When it isn’t just your bank account that is causing you anxiety, woes and possibly even embarrassment, but as well aspects of your body, it is easy to understand the temptation to jet off to some sunny location to undergo a cosmetic overhaul or tweak. Sadly, the reality may not quite live up to the sales pitch provided by many of the so-called health providers and cosmetic surgery groups operating outside of the UK. Hence, before booking your flight, consider these five arguments against opting for cosmetic surgery abroad.
There is a reason every doctor who visits a bedsit after surgery will prescribe ‘rest’ before even offering pain relief usually; resting after a surgical procedure minimises many of the risks associated with surgery. Hence, travelling soon after surgery significantly increases a person’ risk of developing complications – which can be fatal. On top of an increased risk of swelling, infection and trauma to the site of any procedure or operation, is for example the increased risk of a pulmonary embolism. To learn about the increased risk of blood clots when travelling less than a month after surgery, the Washington Post website features an article in which head of the MedStar Heart Institute at Washington Hospital Center, cardiologist Stuart Seides, explains all.
2# (Sub)standard Practise
Many countries providing cosmetic surgery at lower rates than those in the UK are able to do so because standards of expertise and care may not meet those expected in the UK. The NHS website features a valuable article, emphasising the most important and proactive measures to take in order to ensure you receive the best care and results from undergoing cosmetic surgery. Those measures include, asking your own GP to advise a reputable and local cosmetic surgeon, visiting surgery clinics before agreeing to undergo any procedure and checking that doctors, surgeries and clinics are registered with the General Medical Council and the Care Quality Commission. The surgical team, doctors, hospital and nurses may all be very capable, professional and clean, but opting to undergo surgery abroad means that you are unable to achieve any of these three, basic measures; hence, how can you know until you are there – or worse, until something goes wrong?
#3 (Lack of) Aftercare
Another important question to ask yourself before undergoing the knife abroad, is what aftercare can you hope to receive – and for how long can you hope to receive it? One of the many reasons some countries are able to provide cut-cost cosmetic surgery and so have become popular with so-called ‘nip-tuck hollidayers’ is that patients and clients are paying for a procedure rather than a package which includes an initial procedure, aftercare and possibly secondary surgery or medications such as antibiotics to amend any complications that may subsequently arise. As their patients will have returned home and wont be able to access after care, little if any is offered. In contrast, reputable UK cosmetic surgery providers such as the Landauer Cosmetic Surgery Group in their own words ‘select the very best, first class private hospitals from the UK’s leading private hospital groups’ and have a ‘best care possible’ guarantee that ensures ‘[a]ll hospitals are fully appointed with private en-suite rooms and have state of the art operating theatres equipped for major surgery. All nursing staff at each location are fully qualified and experienced in cosmetic surgery and are renowned for their friendliness and professionalism.’
4# (After) Cost
To quote consultant plastic surgeon and chair of BAPRAS’ clinical effectiveness committee, Anthony Armstrong: “Cosmetic operations involve major surgery. Anyone considering cosmetic surgery abroad must make sure they are fully aware of the potential complications that can occur and consider how these will be dealt with. They should not assume that the NHS will pick up the pieces and, they may find themselves having to pay privately for follow-up surgery here.” The fact is the NHS has neither the resources nor the finances to correct ‘botched’ plastic surgery undertaken abroad, and having to do so has jeopardised the care of British citizens waiting to undergo sometimes lifesaving NHS surgery, procedures – and this is not fair. Those who opt for cosmetic surgery in the UK are able to return to the cosmetic surgeon responsible, should complications arise; those travelling abroad forfeit this luxury, but through choosing to do so cannot guarantee the NHS will pick up the bill pay.
5# Patient vs. Tourist
After the first four points of consideration, this one might seem trivial, but it can in fact prove life changing – and, at worst, fatal. When people travel abroad for cosmetic surgery they are marrying two concepts which quite simply are polar opposites – are they a tourist or a patient? Consequently, many people attempt to combine both ideas in an effort to ‘make the most’ from the money they have spent. This can prove disastrous. Actions as simple as lifting (for example, luggage) or moving can result in complications such as infection, trauma, bleeding and blood clots after surgery; sunbathing, swimming or drinking alcohol are plain foolhardy. Yet, the temptation once abroad can prove difficult to resist, as difficult in fact as it is to imagine before you have to face it. The easiest and safest way to avoid this temptation is not to avoid the beach, but to avoid the niptuck holiday.