Surgery, no matter where it is performed, has risks but those risks are increased in countries that don’t have as stringent rules as Australia.

Despite the prolific horror stories, thousands of Australians continue to seek cheaper plastic surgery options abroad.

While a tropical holiday along with cosmetic surgery at half the price might seem like a match made in paradise, the reality is that combination offers up dangers too.

These include things like implants and products that could be substandard, infections in tropical environments and the risk of deep-vein thrombosis on the way home.

There is also the chance that should something go wrong at home you would have no recourse for follow-up treatment.

According to the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, these are some things to consider before opting for medical tourism:

  • Is the overseas surgeon appropriately qualified, experienced and accredited with the relevant regulatory bodies?
  • Does the hospital/day clinic meet appropriate international standards for infection control, sterilisation of equipment and drug integrity?
  • Does the patient understand the options, procedure, risks and recovery information? In particular, do they understand the risks of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) when traveling on long-haul flights following surgery? Have they taken this into account when planning their postoperative length of stay?
  • Are all of the patient’s costs covered in any package offered?
  • What happens if something goes wrong as a result of the surgery overseas? Does the patient have sufficient medical travel insurance in addition to the standard travel insurance, which may exclude travel for medical procedures? Is the patient aware of the potential complications of pursuing legal action in a foreign jurisdiction?
  • Once they have returned to Australia, what is the patient’s plan for follow-up care if required?

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