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24 Aug

Overseas Cosmetic Surgery - Is It Safe?

Going overseas to have cosmetic surgery is promoted and marketed as an excellent and safe choice for eyelid surgery, breast implants, breast reductions, tummy tucks and liposuction. Globally, medical tourism is growing and over 50 countries have identified medical tourism as a national industry. With the quality and surgical safety varying widely, is having cosmetic surgery overseas really safe?

Thailand is a popular destination for cosmetic surgery procedures. If you opt for Thailand, you are most likely to encounter a Plastic Surgeon who is reasonably well trained. It is possible that they would have obtained additional training in either the US, UK or Europe. Their major hospitals are well equipped and would have achieved certification either by the Joint Commission of the US or the AHCS of Australia.

However on the flip side, countries such as Thailand have different infectious disease environments and epidemiology compared to Australia. The temperature, weather and humidity of tropical Thailand, facilitates the growth of a totally different and unfamiliar set of bugs, bacteria, viruses and fungi than what would thrive in the Australian environment. Being a surgical visitor to a tropical country without natural immunity is like walking into this lair of bacteria, viruses and fungi unprepared. It can be a potential disaster.

If you do contract an infection, the odds of this infection being caused by a drug resistant bacteria is higher in countries with a history of indiscriminate use of antibiotics. If your infection is caused by a ‘bug’ that is resistant to most antibiotics, even a simple infection can prove deadly.

Long haul flights back to Australia (flights greater than 8 hours) and decreased mobility following the surgery can predispose to a clot in the leg also known as Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT). If this clot spreads to the lungs causing a Pulmonary Embolus the outcome could be potentially fatal.

Australian workplace standards ensure appropriate staffing levels to avoid the overworked and fatigued staff compromising patient care. The same workplace standards cannot be expected overseas. The nurse to patient ratio and the postoperative nursing care may not comply with Australian Standards.

In the event of a complication following your cosmetic surgery, you will have to be totally reliant on the Australian Public Hospital system and on a Surgeon who may not be familiar with your circumstances. Patients who develop complications following cosmetic surgery overseas soon realise the costs of treating a surgical complication can be 10 -20 times the cost of the initial surgery and can take months to achieve an outcome that is at best sub optimal.

In short, although overseas may appear an appealing option when considering cosmetic surgery closer inspection may cause you to rethink. 

Do you have any questions related to cosmetic surgery and live in Sydney? If so I invite you to attend one of my free Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery information evenings. They usually run once every two months in either my Bondi Junction or Bella Vista practices. This is perfect for people who are not yet ready to commit to a one on one consultation but have some questions they’d like answered by a certified plastic surgeon. Come along and ask me questions directly in a friendly, small group setting. Click on the button below to learn more and register for your seat.

Plastic Surgeon Sydney Dr Naveen Somia information evening

Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Dr. Naveen Somia is a Sydney Plastic Surgeon who listens to his patients, understands their problems and works alongside them to help achieve their aesthetic goals by applying his skills and years of experience in Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery. A published author on Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, Naveen’s blog is aimed at helping you make the right choices and stay safe in your quest to look your personal best.