What you should consider before having surgery overseas

surgery overseas
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.

Surgeon

  • 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?

Clinic/Hospital

  • 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

Aftercare

  • 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? 

Complications

  • 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?

Costs

  • 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?
Often the risks of having surgery overseas far outweigh any benefits or savings. Be informed, do your research and make a decision that best suits your health. Please call us on 03 8419 0900 to discuss any questions you might have.