The cosmetic surgery team at Penningtons Manches has seen an increase in enquiries from people who travelled abroad for cosmetic surgery or treatment in recent months.
Despite the risks, it would seem that cosmetic tourism continues to be a growing industry with an increasing number of Britons travelling overseas. From our experience, the main reason for travelling abroad for treatment is the lower cost of treatment but, unfortunately, patients often do not appreciate the risks of doing so or that there may be limited recourse available back in the UK if something goes wrong.
There are many risks inherent in travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery (or any treatment abroad) and we would urge anyone considering going abroad to consider the following factors:
- Do they know who will perform their procedure and their expertise in that area?
- Is the clinic or individual subject to any regulation?
- Does the individual or clinic have suitable indemnity insurance cover in the event of a problem?
- Is the individual fully aware of the potential risks of the procedure/ likely outcome?
- What follow up care or treatment (if any) is available?
- What resources are available in the event of a problem during the procedure?
- Who covers the costs of any further/ emergency treatment needed?
An example of one recent enquiry involved a lady who had travelled to Tunisia for breast surgery. Unfortunately, she did not obtain the results she had hoped for and requested further surgery, although this was refused by the surgeon in Tunisia. She is now looking at other options available to her. She has liaised with a surgeon in the UK who has quoted her £6,000 for further surgery and said that, if she travels to his clinic in Belgium, the price would be almost halved.
Unfortunately, those who want cosmetic surgery abroad are unlikely to ask themselves: “Why is this treatment so cheap? Why is this such a good deal?” And they may not think about how and why the costs of surgery can be so much less than in the UK.
Amy Milner, a cosmetic surgery specialist in the Penningtons Manches clinical negligence team comments: “In the light of the number of complications suffered by people who travel abroad for cosmetic surgery, we are concerned that they do not fully consider or appreciate the potential associated risks. People must be well-informed before they rush in to book a treatment abroad. If things do go wrong, there may be limited recourse available and they could be left both out of pocket and needing further surgery. We urge anyone with concerns about their treatment abroad to seek legal advice as soon as possible.”