Rise in UK fixes for cosmetic surgery abroadMore corrective work done over the last five years

19 November 2007

British plastic surgeons are repairing increasing amounts of botched cosmetic work done abroad, a study has revealed.

Many patients are going overseas for cut-price cosmetic procedures such as facelifts and tummy tucks - but some are returning home with problems and inadequate aftercare.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons said a third of its members have reported doing ‘much more’ corrective work over the last five years.

Complications are usually left to the British system to treat

Douglas McGeorgePresident of BAAPS

Lack of aftercare

Some of the cases seen by BAAPS members included severe wound infections, tissue loss and a facelift patient who had not even had her stitches removed before returning to the UK, where she then had to pay to have it done.

Almost all surgeons said they were concerned with the lack of aftercare provided.

Poland causes most problems

Surgeons were also asked which countries some of these patients had chosen for their surgery.

More than half saw dissatisfied patients from Poland, followed by 44% seeing patients from South Africa and 36% who had seen problem cases from Belgium.

Douglas McGeorge, president of BAAPS and a consultant plastic surgeon, said: ‘My experience with patients has shown that counselling is inadequate - the individuals have no idea of the standards of care in the country they are visiting and no knowledge of the abilities or experience of the surgeon.

‘Follow-up is difficult.'

Research is vital

Nigel Mercer, BAAPS president-elect and consultant plastic surgeon, said: ‘This survey has shown how important it is for patients to thoroughly research every aspect of the procedure they are considering - the risks and benefits, the surgeon and their own expectations.

‘Patients should be careful not to base choices on discounts, price and other marketing tactics, they need to make the best choice for their individual needs.’

Which? is concerned that there is no formal regulation for the cosmetic treatments industry in this country. In a boom sector there is a real risk that in the rush to make money some businesses will cut corners.

Anyone wanting more information on cosmetic procedures can use our interactive guide to cosmetic procedures. Alternatively, see www.baaps.org.uk or contact the advice line on 020 7405 2234.