Should I have a boob job or plastic surgery abroad?

by | Sep 11, 2020 | 0 comments

plastic surgery abroad

We often meet patients who are considering, or have actually had, cosmetic plastic surgery abroad. There can seem like lots of advantages: cheaper prices, the promise of a holiday and ‘UK surgeons’ to do your operation. What should you consider and what are the issues to take care over?

Is surgery abroad cheaper?

Headline prices often suggest a 20-40% discount if you have surgery abroad. Other countries might have a lower cost of living. This means that they can pay their staff less. Buildings and equipment do not have to meet the same standards as in the UK which can mean less expense for clinics. However, be careful to ask:

  • Can I pay in GBP (£) and if not then what is the exchange rate I am getting?
  • Does the quote include travel to the other country? (usually not)
  • Is accomodation included? (there may be 1 overnight stay in hospital and then you are expected to pay for a hotel)
  • Who pays if I need repeat or correction surgery or something goes wrong? (normally you)
  • If I decide to seek compensation after surgery goes wrong then how would I navigate a foreign legal system?
  • Does the surgeon have insurance which covers UK patients?

Who regulates surgeons and protects patients?

In the UK we have a very clear system of medical regulation. Surgeons in the UK are registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). To be a substantive consultant they need to be on the GMC specialist register. It is an absolute requirement for all surgeons in the UK to have insurance that covers their work. Doctors are subject to a yearly system of appraisal which ensures that they are keeping up to date with their field.

We were recently approached by a patient who had been offered plastic surgery abroad by a surgeon she had never met. He advertised himself as ‘fully UK trained’. On further investigation, we discovered that he had worked in the UK for a short time and had 2 GMC hearings which criticised him for a number of areas of poor practice. He left the UK to work abroad but still advertises himself to UK patients.

What happens if I have a problem?

If a cosmetic surgeon tells you that they have never had a complication then they are either being dishonest or haven’t done many operations. The main issue is how much support and care are you going to get if you have a problem after surgery?

If your surgeon and their team are close by then you should be able to see them and receive treatment. Travelling thousands of miles in an airplane is not going to be possible if you have an infection or need urgent surgery. In the UK, most hospitals include the price of corrective surgery within the first 6 months. That is very rare for surgery abroad and they normally tell you to find a surgeon at home. You could end up paying twice.

Does the pandemic affect surgery abroad?

If you are going to another country for plastic surgery then you will have to follow all the quarantine rules. This may mean isolating when you arrive abroad, paying for a Covid test and then isolating when you arrive home. Hygiene practices in care settings are closely regulated in the UK by the CQC (England) or HIS (Scotland). British hospitals have clear guidelines to follow to reduce the risk of surgery in patients who are Covid positive as this can be dangerous.

Breast Surgeon