Risks of Overseas Cosmetic Surgery


Travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery is becoming increasingly popular due to tourism companies who market aggressively, preying on vulnerable people with the lure of cheap deals in idyllic locations, but what they are doing is putting profit before patient safety.

It is estimated 15,000 Australians each year travel overseas for cosmetic and dental work.  The drawcard for most is the perceived cost savings. Currently, there is little to no regulation of medical tourism, with bundle packages designed for patients to have maximum surgeries in the shortest time, irrespective of risk. It’s often difficult to truly understand the standard of care you will receive and the level of expertise or training a surgeon has had.  Compare this to Australia and New Zealand where patients are afforded the protection of a public health system to fall back on if things go wrong. You can also easily find out if your surgeon has the appropriate training and expertise by searching the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons website. To find out what your surgeon is registered as you can visit the websites of the Medical Board of Australia or the Medical Council of New Zealand. In Australia and New Zealand, patients are protected by the highest standard of surgical training as recognised by the Governments in the respective countries if they seek out the services of a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.  In particular, if a patient seeks out the services of a member of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons as all members are Specialist Plastic Surgeons focusing on cosmetic surgery.  In Australia, you can look up the registration, licence and accreditation of your surgeon.  You do not have that same level of protection when trawling the internet for overseas providers. Further, if you experience complications after surgery, it is vital that your surgeon and their team are readily available to provide quality aftercare, which may not be the case if you are operated on overseas.  Many overseas clinics have no support network in Australia or New Zealand and those that do often use nurses or GPs rather than trained specialists. So before making a decision, balance the price of overseas surgery against the cost of returning to the same clinic for corrections, and the even more significant drain on your potential safety and peace of mind.

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