‘Surgery Safari’ is a False Economy

Confirming today’s breaking news from BAPRAS, Spire Healthcare’s cosmetic consultants have seen a sharp rise in the demand for corrective surgery following substandard cosmetic surgery abroad. They are warning patients lured by reduced cost, minimal waiting times and the accessibility of ‘surgery safari’ that they are increasing their risk of infection and it is often a false economy which may cost them their health as well as a lot more money.

Consultant Plastic Surgeon for Spire Healthcare Bushey Hospital, Mr Jag Chana, comments:
“If patients go abroad, they may save money, but there are significant financial implications if things go wrong. It is very difficult to judge the consultant’s qualifications just by looking at a website, especially if they are not UK trained. In the UK, we have clear guidelines and bodies that regulate us. This means that in the rare event of potential complications, patients will benefit from continuity of care.”

Sally Farmer, 34 from Hall Green in Solihull spent almost double the cost of treatment in the UK following the results of a failed rhinoplasty in Prague. “I was aware of the Spire Parkway Hospital as it is has a good reputation locally. I went to see Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Mr Bruce Richard in 2007 to find out if it was possible to have corrective surgery. He was incredibly supportive, and on investigation Mr Richard discovered that the surgeons in Prague had cut through my nostril plate – something that should not have happened and was the cause of the problem.”

“The whole process was incredibly painful. The surgeon did an amazing job to rebuilding my nose and I am a lot happier than I was, but my nose will never look the way I had hoped. Too much damage was sustained in Prague and as I result I would strongly urge anyone considering cosmetic surgery abroad to not take the risk. The fact that you can have it done a little cheaper is tempting, but it has cost me a lot more money in the long-term. In hindsight, it would have been much more sensible to have saved up a little more and had the procedure carried out by a reputable surgeon in a reputable hospital here in the UK.”

With the UK cosmetic surgery industry predicted to grow by 52% over the next four years [i], foreign clinics are taking advantage and are heavily targeting UK patients over the Internet with spurious cut-price holiday surgery offers. This, combined with the fact that a quarter of Brits are considering having cosmetic surgery abroad because of lower prices [ii], means that patients are exposing themselves to unnecessary risk due to the lack of the surgeon’s experience or qualifications and the inadequate aftercare provided. As a result, consultant surgeons at Spire Healthcare are reporting a growing number of patients undergoing corrective surgery.

According to Mr Chana the risks associated with surgical procedures are dramatically lessened when patients choose properly trained and qualified practitioners. He has the following tips and advice to help people make an informed decision.
1.  Check your surgeon’s credentials: All reputable UK surgeons are registered with the GMC (General Medical Council) and industry bodies such as BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) and BAPRAS (British Association of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons). All members undergo thorough screening and are annually audited.

2. Continuity of care: Gold standard aftercare is essential following any surgical procedure. Don’t forget that the cost of surgery in the UK includes follow-up visits and all remedial work. It is therefore important to check what post-operative support that you will get as part of your care package.
3. The importance of Consultation: The consultation process is vital in helping the consultant to moderate client expectation to ensure a successful outcome. The consultant’s role first and foremost is to protect the patient and to determine the most suitable procedure that will have the desired outcome. Any reputable surgeon will explain the risks of surgery and how these can be overcome.

About Spire Healthcare
Spire Healthcare, the second largest private hospital provider in the UK with 36 hospitals and a total of 1,983 beds. Spire Healthcare treats 930,000 patients a year, employs 7,600 staff and works with over 3,000 medical consultants.

i BAAPS Keynotes Mar 2008 Cosmetic Surgery report
ii Mintel’s Health and Wellness Holidays report  2007

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