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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
Surgical holidays 'spoiling lives'
Surgery
Not all cosmetic surgeons are fully qualified
Britons tempted by surgical package holidays are risking huge medical bills and permanent disfigurement, a top UK plastic surgeon has warned.

The high cost of cosmetic procedures in the UK has led many patients to seek surgery abroad.

Dr Norman Waterhouse, vice-president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), told 4x4 Reports foreign cut-price operations were fraught with complications.

"I had a patient who was torn to bits in Istanbul, another who went to Cuba whose facelift was a disaster.

Dr Norman Waterhouse
Dr Norman Waterhouse: Aftercare is essential
"I have no records to go on - it's horrendous.

"Cosmetic surgery needs excellent aftercare.

"How can you get good aftercare when your surgeon is thousands of miles away?"

Dr Waterhouse said patients were placing their lives in the hands of surgeons who they often would not see until they were on the operating table.

"Plastic surgery is as serious as any other surgery. You have to trust your surgeon 100%.

"I see my patients twice before the operation and up to six months after it."

Magazine adverts

A rash of companies has sprung up offering package holidays complete with surgery at half the UK price.

Many of the vacations are advertised in women's health magazines.


Why would you go to a country where you can't check out the credentials of the surgeon or even speak the language?

Wendy Lewis, Cosmetic surgery consultant

Treatment at foreign clinics guarantees secrecy to those who do not wish their families to know about their operation.

However, if surgery abroad goes wrong it can be very difficult to pursue a case through the courts.

Medical negligence expert Diana Kloss said: "To take a case against a foreign company or surgeon you would need to find a lawyer from that country, then an expert witness who speaks their language."

American Wendy Lewis, known to many in the industry as "the queen of cosmetic surgery", runs a consultation business which seeks to match clients with reputable surgeons worldwide.

She urges caution with countries at the cheaper end of the market.

"Why would you go to a country where you can't check out the credentials of the surgeon or even speak the language?

"If you want your surgery to be successful, why use a cheap surgeon?"

4x4 Reports: Cosmetic Surgery


See also:

08 Aug 01 | Health
09 May 01 | Health
08 May 01 | Health

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