According to private healthcare search engine WhatClinic.com, the number of people going abroad for treatments has more than doubled in the past two years. The Daily Mail has recently published an article highlighting research by WhatClinic.com which shows the current trends and the tourism hot spots for different types of procedure.
In the 'Medical Tourism Hotspots' list, Turkey is the place to go for a bottom lift or hair transplant while Belgium is preferred for tummy tucks and gastric balloons. Closer to home, Ireland is the destination of choice for gastric bands.
Poland is a popular choice for breast implants as the procedure costs less than £2,000 compared with around £3,700 in the UK. For nose jobs, clinics in the Czech Republic offer procedures for under £850, considerably less than the average amount of £3500 charged in the UK.
Thailand is a hotspot for dentures and veneers. In Bangkok, the average cost for a set of dentures is under £200, compared with a £400+ price tag in the UK. Hungary is also popular for cosmetic dentistry, specifically for dental implants and lingual braces, and is much closer to home for those who do not wish to travel to the Far East. While dental implants in the UK will set you back just under £2,000, the same procedure in Hungary is only £500.
As well as cosmetic surgery, people are also opting to have fertility treatment abroad. Fertility treatment can be prohibitively expensive in the UK and NHS waiting lists are so long that more people are seeking treatment elsewhere. In the Czech Republic, one IVF treatment will cost just under £800 but it is three times this amount in the UK. Greece also offers egg donation and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) considerably cheaper than the UK and patients can save up to £900 per treatment.
Caelen King, CEO of WhatClinic.com, who conducted this research, has warned that it is important to “do your research and shop around. Speak to a number of specialists until you find one who you are comfortable with. If you do decide to go overseas, be realistic about recovery time and getting home. There are fantastic cosmetic surgeons all over the world but some countries are less regulated, so standards can vary dramatically depending on where you go. Ask about aftercare and what happens if something does go wrong, as it may be more difficult to fix without needing a return trip.”
Sarah Gubbins, clinical negligence solicitor at Penningtons Manches LLP, said: We understand how tempting it is for people to travel abroad for cheaper cosmetic surgery as often means that people can afford to have the treatment much sooner than they would be able to if they had to save up for private treatment in the UK.
“However, we are extremely concerned that, although cosmetic surgery abroad is cheaper, patients are not necessarily getting the same standard of consultation, surgical expertise or aftercare that would normally be provided in the UK. This raises huge concerns for patient safety and we have to ask if it is worth the risk. According to Confused.com, almost half of those who have procedures abroad are not satisfied and, worryingly, one in five need corrective treatment when they return to the UK.
“We have warned about the dangers of plastic surgery abroad and the added difficulties that can be associated with bringing legal action when a procedure goes wrong. To successfully seek redress, any potential claim must be properly investigated and carefully considered by a solicitor with specialist experience in dealing with international claims as well as expertise in cosmetic surgery claims. Specialist solicitors are key to making a successful claim for negligent cosmetic treatment abroad.”