According to the Sun, Sea, Sand, Silicone Project, Australians spend $300 million a year on cosmetic surgery tourism. That is 15,000 Australian travelling overseas every year to have procedures performed.
While it may seem like a prudent decision in terms of budget or even the ability to combine a holiday and surgery to make the most of time off work, it’s essential that you consider all aspects and make an informed and safe decision.
- Is the surgeon appropriately qualified, experienced and accredited?
- Is the surgeon accredited with ISAPS – do they have some form of internationally-recognised qualification?
- Are you confident that your surgeon will supervise your recovery?
- Do you have the opportunity to discuss your surgery, in person, with your surgeon prior to the procedure?
- Do you feel comfortable asking any and all questions about your surgery and aftercare?
- Have all the risks and possible complications been explained to you?
- Do you understand what your surgery involves?
- Have you received the right information about your surgery and been provided enough time to give informed consent?
- Has there been at least one week between appointments so you have been provided adequate time to consider surgery and make an informed decision?
- Did you actually meet your surgeon or was the initial visit with a nurse or administration person?
- Is your surgery being performed in a reputable clinic or hospital?
- Are the medical standards or care and quality control requirements at least on par with Australia?
- Have you been assured that the products and devices used meet Australian standards eg. Breast implants used in Australia must meet strict standards regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)
- Does the clinic or hospital meet appropriate international standards?
- Staff that are qualified and experienced
- Sterilisation of equipment
- Drug integrity
- Infection control
- Follow up procedures
- In particular, do you understand the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) when travelling on long-haul flights post-surgery?
- Have you taken this into consideration when arranging your post-operative length of stay overseas?
- Once you return to Australia, what is the plan for follow-up care if required?
- Have you been informed about post-operative care and what to do if complication arise after your surgery?
- What happens if something goes wrong as a result of the overseas procedure/surgery?
- Do you have a plan for what you will do in the event of post-operative problems?
- Are you aware of the potential complications of pursuing legal action in a foreign jurisdiction?
- Are all of your costs covered in any package a cosmetic/plastic surgeon tourism company offers?
- Do you have/need sufficient medical travel insurance in additional to the standard travel insurance? Are any particular procedures/surgeries excluded?
- Where will you be financially if things go wrong? What other costs do you need to consider?
- Did you receive a full, written financial account, including all out of pocket expenses – the surgeon, anaesthetist, assistant and hospital theatre and facility costs?