All surgery carries risk, but it is important to do your research before hopping on a plane to get cheap plastic surgery. 

Although it can cost less than getting surgery in the UK, you need to bear in mind that the safety standards may not be the same. 

Holiday packages 

You should be cautious of any website that sell cosmetic surgery as part of a holiday, the NHS warns. 

Some websites sell the idea of sightseeing alongside hotels with breakfast included. 

NHS advice adds that if you are looking at holiday packages make sure you have a consultation with a surgeon and don’t just meet a salesperson. 

The health service adds that you should not pay to see a surgeon you have never met.  

The Royal College of Surgeons of England also echoes the NHS’s concerns and advises to not agree to cosmetic surgery before meeting the surgeon and visiting the hospital.

UK plastic surgeon Veerle Rotsaert said: ‘Travelling long-haul overseas to have surgery done, followed by no proper aftercare, that’s where often things go wrong.

‘Often third party agencies sell surgery without any surgeon ever seeing the patient in person and having a proper consultation until it is actually surgery day.’

Extra costs

Many of the surgeries offered overseas in countries such as Turkey are more affordable than private clinics in the UK.

However, there could be hidden costs. 

The Royal College of Surgeons of England urges people to consider the cost for additional flights and hotel stays for future corrective, or touch-up procedures.

It also warns patients to consider what might happen overseas if they pay ahead of time but change their mind before the operation as their right to a refund could vary in different countries. 

Choosing the right surgeon

Surgeons and clinics are regulated differently in different countries and standards can vary.

Before traveling abroad for surgery the NHS says you should ask if the surgeon is fully trained in the surgery you want and how long they have been practicing for. 

The surgeon should also be fully insured to carry out the surgery you want, says the Royal College of Surgeons of England. It suggests asking to see details of the surgeons insurance. 

It is also vital you have a proper consultation with your surgeon before you consent to having the surgery, experts warn.

Risks of flying 

Flying and having major surgery increases your risk of getting a blood clot, which can be life threatening. 

As a result, the NHS warns people should wait five to seven days to fly after procedures such as breast surgery and liposuction and wait seven to 10 days to fly after facial cosmetic procedures or tummy tucks.

However, some surgeons suggest waiting between two to six weeks before flying depending on the procedure. 

Dr Rotsaert explained: ‘This is because first of all, you want patients to stay relatively close to their surgeon in case of any immediate post-op issues.’

He added: Secondly because of the deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism risk associated with the act of surgery, it’s aftermath, as well as prolonged immobilisation.’

Drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and walking about during your flight can help circulation, but this doesn’t completely remove the risk of a blood clot especially having major surgery, the British Association of Plastic Reconstruction and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS). 


Follow up care after your surgery is an important part of your treatment. But traveling abroad can make it more complicated. 

Before getting surgery outside of the UK consider how long it would take you to travel back to your surgeon if there is a complication, says the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Make sure you have a contact for a named doctor that can deal with any complications, rather than a helpline, experts warn. 

You need to also make sure the clinic will deal with any problems and that they will help if you are not happy with your outcome. 

In many cases the NHS will not help you unless you have a serious complication which requires emergency or life-saving support. 

Source: NHS, BAPRAS and Royal College of Surgeons England. 

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