Can I have facelift surgery (rhytidectomy) abroad?

You can but consider this very carefully. It may seem appealing, the thought of combining your surgery with a short holiday, and at a cheaper price but there are downsides to this.

The upsides are the fact that you get to have a relaxing stay in another location and that the cost of the surgery itself is cheaper than the UK. However, consider this; does that quote include after care treatment? Does it include the full cost of your hospital stay? What happens if there are complications? If something goes wrong do you have to pay extra for this and how much?

These are just a few of the things you need to take into account.

When considering cosmetic surgery you need to research this very carefully. This means reading up about the procedure, finding a surgeon, the recovery period and the long term consequences. This equally applies if you are thinking of going abroad for surgery.

Do your homework. Check your surgeon’s credentials and make sure you know what you are getting for your money.

What you have to take into account is the fact that you may need to fly out to the clinic or hospital more than once. You may have to meet with the surgeon more than once, plus there will be the follow up visits as well.

This means purchasing a flight for the initial consultation, another one for the surgery itself and then others for the aftercare visits. Ideally, it would be better if you can find a surgeon who is prepared to conduct his/her consultation and follow up visits here in the UK. This would mean you only have to fly out for the surgery itself.

Check to see if your surgeon is ‘board certified’: this means is he or she a member of a professional organisation which is similar to the UK’s BAPRAS, BAAPS or the GMC. These are highly regarded organisations and membership of them is extremely difficult. A surgeon needs to be experienced and highly skilled to be awarded membership so if your surgeon is a member of these or a similarly regarded organisation then he/she is likely to be a good choice.

Many other countries have organisations similar to these. Some countries such as South Africa have sent their surgeons to the UK for professional training. It can also be the case that some continental surgeons have UK registration, such as being listed on the GMC’s Specialist Register of Plastic Surgery.

Ask to see these qualifications and check to see if your surgeon is either a member of such an organisation or is professionally accredited.

Examine the facilities of the clinic or hospital carefully. A glossy brochure or attractive photograph on a website might not give the true picture. You want to be treated by a place which operates the very highest standards of care and cleanliness. Another factor is that of the language barrier. If you choose a location where the staff speak English then that’s fine but how would you feel about being in a clinic or hospital where the staff are unable to speak English?

Ask to see ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs and if there are any case studies or patient testimonials then have a look at those as well. See what contact you will have with him or her. Is it by phone only? Is it by phone and email?

Obtain as much information as you can about your surgeon and the clinic or hospital. If you are looking through various websites for this then choose a reputable one. You will find that you do get a ‘feel’ for what is good and what isn’t. Keep in mind the old saying ‘if it looks to good to be true then it probably is’. If you see a special offer or a bargain then ask yourself why it is at that price and what does it include?

Cosmetic surgery is safe and the vast majority of patients are very happy with their results. However, all surgery, cosmetic or otherwise does have a small amount of risk and you need to be aware of this. If something does go wrong then can you contact your surgeon? If this happens when you are back in the UK will your surgeon or the hospital treat you or do you have to turn to the NHS?

Another important factor is that of what happens after your surgery. You will feel tired, sick and disorientated after surgery and the last thing you will feel like doing is to get on a plane. If you have chosen a country which means a long haul flight then would you feel up to enduring a 10 hour flight or more when you are feeling unwell? Long haul flights also can be risky in terms of deep vein thrombosis and major surgery does increase that risk.

Surgeons would advise you not to fly until a suitable period has passed following surgery as there is the increased risk of a blood clot forming.

Many people do have surgery abroad and it is successful but there have been cases reported in the media where people have had cut price surgery and it has gone horribly wrong. What happens then is that the NHS has to pick up the pieces which place an extra strain on an overburdened system.

If the NHS turn you down then you will have to pay for the surgery yourself. As price is a consideration then you will be looking for reasonably priced surgery but don’t let this be your overriding concern. Finding a good, reputable surgeon is more important then getting a good deal.

An increasingly popular option here is to go abroad for surgery. The prices are cheaper then the UK plus it will be carried out in an exotic location which means you get a holiday as well.

This is discussed in more detail in the next question.

Facelift Surgery Guide Index:

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