Should I travel abroad for surgery?
Is it safe getting weight loss surgery in turkey?
What’s the difference between cosmetic surgery abroad and cosmetic surgery in the UK?
All of the above questions are very valid, and we are glad you’re taking the time to research surgery abroad. No matter how tempting an, all-inclusive, luxury holiday to an exotic destination for cosmetic surgery might sound, there are major risks associated with travelling abroad for surgery. It’s important to know all the facts about what low cost abroad surgery has to offer before you head to the terminal.
Your well being and health is our priority, which is why we’ve created this list of 5 things to make sure you’re aware of before considering travelling abroad for surgery. And, don’t just take our word for it, the NHS also strongly advises patients against having plastic surgery abroad
WHAT IF MY SURGERY GOES WRONG ABROAD?
If you’re considering surgery abroad, it’s worth remembering that in the majority of scenarios, “you get what you pay for.”
Clinics abroad are renowned for downplaying any possibilities of surgery having unexpected results and the risks that come with the procedures. Even more so it will be extremely difficult to find out a clinic’s complication rate, as they are not required to publish this data.
In most packages for a cosmetic surgery holiday, the cost covers the travel, hotel and procedure but not the aftercare. This is something that in the UK, and at Healthier Weight in particular, is an essential part of the surgery.
Clinics will usually take your money (in cash!) on arrival, perform the surgery, then send you on your way. The unfortunate reality is that millions are spent every year in the UK on correcting surgeries that happened abroad. But, this doesn’t mean that if you come back from turkey with a botched job that you will be quickly fixed by an NHS surgeon, unless, you’re in a life-threatening condition. You will be directed to having your complications treated by your original surgeon, which is near impossible when they are thousands of miles away. Turning to private UK clinics will be the most viable option for patients with complications from surgery abroad.
So, if you’re looking for a quick and low-cost surgery abroad think about the additional cost you will have to fork out if any complications happen post-surgery.
Low cost may result in low quality surgery
The ultimate question that we get from patients is “Why is weight loss surgery cheaper abroad”. Usually, patients are referring to countries like Turkey that offer a full package holiday, flights, hotel and procedure at a very low price. So, with deals that seem too good to be true, it’s no surprise that people want to know why and how it can be so cheap for surgery abroad.
There are several factors into why the price of surgery in other countries is lower than in the UK, and we have gone into detail about this topic in a number of blogs. The bottom line is, medical equipment and standards simply aren’t as highly regulated in Turkey as they are in the UK and EU countries. As Turkey isn’t part of the EU, they do not comply with the strict guidelines that our surgeons and hospitals have. You might be able to save a bit of money, but the risks of a cut-price procedure greatly outweigh the benefits. It is unlikely you will be covered if a complication were to arise, you are not protected by the CQC, and in many cases, there is no aftercare whatsoever.
Because of these weaker governmental regulations, countries will massively cut corners wherever they can to offer the lowest price and beat the competition.
DON'T BELIEVE WHAT YOU'RE TOLD ONLINE
As cosmetic surgery tourism grows, so do the claims that lure in the patients. Be careful in what you choose to believe as the competition is high between the hot spots such as Turkey, Dubai and Thailand. They will sell any dream they need to get their books filled with patients. Be realistic about the claims or prices that seem too good to be true. If you have any doubt about your safety with a clinic abroad, we recommend to do not go down the abroad surgery route. Wait, save your money and look into trusted UK providers to perform your surgery, it’s a much safer and closer to home option.
Be aware of the tactile marketing that foreign clinics will use to persuade you into booking surgery with them.
Common practices that they use to gain your trust will be
- Fake reviews – If their website or social pages are filled with only 5-star reviews by patients who can only sing the companies praises. It may be worth airing on the side of caution. Remember that everyone’s experience with a company is unique and if the reviews all seem to be carbon copies of each other, it’s probably fake. Look on third party websites such as Trust Pilot to see if their reputation matches.
- Planting fake patients in online forums – This is extremely common and a widely used form of “marketing” by several cosmetic tourism clinics. They will plant what appears to be real patients into Facebook groups about people considering surgery. With the aim to persuade the users of this group to get their surgery abroad, by bosting about how amazing their surgery was at the clinic they went to. Of course, there will be genuine people on these groups who want to share their success stories. But if a particular member is continuingly pushing a particular clinic or surgeon on every post then be careful at believing everything they claim.
- Fake pictures of their facilities – It’s extremely likely that on the companies websites the photo’s they have showing off their state of the art facilities aren’t actually where your surgery will be performed. There are hundreds of stock imagery companies can use to do this. A quick reverse image search of the photos they claim to be theirs will show you where the photo comes from and if it is in fact legit.
- Surgeon credentials – Embellishing or inflating the credentials of their surgeons is easily done abroad as, they have different guidelines that their doctors and surgeons have to keep to. And, because there is no system like the UK’s GMC register to check up on a surgeon certifications and qualifications, there is no way of 100% being able to trust what you’re being told. Any respectable surgeon will always tell a patient their credentials, so it’s always worth asking directly if you can for your own reassurance before agreeing to surgery.
There is little that can be done about clinics making false claims and fabricating the truth to patients. We strongly recommend that anything you read on the clinic’s website and social media’s to take lightly. Don’t be blindsided by the amazingly low price and luxury hotel rooms, remember this is your life and that is priceless.
THE DIFFERENCE between uk and abroad surgeons
In the UK our surgeons have to maintain strict standards set by the GMC to maintain their license as doctors and surgeons. Every year they must publish data and keep to the rules and guidelines set to continue to practise.
Any doctor in the UK’s medical record can be found on the GMC register, you just need the GMC number and you can find out everything about their history of being a doctor, their credentials, their workplace and qualifications. Whereas abroad these standards are not the same and there is no public record for patients to find out about their surgeon.
Other countries use different systems and because of differences in standards and qualifications, it is not easy to find out if a surgeon overseas is a fully trained plastic surgeon. In the UK, full members of BAPRAS have all had full specialist training. You should always ask a surgeon what training and qualifications they have and what organisations they belong to.
Any holiday requires pre-planning of getting around the language barrier. And although this usually goes as far as, “where is the beach”, “please” and “thank you”. A trip abroad for cosmetic surgery definitely requires more understanding of the destination’s language.
Although the people you correspond with before your surgery may be British or fluent in the language, once you get to the country it can be a whole other story. A lot of the time the contracts you sign before surgery will be in the language of the country. And the surgeons & nurses will speak little English to patients. Even if a surgeon is highly skilled, a patient may find that their expectations for their results are still difficult to communicate.
You will only meet your surgeon on the day of surgery. Unlike in the UK where you have consultations beforehand, blood tests, and time to get to know the team carrying out your procedure. When surgery is life-changing, such as weight loss surgery, we believe having a more personal interaction with your surgeon shows support and gives more comfort to patients.
It’s important that as a patient going in for surgery you are completely comfortable with knowing what will happen in the surgery, what the expected outcome is and that you understand any documents you’re asked to sign.