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Medical tourism is a growing phenomenon. According to ISAPS (The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) close to 1.5 million foreigners travelled to counties such as Thailand, Mexico, Colombia and Turkey in 2016 to undergo cosmetic procedures. For those seeking cosmetic treatments, jetting off to sunnier climes to undergo procedures like breast augmentation, tummy tuck, rhinoplasty and liposuction, often at cheaper prices, can seem all too tempting. Cheaper pricing, the surgery you want and a tan? It all sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, more often than not, it may well be!

Recently a story of a Scottish model, who had cut-price cosmetic procedure in Turkish clinic endorsed by stars, is doing the rounds. The model paid £3,000 for accommodation, food and procedures — including laser liposuction on her stomach. But within days she started experiencing pain in her abdomen. She admits that while at the time it seemed like a great idea and the cost was affordable, going to Turkey was a big mistake.

Unfortunately, this is not a solitary instance of ‘medical tourism’ going wrong. According to a report by The Mirror at least 1000 British women come back every year with botched cosmetic surgeries – a hole in the skin, wounds that will not heal or disfigured surgery site – being given just a pain killer or antiseptic despite making complaints. According to the report more than £30 million has been spent by the NHS on corrective procedures following cosmetic surgeries abroad.

A recent poll of BAAPS (The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) members revealed that 80% of their member surgeons witnessed an alarming increase in requests from patients to correct failed cosmetic procedures during the last five years. One of the major reasons cited for this increase – the rise of ‘cosmetic medical tourism’ deals offering all–inclusive package holidays and the promise a high-quality service at heavily discounted rates. However, these promotions conveniently gloss over the increased risk of complications post-surgery due to travel, less robust regulations and credentialing, as well as a lack of consistent follow up.

We at NowMe strongly recommend finding a Plastic Surgeon who has a FRCS (Plast) or FRCS qualification and is on the GMC (General Medical Council of UK) specialist register for plastic surgery. This ascertains that your cosmetic surgeon has received six years of training in plastic surgery on top of their general medical training. We also recommend that you make sure your surgery will be carried out at a CQC (The Care Quality Commission of UK) registered medical facility. And if you still get tempted to have cheap surgery abroad, please consider the following:

  1. Post Treatment Complications: No procedure is risk free and it’s important that you consider that there is always a chance of complications arising. When you see a surgeon in the UK your treatment includes aftercare and face-to-face consultations post procedure with the specialist who operated on you. This means that your recovery is monitored – any issues can be treated and any concerns can be reassured. By contrast, if your clinic is overseas then it’s highly unlikely you will see your surgeon again. Some clinics will have a rep here in the UK you can consult, but often this is a nurse, not a specialist, who knows nothing about your personal surgery. Bear in mind that cosmetic treatments are not a quick fix and the recovery process can take months.

2. Differentiated Regulations: It is critical to ensure your surgeon is adequately qualified, trained and experienced in performing the procedure you are considering. Equally vital is to ensure they operate out of a certified clinic or hospital. However, different countries use different quality and safety standards, so it can be difficult to navigate and ensure your surgeon’s credentials and their facility’s adequacy. Remember photos can be misleading, if a clinic abroad sends you glossy images of their facilities there is no guarantee that you will find the same visual on arrival.

3. Costs Can Escalate: The low cost of surgery abroad is often the key factor in the decision to fly for a treatment. However, whilst the initial procedure may be cheaper, you need to bear in mind that, should something go wrong, the costs could shoot up! If you have a complication and need to fly back for corrective surgery you’ll be blowing your budget in no time. Flights, hotel stay and further consultations – the money can easily mount. Whilst the NHS will treat any severe health complications you experience for free here in the UK, they won’t fix or correct cosmetic mistakes or issues. Often those who experience complications will have to pay for a UK based surgeon to fix the problems, meaning you end up paying twice.

4. Travelling Could Increase Risk: When you undergo an operation your body can be at an increased risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (commonly known as a blood clot). Flying too soon after an operation can heighten this risk, further putting you in significant danger, as these clots can move around the body and can be life threatening. If you are undergoing major surgery then the doctors usually advise to wait at least seven days before flying. This is important to bear in mind as often the ‘recovery package’ of these oversees surgeons only includes an overnight stay. Having to move to a hotel nearby with no supervision is daunting when you have just undergone surgery. Many patients would rather be in their own homes where they feel safe and secure, ensuring the recovery is smoother and less stressful.

The lure of a low price quick fix surgery can be very strong but taking time to research and carefully evaluate the pros and cons will definitely make you appreciate the merits of going to a good surgeon right here, in the UK. In balance, all things considered, it may even turn out to be more efficient in terms of cost and time spend.

Don’t succumb to the financial incentives and careless promises. Your life is worth far more, so choose wisely. Head out to NowMe.co.uk and find a top GMC registered plastic surgeon near you. We diligence all our practitioner to make sure they have the right qualifications, certifications and experience. It’s our top priority to provide you a safe and secured environment to find everything about the treatment you desire and the right practitioner for you.