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Why Travelling Abroad for a Mummy Makeover Can be Dangerous

Although travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery may seem very appealing, there are risks of having surgery abroad which are important to consider.

Tagged: Body & Breast

Author: Mr. Bryan Mayou, MB ChB FRCS

Date: 9th February 2024

Medically Reviewed by:  Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396)

Last reviewed: 9th February 2024

What is Medical Tourism?

Medical tourism is when people travel abroad to undergo medical treatment. This is often due to costs for various medical treatments being lower in other countries or to access a medical treatment that isn’t available anywhere else.  

Whilst some overseas destinations can provide excellent healthcare services (e.g. USA), there are safety concerns associated with travelling abroad for medical treatment, and regulations and safety standards are not consistent globally.  

Before travelling abroad for any medical procedure, it is important that you understand the risks and how they may impact your surgery. 

Why Would I Have a Mummy Makeover Abroad?

Many women feel self-conscious about the appearance of their body following pregnancy and childbirth. This can lead to them considering cosmetic surgery to address their concerns. Mummy Makeover is a combination of cosmetic procedures which tackle cosmetic concerns following pregnancy and childbirth and aim to restore a pre-pregnancy body.  

There are a few factors which influence a patient’s decision to seek Mummy Makeover surgery abroad:

  • Price – due to the extent and complexity of Mummy Makeover surgery, the prices in the UK are often high. Many patients consider having surgery abroad as the prices are often significantly lower (even once travel has been factored in), making the procedure more accessible. 
  • Shorter waiting times – Some patients find that they are able to access surgery sooner by travelling abroad than waiting for a surgeon in the UK.  
  • Combining travel and treatment – Being able to combine surgery and recovery with a holiday is a big draw for many people.

Although these factors may seem very appealing, there are risks of having surgery abroad which are important to consider. 

What Are the Risks of Having a Mummy Makeover Overseas?

Unfortunately, there have been many stories in the press about the complications that patients have experienced when travelling overseas for surgical procedures. Impressive online marketing can often hide an unregulated and unqualified medical professional, drawing people in for surgery without the correct preparation and checks.

Risks of having a Mummy Makeover abroad include:

  • Quality and safety concerns – Medical care standards are not the same all over the world. It can often be difficult to verify that a clinic or surgeon in another country is fully regulated and that they have equivalent qualifications to a surgeon in the UK. 
  • Communication barriers – Language differences can make it difficult for healthcare providers and patients to communicate effectively. Good communication is crucial for healthcare to be safe. 
  • Postoperative care – Recovery and aftercare support are a vital part of the surgical process. If you have concerns or questions after you have travelled home, you may not have access to comprehensive aftercare professionals. 
  • Travel risks – Flying (especially long distances) following surgery can increase your risk of blood clots or DVT. This can be life-threatening, and you may not be able to access the correct healthcare quickly compared to having surgery in your home country. 
  • Legal resources – If complications occur, or you are a victim of medical malpractice, it is much harder to seek legal recourse from another country. Unfortunately, one of the factors that means many of these surgeons keep practising and drawing new patients in is because previous patients who have suffered problems have been unable to bring a legal challenge forward. 

Why Are Mummy Makeovers Popular in Turkey?

One of the main destinations outside of the UK for all cosmetic surgery (including Mummy Makeover) is Turkey. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Low pricing – in comparison to other Western countries, surgery in Turkey is much more affordable due to the lack of regulation, the weak Turkish lira and the low cost of living. If you are considering a surgery such as Mummy Makeover, which can often have a high price due to the extent of the surgery, Turkey’s prices can be very appealing. 
  • Good quality healthcare – although lightly regulated and with widely varying quality standards, Turkey has invested in its medical infrastructure, and there are some modern and well-equipped medical facilities offering high healthcare standards. 
  • Government support – The government in Turkey has heavily promoted the awareness of medical tourism, bringing in policies to encourage people to visit Tukey for surgery. 
  • English speaking medical professionals – English is widely spoken throughout Turkey’s medical field, especially in major cities and reputable medical institutions.

Although these reasons all sound very positive, it is still very important to do your research when considering surgery in Turkey and ensure your surgeon and hospital are safe and reputable. 

Reasons to Rethink Having a Mummy Makeover in Turkey

Having surgery in Turkey may seem very appealing thanks to low prices and government policies encouraging medical tourism. However, it is important to understand why surgery in Turkey may not be as beneficial as it seems. 
 
