A journey into the unknown? Why breast augmentation abroad is not a good idea.
One factor that often plays a role is the cost. Here there is the frequent consideration of patients to have the procedure performed in a clinic in a country that offers breast augmentation at a much lower cost than we do here in Switzerland.
Breast augmentation is a complex, personal operation, which is not only for me as a surgeon, associated with a high level of responsibility, but is also carried out with us with a highly specialized preparation and team.
The idea of combining the necessary with the useful, i.e. taking a vacation at the same time to recover from the stress of the treatment, also seems tempting. But is it really worthwhile to travel a long way for a cosmetic operation or do the disadvantages outweigh the cost savings?
- Language barriers and lack of aftercare
- Caution with cheap offers on the Internet
- The psychological pressure to follow through
- If in doubt, don’t do it
Language barriers and lack of follow-up care
First things first: I have the greatest respect for the highly qualified foreign colleagues. I myself completed my basic training in my home country of Greece and was able to experience excellent training in breast surgery. In addition, plastic surgery lives through the exchange with colleagues from all over the world and enriches our horizons every time. This year, training courses and congresses will take me to France, England, the USA and Turkey, among other places, for the World Congress of Plastic Surgery.
Aesthetic plastic surgery requires an unrestricted, intimate relationship of trust between doctor and patient. Due to language barriers, misunderstandings or insufficient information about possible risks can easily occur. Preliminary discussions, which usually take place over the phone, if at all, can hardly form the necessary basis of trust. Neither are detailed preliminary examinations possible, nor can the patient be given sufficient time to think things over. Such a procedure is extremely unserious, because the patient must be given the opportunity to be able to process the information from the preliminary discussion, in order to become clear whether under these conditions and the possible risks an operation is still an option.
In the case of cosmetic surgery, it is of utmost importance that the patient and the doctor can exchange detailed information about expectations and possibilities. If language barriers make this impossible, subsequent corrections are often necessary because the operation did not produce the result desired by the patient.
Caution with cheap offers on the Internet
On the Internet, you can find numerous cheap offers and mediation agencies that lure you with full-bodied promises. In most cases, these are dubious providers where quality deficiencies in the treatment or clinic are highly likely due to the low price.
Price savings cannot always be fully explained by higher operating and labor costs. Equipment (e.g. for liposuction) or breast implants are manufactured by a few companies and are associated with the same acquisition costs for clinics abroad as in Switzerland. One must always ask oneself how a sometimes threefold lower price can come about and whether costs are possibly saved to the detriment of the patient. Especially when it comes to physical health, quality should be the top priority.
Often also hidden costs, like e.g. switching fees or not included aftercare examinations, drive the treatment price afterwards in the height. For this reason, it is essential to steer clear of such offers and to contact the clinics in question directly or to obtain neutral expert opinions.
The psychological pressure to follow through
Once an operation is booked abroad, the pressure to perform it is enormous. One hardly has a chance to refrain from the treatment. After all, a trip has already been booked and the surgery paid for.
The independently operated organization effort leads in the final effect to wanting to receive a reward. Spontaneously backing out when abroad would be tantamount to failure.
Even if deficiencies regarding the clinic are noticeable or even the relationship with the attending physician is not based on trust or sympathy, many patients still enter into surgery. They feel urged to do so by the external circumstances, but accept treatment because the organization including travel and planned recovery time abroad suggest a vacation.
Especially with regard to cosmetic surgery, it is important to consider all the necessary factors that affect health. Psychologically perceived pressure works against the principles of a free decision, but they are decisive and relevant for the general well-being.
If in doubt, don’t do it
The decision for a cosmetic operation abroad can therefore be significantly more expensive than initially assumed. The consideration of accepting the initially seemingly higher financial expenditure of an operation performed in Switzerland for the sake of one’s health appears to be important and sensible.
Foreign specialists may well have professional competence and the clinics are not poorly equipped in every case. For this reason, careful information about the doctor and clinic is indispensable should you decide to have an operation abroad. As soon as the slightest doubt about competence or quality arises, it is better to refrain from an operation in any case.
Caution is advised in case of:
- too cheap treatment price (e.g. breast augmentation under 3000€)
- no verifiability of the medical qualification and experience
- communication difficulties with the doctor
- insufficient or missing risk information
- aftercare not included in the treatment price
- Pre-examination and surgery date too close to each other
- inadequate equipment and hygiene standards of the clinic
- promise to be able to go home the day after the surgery
In principle, one’s own health should be paramount and a decision should never be taken lightly. It is always better to keep the risks as low as possible, but the quality as high as possible, even if this involves higher costs.