In recent years, cosmetic and plastic surgery has become increasingly more popular. Costs for cosmetic surgery have decreased substantially and accessibility to these procedures is easier than ever. With social media also increasing in popularity, celebrities and influencers have also helped the trend to expand and have helped cosmetic surgery become something that is desirable for the average consumer.
As a result, there has also been a huge increase in the ways in which people can obtain cosmetic surgery procedures and one of these is plastic surgery tourism, where people are travelling overseas to undergo one or more cosmetic surgery procedures. Travelling outside of their home country often gives them access to procedures that might not be available elsewhere or which are cheaper.
Thousands of people each year are booking flights, including to destinations such as Turkey or Eastern Europe, where these procedures are available, often as part of a package deal. However, these health tourists aren’t always aware of the risks these procedures pose, or exactly what is included. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why people are travelling for cosmetic surgery and some of the risks involved.
Why Do People Choose To Travel For Cosmetic Surgery?
One of the biggest reasons why people choose to travel for cosmetic surgery is simply due to the fact that it is much cheaper than it would be to have the procedure in the UK. There are many more regulations in place when it comes to cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures in the UK. As most cosmetic surgeries are elective, rather than being for a health reason or concern, this means that they can’t be done through the NHS. This means that patients need to turn to private treatment, which can cost tens of thousands of pounds, depending on the surgery.
By travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery, the cost for procedures can drop by as much as 80%, depending on the country selected. This is particularly attractive for patients who are looking for selected procedures and, when these surgeries are included as part of a “holiday” package, with a holiday stay for a week or two following the surgery, it can seem like a win-win solution. Whilst some procedures might be banned in the UK due to regulations or risks involved, these procedures may be available in other countries. As well as this, wait times for some cosmetic procedures could be reduced compared to private treatment in the UK.
However, cosmetic surgery abroad can have positives. Some patients choose to travel abroad for cosmetic surgery if there is a specialist based in another country who is willing to perform the procedure. There are some specialist surgeons who are highly respected in their fields and provide the best treatment and results.
Are There Risks Of Having Cosmetic Surgery Abroad?
Whilst travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery can provide financial savings, there are some risks involved with having these procedures away from your home country. A lot of patients find themselves paying for plastic surgery in ways that they didn’t anticipate.
One of the reasons why cosmetic surgery is more expensive in the UK than it is overseas is because of the regulations and standards which British surgeons and practitioners need to uphold. British doctors, surgeons and practitioners need to receive proper training and accreditation in order to provide treatments and services in the UK and, as a result, this results in a high cost when it comes to private treatments. Their training needs to be acceptable enough for our highly regulated healthcare system, which is expensive compared to other countries,
A lot of other countries where medical tourism has increased are now expected to uphold similar regulations and standards of practice, but if you aren’t familiar with the country to which you are travelling, their culture and their medical facilities, it can be hard to find a trusted clinic or practitioner. This can lead to you choosing a substandard practice where the facilities, doctors and treatment are not up to scratch.
By travelling to another country for your procedure, you risk facing a language barrier. This can lead to miscommunication or misunderstanding surrounding the procedure you are interested in. This could lead to not getting the results you desired, or in the worst case scenario, getting an entirely different procedure altogether. Language barriers can make it more difficult for you to check your surgeon’s training and credentials and can leave you feeling uncomfortable or unable to get any support following your procedure whilst you are in recovery.
Poor Post-Surgery Recovery
A lot of countries abroad where medical tourism is on the increase have grown wise to this increase in demand and, as a result, create offers or packages which make their facilities more appealing to the international market.
For example, in Turkey where medical tourism is on the increase for cosmetic procedures surrounding teeth, hair and tummy tucks, clinics and facilities have started offering package deals. These “deals” include the procedure and immediate aftercare, followed by a week in a nearby hotel. These deals appeal to a younger market, who can see this as a great deal with a holiday thrown in for them to enjoy after their procedure.
However, a lot of these facilities provide poor aftercare, leaving patients in pain following their procedure and, often, they are feeling too sore or unwell to enjoy the hotel in which they are staying. Many procedures carried out abroad don’t include proper aftercare services, meaning that results can vary massively and often leave patients in pain.
As well as this, you inevitably need to fly back from your destination abroad and, often, the recovery period is not long enough to fully minimise the risk of complications which a flight can cause to a body in recovery following cosmetic surgery. Flying in the week following a cosmetic or plastic surgery procedure can greatly increase the risk of developing blood clots, deep vein thrombosis or internal bleeding. Flying can also cause severe swelling of the surgery site, which could hinder the healing process.
Should You Travel For Cosmetic Surgery?
If you are considering travelling for cosmetic or plastic surgery procedures, you should always do thorough research beforehand and ensure that, if you do find a clinic you like, that you ask both the clinic and individual surgeon or doctor every question you have to put your mind at ease.
Ultimately, travelling for cosmetic or plastic surgery procedures does carry some risk and you should always make yourself aware of these before you make a final decision. By having treatment in the UK, you can choose a surgeon you trust and can have consultations with, without language barriers or having to travel far. For example, in Cheshire, there are many highly esteemed clinics offering plastic surgery in Manchester and the surrounding areas which you can visit before your surgery.
You can take the expert advice of organisations such as ISAPS and BAAPS (British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons) when it comes to finding a cosmetic surgeon, and read reviews online from previous patients.