BAPRAS report highlights the risks of travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery

Posted: 22/07/2014


Following the publication of its report entitled ‘Sun, Sea, Sand and Silicone’ from the University of Leeds, the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), together with the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), have repeated their concerns about people having problems following cosmetic surgery abroad.

Cosmetic procedures are the most common type of treatment undergone by Britons abroad but the key findings from the BAPRAS research highlight the following areas of concern:

  • the cosmetic surgery industry abroad is unevenly regulated and poorly documented
  • patients find legal redress difficult to access if something does go wrong during or following surgery
  • of those surveyed, the complication rate for those undergoing surgery abroad is at 16.5%
  • 8.7% of patients surveyed required further treatment when they return home.

BAPRAS advises that any patients considering surgery abroad need to know the following:

  • what is surgeon’s experience in cosmetic surgery?
  • are the hospital and surgeon regulated to the same standards as in the UK?
  • what are the follow-up arrangements with the surgeon?
  • what the complication rates for your procedure?
  • you will not be covered by regular travel insurance for cosmetic surgery overseas. You will need specialist insurance.
  • what insurance arrangements are in place if a problem arises after surgery?
  • any complications that arise once you have returned to the UK may mean that a patient has to travel back to the overseas clinic.
  • treating any complications arising from the surgery may incur a cost as the NHS will only provide emergency treatment and will not provide any corrective surgery for poor cosmetic outcomes.
  • it is difficult to obtain financial compensation following unsatisfactory cosmetic surgery outcomes from foreign clinics and surgeons.

Amy Milner, clinical negligence solicitor at Penningtons Manches, says: “We welcome the warnings that have been issued by BAPRAS and hope that these warnings will encourage patients considering surgery abroad to do their homework thoroughly so that they know exactly what they are getting themselves into before travelling abroad for treatment. We are seeing an increase in new enquiries from people who have suffered serious problems/difficulties requiring further treatment and/or corrective surgery after treatment abroad. Unfortunately, there are often problems with the clinic’s insurance cover and whether a patient is entitled to obtain financial compensation from foreign clinics and surgeons. There are also jurisdictional problems which  prevent patients from bringing a claim in the UK and who need specialist advice to bring a claim within another jurisdiction.

“We can provide free initial legal advice to anyone who has concerns about their treatment abroad and offer guidance on the applicable law in the country where the treatment was performed.”

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