Cosmetic surgery abroad: Your questions answered
Thinking of having cosmetic surgery abroad? We’ve spoken exclusively to Dr Adam Kalecinski, expert plastic surgeon with more than 16 years experience specialising in cosmetic surgery from Europe Surgery, to answer some of your most common queries about having a nip and tuck overseas…
Lengthy NHS waiting lists and rising costs for private healthcare in the UK are causing many people to consider going abroad for cosmetic surgery. From boob jobs to face lifts, if you’ve decided that you want to take the plunge and go under the knife outside of the country, it’s essential that you’re clued up on what to expect from surgery overseas.
With its strictly controlled cosmetic surgery laws, Poland is now internationally regarded as a highly reputable destination for low cost, high quality cosmetic surgery. And that’s precisely why at home have teamed up Dr Adam Kalecinski, a British GMC registered surgeon who has completed over 10,000 cosmetic procedures, from Europe Surgery in Poland to find out what you need to know about having cosmetic surgery abroad.
Q: How do I know if my surgeon is qualified to do the procedures?
A: Good overseas surgeons who work a lot with British patients are registered with the British General Medical Council. This enables the surgeon to speak on the phone to you whilst you are in the UK. It is possible to look surgeons up on the British General Medical Council website www.gmc-uk.org. They should also be registered in their own country, in order to operate.
Q: I am a bit worried that going for surgery abroad might mean I can’t understand or explain things clearly to the surgeon. Is this sometimes the case?
A: Good communication is essential when undergoing surgery. You need to be 100% happy with your surgeon, the procedure and you should know exactly what to expect. Therefore it is very important that you choose a surgeon that speaks good English, so that you can ask questions and understand the answers.
Q: I’m considering having cosmetic surgery – but what happens if I change my mind when I get there?
A: Remember, you can change your mind, right up to the time you go into your surgery. No reputable surgeon should impose any penalty for cancellations. I personally, insist on a full consultation and tour of my clinic before any decision to commit to surgery is made and the decision to proceed is entirely at the patient’s discretion. My patients pay no deposit prior to travelling to Poland and only make payment once they have met me, viewed the clinic and had any questions answered to their satisfaction. You should be very wary of any companies who ask for large deposits or payments prior to meeting the surgeon and/or visiting the clinic.
Q: Will my treatment include good aftercare?
A: Aftercare is always an important consideration. There are some procedures which require a high level of aftercare. For example, all my patients stay in my clinic overnight after intravenous sedation or general anaesthetic so that they can be closely monitored. After rhinoplasty, I see patients every morning for six days post procedure to check that the nose is healing correctly. Other procedures require drains that need to be checked regularly by trained medical staff. It is important for you to find out what aftercare your particular clinic offers you while abroad.
Q: If I am unhappy with any aspect of my surgery what should I expect?
A: Prior to surgery, it is important to establish what effect the surgery is likely to achieve so that you have realistic expectations of what the operation would mean for you. A good surgeon will clearly outline what the procedure entails, the limitations of the procedure and any potential complications prior to surgery. However, if there is genuine concern post -surgery any good surgeon would be happy to consult with you further to agree a suitable course of action if one is required. General medical advice is not to re-operate for at least 5 months after a procedure in order to allow the body to heal. You should find out what costs and procedures are involved in the unlikely circumstance that reparative treatment is necessary.
Q: What should I do to prepare for surgery?
A: For two days before any procedure you should not eat meals including garlic, ginger, ginseng and ginkgo, as they tend to thin the blood and therefore increase bleeding. It is important not to take Aspirin two weeks before any procedure.Patients undergoing procedures that involve intravenous sedation or general anaesthetic should not eat or drink on the day of surgery. However, it is important that on the day before this you eat well and drink lots of fluids (not alcohol, tea or coffee) to ensure that you are fully hydrated for the day of the operation.
Q: How can I find out about my surgeon before I travel?
A: Obviously, if a friend has been for surgery with your chosen surgeon, this is the ideal situation enabling you to find out as much as possible before you travel somewhere. Forums can be useful but you have to be careful as they are rife with companies who write pretending to be patients who have been for surgery. You should then take what is written on forum sites bearing this in mind. Some companies have Facebook sites where you can tell that there are genuine post-surgery patients for you to communicate with.
Q: What sort of holiday will I have if I go abroad for my cosmetic surgery?
A: It is important to rest after you have had any surgery. Ideally arrange to travel with someone else, who is supportive of you having the surgery but that also wants a restful relaxing time away. Long sight-seeing trips and shopping trips are not appropriate after most procedures. Make sure you have chosen a hotel or apartment that you really like and will enjoy staying in. Of course, after most procedures, you will be able to have a tea/ coffee in a bar or café after a couple of days but your focus should be on recovering fully from your treatment by relaxing and giving your body the chance to heal.
Q: What quality standards can I expect from a clinic abroad?
A: Standards will vary from one clinic to another wherever you are in the world. My clinic was built recently in April 2009. Because Poland is part of the EU there were strict EU standards that had to be met for its construction. My clinic has never had MRSA and adheres to very high hygiene protocols and standards. The percentage cases of MRSA are significantly less in Poland and the Czech Republic than in the UK. As a dedicated cosmetic surgeon, my key priority is patient satisfaction as a result of highly skilled, high quality cosmetic surgery.
Q: But does lower cost mean lower quality?
A: No. There are good cosmetic surgeons all over the world but the cost of living varies between countries. The cost of living in a country like Poland – where I operate – is lower, therefore my costs are lower (the wages of the reception staff, nurses and cleaners are probably lower than in the UK). I own my own clinic, which is practically unheard of in the UK because the price for surgeons there would just be too high. This means that surgeons in the UK have to pay large organisations a lot of money to hire operation theatres and clinics. All of this means that there are savings for you as the patient. However very low prices in comparison to other clinics abroad could mean that the particular surgeon or clinic has dropped the price so low because they are unable to get any patients any other way and this would not be a good sign.
About our experts
Europe Surgery, a market leader for cosmetic surgery in Europe, has clinics and hospitals, which are clean, hygienic, ultra-modern, and facilities that are of the highest specification. The cosmetic surgery clinic in Poland is located just minutes from Wroclaw airport which is serviced by both Ryanair and Wizz Air from a number of airports in the UK and Ireland, including London and East Midlands. The gastric band procedure is performed in a hospital close to Brussels airport.
On arrival for cosmetic surgery, they are more than happy to collect you from the airport free of charge and transport you to a beautiful hotel of your choice or to our lovely self-catered apartment just opposite the clinic. The apartment has great facilities including TV, movies and wifi to help you relax during your stay For more information, visit europesurgery.uk.com.