Untrustworthy Marketing

The UK’s Advertising Regulator, the ASA, has recently, as of February 2024, released an enforcement notice specifically targeting the advertising of cosmetic surgery abroad due to its repeated breach of UK standard guidelines. The notice reports that foreign medical tourism cosmetic surgery providers, many of them Turkish, misstate the fundamentals of their proposition and make it hard for potential customers to choose a responsible, safe provider, and specifically  

  • Trivialise the decision to have cosmetic surgery. 
  • Do not adequately manage expectations around risks and results, and do not provide transparency around the details of consultations and the patient journey. 
  • Do not advertise in a socially responsible manner. 
  • Do not exercise caution around promotions and offer irresponsible discounts. 

Consultation

Many patients report that they had online consultations with their surgeon or via WhatsApp, and then only meet them in person a few days before their procedure. This means there isn’t a significant cooling off period to allow you to consider your Mummy Makeover properly and make a thought through procedure. In comparison, at Cadogan Clinic you will have up to two in person consultations with your surgeon, and a dedicated patient advisor to help you with any questions you have in the run up to your surgery. 

Regulation

Unless you are an expert in Turkish medical law, it may be very hard to guarantee that your surgeon and their clinic are fully regulated and safe. Many surgeons and clinics have impressive marketing with claims about regulation and safety, however it may not always be possible to find out what the equivalent level of training is in the UK. In the UK, we have a regulatory body called the Care Quality Commission (CQC), who inspect all hospitals and medical facilities to ensure they are safe and being run to a high standard. 

Postoperative Care

As we touched on earlier, although you should receive care during your immediate recovery following your Mummy Makeover, you may not be given a direct contact when you return to the UK. This can lead to delays in any concerns or complications being treated. At Cadogan Clinic, all patients have 24/7 access to our specialist cosmetic nurses via telephone.

Including the other risks discussed above, although considering a Mummy Makeover in Turkey can seem very appealing, there are important considerations to take into account that may mean travelling to Turkey for surgery is considerably riskier than undergoing surgery in the UK. 


Why is Surgery Cheaper in Turkey than the UK?

Although we have covered some of the risks of travelling abroad for surgery, including lower prices, it is important to consider why surgery prices are so much lower than in the UK.

There are several main reasons for this:

  • Weak Turkish Lira – the British Pound, and other international currencies, almost all go further in Turkey than they do at home  
  • Light touch regulation – has the impact of massively reducing overheads for providers, and lowering the barriers to entry for lower quality surgeons and clinics to enter the market and drive prices down 
  • Lower cost of living – this brings down all costs, but in particular cost of staffing, including surgeons and nurses 
  • Government support and subsidy – The Turkish government has actively promoted medical tourism and encouraged people to travel from abroad for cosmetic surgery, and subsidised provider marketing costs. 
  • Economies of scale – The number of patients globally who had medical procedures in Turkey in 2022 is up to 1.2 million, with most of these being cosmetic. When this many surgeries are being performed, prices can be kept very low.

Bearing in mind the government are encouraging people to take on international patients, and the number of people travelling to Turkey for surgery is so high, it is very hard to guarantee safety as clinics and surgeons are benefitting financially from medical tourism. In comparison, in the UK, although prices are higher, you can be confident that your surgeon will not be operating on a dangerous number of people each day. 

Mummy Makeover Abroad Checklist

If you are considering having Mummy Makeover surgery abroad, there are some important questions you need to ask to make sure you keep yourself safe.

  • Am I more likely to have a complication if I travel abroad for surgery? 
  • Are there any special risks of travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery? 
  • How do I know the surgeon is properly trained? 
  • How do I know if the clinic is clean and safe? 
  • Why is surgery sometimes cheaper abroad than in the UK?

When preparing for surgery anywhere, it is important that you fully trust the surgeon undertaking your surgery and the clinic where it will take place. If you have any questions or doubts, it is important to rethink your surgery plan and maybe consider somewhere else. 


Words From Our Founder

Mr. Bryan Mayou

Choosing to undergo Mummy Makeover surgery requires careful consideration. While seeking treatment abroad may seem appealing due to low prices, it's crucial for patients to prioritise safety and optimal outcomes. Travelling too soon after this procedure can pose serious risks to recovery and impact the final results. Additionally, safety standards and aftercare protocols may vary abroad, leading to potential complications. It's essential for patients to choose a reputable surgeon and facility locally, ensuring they receive the highest level of care and support throughout their Mummy Makeover journey.
Mr. Bryan Mayou

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