Travelling abroad for cosmetic treatment is increasingly popular due to low cost flights, extensive advertising and cheaper prices for procedures in other countries. As a result, the cosmetic surgery team at Penningtons Manches is continuing to see a rise in the number of new enquiries from people who have had surgery overseas and have encountered complications as a result.

Unfortunately treatment abroad is no more regulated than in the UK and, if something does go wrong, people often have limited recourse against the surgeon. Many people do not appreciate the range of risks inherent in travelling to foreign parts for such procedures.

There are a variety of important factors that should be considered by consumers before having surgery abroad which include:

  • knowing who will perform the procedure and their expertise in that area;
  • whether the clinic or individual is subject to any regulation;
  • the indemnity insurance covering the individual or clinic in the event of a problem;
  • the potential risks of the procedure and likely outcome;
  • the follow up which is available;
  • the resources which are available if there is a problem during the procedure;
  • who covers the cost of any further / emergency treatment.

If something does go wrong, potential claimants must be advised about the countries in which they are entitled to bring a claim, whether there are any associated jurisdictional issues, the funding options available and whether the time limits for bringing a claim are different to the UK.

Amy Milner, an associate in the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches, said: “Given the increase in popularity of cosmetic procedures abroad, it is important that people are educated and do not rush into booking treatment. We are continuing to see a steady stream of enquiries from those who have had poor outcomes and who have no immediate remedy. As a result, they are often left not only out of pocket but also requiring further treatment.

“Bringing a claim arising from a procedure in another country is far from straightforward and patients should be fully informed about their options. It is important that potential claimants seek advice from specialist clinical negligence solicitors with experience of dealing with cases abroad given the associated jurisdictional issues that could potentially arise from pursuing a claim against a foreign surgeon or clinic.”