Can I have tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty) abroad?

You do have the option of going abroad for this surgery. Cosmetic surgery is cheaper in other countries as compared to the UK and can seem very tempting, especially if it is combined with a short break in an exotic location.

But, like most things in life, read the small print carefully. If the price is cheaper then look at what is covered in that quote, and, more importantly, what is excluded? For example, you may find that you have to pay extra for the aftercare service.

Does the quote include hospital care? If something goes wrong (rare but does happen) then do you have to pay extra for this?

You will also have to include the cost of your flight and accommodation. Once you factor this in then you may find that going abroad is no cheaper than the UK.

You want to be sure that the clinic or hospital in another country operates to the very highest standards. Here in the UK, we have professional organisations like BAPRAS, BAAPS or The British Association of Cosmetic Surgeons which are well respected and set high standards of care and treatment. The Healthcare Commission is another respected body which also regulates cosmetic surgery in the UK.

If your surgeon is a member of any of these or is registered on the Specialist Register of Plastic Surgery, held by the GMC then he or she is likely to be well qualified and experienced.

There are many countries which have similar bodies and it is a good idea to check to see if your surgeon is a member of these. Some overseas surgeons have undergone training and accreditation here in the UK and may be listed via the GMC.

Make sure that the clinic or hospital is clean, well run and concerned with your needs and wellbeing, and not about making money. If they are then give them a wide berth.

Check that the staff at the clinic or hospital speak English. And, what happens when you have had your surgery? Do you get chance to recover in the clinic or hospital or will you be discharged to a hotel.

That special ‘cosmetic surgery tourism’ package which includes a hotel stay may sound attractive but if complications arise then the hotel is not best placed to deal with them. Another issue is that of flying home when you have just had surgery. If you have had a general anaesthetic then you will not be up to getting on a plane and enduring a long flight back home. Plus there is the risk of blood clots which does increase if you have had surgery.

There is also the issue of aftercare: you will have to attend the clinic or hospital for follow up visits which are important as they enable your surgeon to check on your progress. In this case you will have to arrange a flight each time you have one of these visits.

One answer to this is to find a surgeon who is willing to undertake the initial consultation and post-operative check ups in the UK. This means you only have to arrange one flight to your overseas clinic or hospital.

Basically, do the same checks and research as if you were choosing to have surgery in the UK.

The risk is being tempted by a cheap deal and then paying the consequences. Unfortunately there have been cases of people having surgery abroad and something going wrong when they return to the UK. This means that they are left in a terrible state and have to turn to the NHS for help.

Cosmetic surgery abroad can be very successful but research this carefully.

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