Along with the so-called ‘zoom boom’ experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a marked increase in the number of patients seeking corrective treatment following botched cosmetic procedures carried out abroad, according to cosmetic surgery provider Transform. This alarming trend has been attributed to a range of factors including social media, celebrity culture, the cost of living crisis, and the prevalence of cheap cosmetic package holiday deals. While many Brits have been attracted by the relatively low cost of surgery in other countries, it’s important to keep yourself safe, especially if you’re considering a potentially life-changing procedure. What are the red flags of getting surgery abroad and how can you minimize risk if you’re thinking of going under the knife? 

Make sure you are aware of all your options

Cosmetic surgery and other invasive medical procedures always carry risks, regardless of whether you decide to go under the knife at home or abroad. If you are thinking of signing up for surgery in another country, it’s essential that you do as much research as possible and ensure that you’ve considered all of your options before committing – remember that undergoing surgery can have life-changing effects both for better and worse. Whatever procedure you’re considering, ensure that you research more natural, less invasive alternatives. You may be able to achieve your desired results naturally and in cost-effective ways that negate the need for surgery. If you do decide to take the plunge and opt for a surgical procedure, ensure that you undergo thorough consultations and that you research patient testimonials before settling on a practitioner. Check and double-check the legitimacy of your chosen practitioner (including their qualifications, history, and expertise) before making any agreements or parting with any cash. Making the wrong choice here could lead to serious issues and complications down the line, so make sure you’ve done your research and considered all the options.

What are some of the risks of having surgery abroad?

With botched jobs carried out abroad costing the NHS approximately £5 million in just 4 years, the negative impact on the taxpayer’s purse is clear, but what are the risks associated with undergoing cosmetic and surgical procedures away from home and how can you keep yourself safe?

  • Lack of consultation – With some foreign providers offering a quick ‘fast-track’ service, it can be tempting to jump the gun and book a procedure before you’re ready. Failing to complete necessary consultations with a trained professional before going under the knife can have serious implications for your health and well-being. Ensure that you consult with your home GP or dentist as well as your foreign provider of choice before striking a deal.    
  • Inadequate aftercare – The majority of surgical procedures require aftercare, which may not be immediately accessible if your provider is based abroad. Discuss aftercare treatment with your practitioner to ensure that you’re able to access the necessary services after the procedure – you may be required to make further visits abroad unless you can make proper aftercare arrangements in the UK. Failing to seek adequate aftercare could lead to cosmetic issues and serious health complications.  
  • Underqualified or unscrupulous practitioners – Standards of care can vary wildly from country to country, especially when it comes to cosmetic surgery. Make sure that your chosen practitioner is qualified and that hygiene standards are up to scratch. Always go with providers that adhere to the regulations of the country to avoid falling victim to underqualified or unscrupulous practitioners – this can increase the likelihood of infection and injury. 
  • Language barrier – Depending on which country you choose to have your surgery in, you may be faced with a significant language barrier. It’s essential that you can properly communicate with your practitioner from the initial consultation stage, so ensure that you have access to a translator if necessary.   
  • Air travel – If you’re traveling by air, bear in mind that flying can have serious negative health implications after surgery. You may be at higher risk of suffering health problems including deep vein thrombosis if you choose to fly after a medical procedure. Discuss the risks associated with your procedure with a medical professional before booking any flights home.  
  • Cost – If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t make a decision based on cost alone, and never go with the cheapest option. Remember that undergoing a procedure with an unscrupulous practitioner abroad can lead to further expenses down the line, whether that be corrective surgery, legal costs, unforeseen aftercare, or extra travel expenses. 
  • Extended time – When arranging a surgical procedure in another country, ensure that you factor in possible hiccups when it comes to booking plane tickets and time off work. Consider factors that could potentially extend the amount of time you have to be away from home and ensure that you’ve set aside plenty of time for traveling, recovery, and aftercare.  

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors, not Credihealth and the editor(s). 

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