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Thinking of Having Cosmetic Surgery Abroad?

All surgery has risks attached, whether you have it in the UK or abroad. If you're considering cosmetic surgery abroad, do lots of research as standards and guidelines vary from country to country.

Often, cosmetic surgery abroad is less expensive compared with the UK. However, you should weigh up any cost savings with the possible risks and think about what will happen if there are complications, either immediately after the procedure or later on. Think about who will look after you and whether you will have to travel abroad again.

Read more information below. 

Beware of cosmetic-surgery tourism

exclamation markBeware of any hospital which markets cosmetic surgery as part of a holiday package. Do not agree to cosmetic surgery before meeting the surgeon carrying out the procedure and visiting the hospital where the procedure will take place.

Are there any language barriers that could prevent good communication and discussion about your procedure?

Make sure your surgeon speaks English or another language you speak well enough. This is so you can fully discuss your surgery and that they are able to answer any questions you have. 


Find out about all the planned and possible costs. Will you have to travel abroad for possible future surgery or if anything does not go to plan? Ask what happens if you change your mind after you have paid some or all of the costs.

Choosing a surgeon

surgeon and hospital When choosing a surgeon abroad, you should look for the same skills and experience as you would if you were choosing a surgeon in the UK. Find out more about choosing a surgeon here. The surgeon should also be fully insured to carry out the procedure. You can ask to see details of your surgeon’s insurance.

You may need to travel a long distance home after a procedure. Aftercare is not always straightforward. Some of the overseas clinics don't have someone in the UK that you can turn to if there are any problems after your surgery.

Questions to ask yourself

If you are thinking of having cosmetic surgery abroad, you should ask yourself the same questions as if you were thinking of having cosmetic surgery in the UK. Download a list of questions to ask yourself.

Research the procedure

scalpelResearch what the procedure will involve in terms of consultations, the procedure itself, risks, complications and aftercare. For specific information on your procedure see About your procedure.

Your consultation with the surgeon

surgeon and patient talkingMake sure that you talk to the surgeon who will be performing your procedure before you give your consent to have surgery. Only that surgeon should advise you about the procedure. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Reputable surgeons and staff will be happy to discuss everything with you. Be wary of surgeons and hospitals that do not want to discuss the details of surgery with you.

Read more about the consultation and what to ask your surgeon.

What would my aftercare package include?

Follow-up care is an important part of your treatment. Consider where your check-ups will take place. If there is a complication, how easily can you travel back to where the surgery was carried out, and how much will this cost?

You should be clear, before your surgery, on what your aftercare package includes and what is not included, what will happen if something does not go to plan, what will happen if something goes wrong immediately after surgery,  and how long the surgeon and hospital will continue to support you. Make sure you have the contact details of a named doctor who can deal with any complications rather than a helpline.

What will happen if I have complications?

Talk to the surgeon and hospital staff about what will happen if something doesn’t go according to plan, or if you are unhappy with your result.

  • Ask the surgeon and the hospital what insurance they have and what it will, and will not cover you for. Who will pay if something does not go to plan? When booking your travel insurance, find out what it will and will not cover you for. Ordinary travel or holiday insurance will not cover you if something goes wrong during or after planned treatment abroad.
  • Find out who you should contact if you have any problems or are unhappy with your outcome. This should be a named doctor who can deal with any complications rather than a helpline.
  • Find out how you will be looked after, how long the surgeon and the hospital will give you support, and how much the treatment will cost.
  • Ask who will deal with any problems and what will happen if you are not happy with your outcome.

Remember, the NHS is unlikely to help you, unless you have a serious complication which needs emergency or life-saving treatment. 

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