Beware cosmetic surgery abroad: 44% rise in botched procedures

cosmetic surgery abroad risks

A UK plastic surgery organisation has called for action to be taken to halt the rise in botched procedures due to cosmetic surgery tourism. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) carry out annual audits of their members and the most recent check has revealed some alarming figures as complications from cosmetic surgery abroad rose by 44% from the previous year.

The latest BAAPS audit shows that hundreds of patients have required surgery in the UK to address complications after undergoing procedures performed abroad. The 2021 figure was 44% higher than the previous year when travel was limited due to the pandemic.

Life-threatening problems range from surgical removal of dead tissue to admission to intensive care following systemic infection. Abdominoplasties accounted for 75% of all complications followed by breast surgery procedures. It has been estimated that the cost to the NHS per patient is potentially £15,000.

BAAPS calls for travel insurance to be made compulsory to reduce the burden on an already overstrained NHS, as well as protect patients.

The cost of cosmetic surgery abroad

As well as the strain on the NHS, many patients find themselves having to pay many thousands on private treatment for cosmetic correction, wiping out the main perceived benefit of medical tourism which is the lower cost.

The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) estimates that the cost of a procedure can drop by between 40 and 80%, depending on the country of origin. So, what are you paying for when you choose a UK-based cosmetic surgeon?

  • All cosmetic surgery comes with risk, yet your UK surgeon will be able to provide comprehensive aftercare whereas accessing care from a surgeon in another country will be challenging once you’re returned home. These risks are also enhanced due to air travel soon after a major surgical procedure.
  • Training and accreditation in the UK costs far more than other countries, but it means that you can easily check that your surgeon is on the register for plastic surgery that is maintained by the General Medical Council (GMC).
  • Similarly, private hospitals and clinics in the UK must be regulated by the Healthcare Commission that inspects them regularly.
  • Plastic surgeons in the UK must have costly malpractice indemnity in case something does go wrong, and this means that patients are fully protected.

Are there any risks to having a hair transplant abroad?

As well as being a fully qualified plastic surgeon, Dr Mooz also specialises in hair transplant surgery. He is unsurprised that the BAAPS survey found 100% of complications were experienced by those that had travelled to Turkey.

Although hair restoration surgery is perceived as low risk in comparison to some cosmetic surgery procedures, there are complications to be aware of including infection and scarring. Irregularity of results is common as many foreign clinics use a team of technicians for speed and fail to achieve a uniform look. In fact, in some cases, the damage done to the donor hair follicle area can make it challenging to perform corrective treatment in the future.

To find out more about the care that Dr Mooz offers, call 0207 411 9858 to arrange a consultation.