options and if the surgery is right for you.
You should ask questions such as;
- What will happen in regards check up appointments and where they will be held?
- How the surgery will be performed
- The process of handling complications
- What would happen if revision surgery is needed?
- What are the qualifications of the surgeon?
- How are standard of care enforced?
- Does the surgeon speak English to a standard that they can properly explain important issues relating to your procedure?
- Does the surgeon/ clinic have insurance arrangements that cover you should things go wrong?
If you ask all of these questions and you don’t receive satisfactory answers, then you should carefully consider whether or not it is worth the risk.
Cosmetic surgery negligence can lead to complications that have the potential to affect you standard of living for the rest of your life, therefore the decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you are considering any procedure, either in the UK or abroad, ensure that you take all of the necessary steps to protect yourself from harm.