It sounds too good to be true: jump on a plane, have a quick nip and tuck, and spend the rest of your trip shopping and recuperating poolside, all for a fraction of the price you’d pay back home.
It’s the plastic surgery getaway, a trip that’s become so popular, entire travel agencies have sprung up dedicated to its cause. But for all the success stories and satisfied customers, this is one trend that I believe patients need to be wary of. Holiday plastic surgery can be like a gambling game; one where you never really know the odds. You might think you’ll save money, but a package like this could end up costing you far more than you expect.
So, before you renew your passport and book those tickets, take time to ask yourself a few questions:
- What qualifications does your surgeon have?
Is the person who will be operating on you a qualified plastic surgeon? What does this mean in the country you’re visiting? In Australia, a qualified plastic surgeon is guaranteed to have undertaken eight to ten years of specialist training at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. How stringent are training requirements in your destination country?
- Does your surgeon behave ethically?
Patients who have paid a lot of money and travelled a long way do not like to hear that they cannot undergo the procedure they desire. But an ethical surgeon will not operate on a patient if it is not in the patient’s best interest, no matter how long it took to get through customs. Are you confident that your surgeon will act in your best interest?
- What is included in your fee?
Does the price you are quoted cover more than just airfares, accommodation and the procedure? Or will you be hit with out-of-pocket costs for pre-operative consultations, theatre fees, hospital beds, anaesthesia, medication and follow up visits? In Australia, the price quoted by a responsible plastic surgeon will be discussed with you in full, with no nasty surprises waiting in the mailbox when you get home.
- What is the standard of healthcare in your destination country?
In Australia, medical facilities and staff are governed by strict guidelines that ensure a high level of hygiene, safety and care. Do you know what standards are in place to regulate these matters in your destination country?
- What will happen if something goes wrong?
No one wants to think about surgery complications but it should be one of the first things you think about. If you experience complications after an overseas procedure, what will happen? Will you have to travel again? Does the original fee you paid cover return flights and corrective measures? Most plastic surgeons in Australia treat patient complications with minimal out-of-pocket expense—sometimes none—and are easily accessible without a long plane trip.
- Does your private health fund cover overseas plastic surgery?
And will it cover corrective action overseas if complications arise? Although coverage for the procedures themselves varies, most Australian health funds cover complications arising from surgery in Australia, even if they do not cover the original procedure.
The plastic surgery getaway sounds too good to be true because it very often is. Plastic surgery in Australia is expensive, and for good reason. There are extensive safety, training and accountability measures that protect patients against surgical risks. And while they might add to costs, they also mean the odds of safely achieving the results you want are firmly in your favour.
If you would like to speak to someone about plastic surgery, please click here to arrange a consultation with Mr Andrew Ives.