The increasing popularity of cheap cosmetic surgery abroad has given rise to concerns about the availability of adequate aftercare for ‘botched’ plastic surgery in the sun.

Due to the current ‘nip and tuck’ tourism boom, many patients are being forced to pay thousands of pounds on top of the surgery abroad to correct the procedures on their return to the UK.

According to Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital, it is important for the public to understand the critical differences in care between reputable cosmetic surgeries and those that could have lasting negative effects on their health.

Mr Ian Whitworth, consultant plastic surgeon at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital, explains: “If the offer of cheap cosmetic surgery treatment plus a holiday sounds too good to be true, it probably is! A hospital or clinic with a good reputation will provide aftercare and follow-up appointments to check patients are recovering well from the surgery.

“It is worth bearing in mind that if the surgery is undertaken abroad there will be no emergency cover or follow-up care available, once the patient has returned to the UK. If the operation is performed locally it reduces the need to pay more or to travel for aftercare treatment.”

Current guidance from the General Medical Council (GMC) for cosmetic surgery recommends having two consultations with the surgeon who will treat you before any surgery, allowing for a cooling-off period of two weeks. The guidelines stress to never pay to go to a hospital you’ve never seen and a surgeon you’ve never met without any real understanding of what that surgeon can provide.

Mr Whitworth agrees: “Before committing to surgery, it is important to meet with your surgeon to discuss what you want to achieve. Any doctor can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon, when in fact they may not even be a qualified surgeon. A responsible surgeon will run through what the procedure involves, possible complications and side effects and give a realistic expectation of results.”

Despite media portrayal of quick and easy ‘lunchtime cosmetic procedures’, all treatments will require a period of recovery. For major surgery, such as a ‘tummy tuck’ (abdominoplasty), this can be a couple of months. Mr Whitworth adds: “If the patient is disappointed with the results once the swelling has reduced, they will either have to travel to be retreated or pay for further surgery here in the UK.”

The risk of developing deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism increases after major surgery and this risk is doubled if the patient flies home soon after an operation, especially a long haul flight.

The Nuffield Health Promise guarantees patients unlimited aftercare to ensure that the patient is happy with their treatment and the results every step of the way.

A member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), Mr Ian Whitworth has been working as a consultant plastic surgeon for more than 15 years at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital. Those interested in finding out more are invited to call the customer services team on 01202 375032.