Buyer Beware: Cosmetic Tourism

Patients often say that cost is the main reason for choosing to travel overseas for cosmetic surgery. If however there are complications with surgery and revisions are needed, the initial cost can increase significantly. It is therefore important to assess all risks involved before making an informed decision.

Patients need to do their homework to make sure the person performing the procedure is properly qualified and accredited by the correct associations in that country. It is also important to make sure that the surgery will take place in an accredited facility which is to the standards set by the Australian Day Surgery Council.

Some of the questions to ask before making a final decision may include:

Is my surgeon a member of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS)? This means they have some form of internationally recognised qualification.

Have I got the sufficient information and have I had enough time to give informed consent?

Has there been at least a week between appointments so that I have had adequate time to consider surgery and make to make an informed decision?

Are the medical standards, care and quality control requirements as good as those in Australia?

Have I been assured that the devices and products used in overseas hospitals meet Australian standards? For example, breast implants used in Australia meet strict standards of safety and effectiveness, a process regulated by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Other countries may not have similar regulations.

Have I got a plan for what I will do in the case of post-operative problems or in an emergency?

Did I actually see the surgeon, or was the initial ‘free’ visit with a nurse or administration person. Who is my surgeon?

Did I get full, written financial details, including all out of pocket expenses for not only the surgeon, but also the anaesthetist, assistant, hospital theatre or facility costs and post operative costs?

Were the risks and complications explained to me?

What will happen if things go wrong? Will my surgeon accept liability?

Were will I be financially if things go wrong, what other costs do I need to consider, will my insurance company cover any possible complications?

Have I been explained about the post-operative care involved and what to do if complications arise after the surgery?

Post-operative care is vital to the recovery process and should not be combined with a holiday. Sitting by the pool, drinking cocktails and snorkelling does not qualify as post-operative care. A qualified and accredited surgeon should offer their patients a high level of post-operative care.

For this story and other great information click HERE for The Australian Society Of Plastic Surgeons website.

To make an appointment to see Dr Nettle click HERE