Travelling abroad for cosmetic treatment is becoming increasingly popular due to cheaper flights, extensive advertising and heavy price competition by clinics overseas. The industry is booming and nearly a third of plastic surgery patients are now flocking abroad for a cut-price nip and tuck, with or without a holiday add on.
Earlier this year, The Mirror reported on three women who had travelled abroad for cheap cosmetic surgery and ended up being scarred for life. While cosmetic surgery abroad often costs less than in the UK, any potential savings that could be made from travelling abroad should be carefully weighed up against the potential risks. These include the lack of regulation, expertise of the operating surgeon, emergency facilities in the event of a problem, sufficient time for advance discussion and follow up. Other issues such as the need to take time off work and the cost of returning to the overseas clinic for corrections also need to be considered.
According to research carried out by price comparison website, Confused.com, almost half of the patients going abroad for procedures are not happy with the results of their operations, with a worrying one in five needing corrective treatment when they return home. Both The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) have voiced concerns about patients having problems after cosmetic surgery procedures carried out abroad.
Elise Bevan, a solicitor in the Penningtons Manches’ cosmetic surgery team offers the following advice: “If you considering a claim, use a solicitor who deals with cosmetic surgery clinical negligence claims on a daily basis as there are many issues to consider when bringing a claim arising from treatment abroad – all of which demand specialist knowledge. For example, we can advise you on the countries in which you are entitled to bring your claim and the associated jurisdictional issues; the funding options available in that country; the legal process which can vary from country to country; and the relevant time limit for a bringing a claim.
“It may only be possible to claim damages that are based on the applicable law in the country where you had the treatment. If so, we can obtain advice for you to assess the value of your claim in that country. Bringing a legal claim arising from cosmetic treatment abroad is far from straightforward and your chances of success can be greatly enhanced by using a solicitor with specialist experience in dealing with international claims as well as expertise in cosmetic surgery claims.”