27 June 2019
Medical tourism is worth the risk say 1 in 4 millennials
One in four millennials say they would risk having cut-price surgery abroad in a bid to get the perfect body, new research shows.
The market for ‘medical tourism’ is continuing to grow as the generation who grew up with the picture perfect pressures of social media say they would have work done on holiday despite the potential dangers of clinics they know do not adhere to strict UK standards.
Nearly nine out of the ten (88 per cent) willing to have invasive work done admit knowing that procedures, clinics and surgeons abroad are less regulated then clinics at home and that some will willingly carry out procedures deemed so dangerous they have been banned in the UK.
A further 15 per cent said it was worth running the risk of infection, deformity and life-threatening conditions in the quest to ‘look good’.
The research was commissioned by law firm, Slater and Gordon, who have seen a steady rise in the number of clients seeking help after cut-price medical procedures, they believed to be safe, have gone wrong overseas.
Worryingly, 19 per cent of those who said they would have a cosmetic procedure while on holiday, falsely believed their travel insurance would cover them if anything went wrong.
Isabel Bathurst, a specialist travel lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “It is a common misconception that travel insurance would cover any damage left by inferior surgery aboard but this is simply not the case. Many people find they have been left with horrendous injuries and on-going issues, with only the NHS to turn to for help. And these, often, are the lucky ones.
“Essentially the only things that can really protect you from rogue surgeons or cow-boy outfits, is carrying out your own vigorous background checks and really considering if the money you are saving by not having the procedure in carefully vetted clinics in the UK, is worth the risk to your health.”
Correcting the damaging affects of botched surgery abroad has cost the NHS £30million over the past five years, as patients have no-where else to turn to for help when they return home, often just days after major surgery.
Complications can include anything from disfigurement, which requires multiple corrective surgeries, to contracting sepsis from unhygienic procedures and a severe lack of after care.
Isabel Bathurst, added: “All surgeries can carry risks but when you combine traveling to a foreign country, clinic and surgeon for invasive cosmetic work, the risk of potentially life changing complications, becomes much higher.
“In the UK, plastic surgeons are required to be registered and adhere to standards set by the General Medical Council. They can then be vetted as they are listed on a database available to the public. This is not the case in other countries, who might not hold the same set of standards that we do in the UK.
"Simple but very important details, like the cleanliness and safety of a clinic are things that we can take for granted in the UK. Sadly we have seen many clients who have arrived at clinics which would never be able to operate within the UK and employ surgeons who would not pass the vigorous vetting process."
One in 10 millennials said that comparing themselves to others has made them consider having plastic surgery to alter their appearance and 42 per cent said they had been subjected to nasty comments about their appearance within the last 12 months.
Over half of these comments were made on social media.
17 per cent of those who said they would have surgery outside of the UK, liked the idea of keeping the aesthetic procedure a secret from their family and 15 per cent saw it as a good thing to incorporate, while on their yearly holiday.
Of the 1650 millennials surveyed, one in four said they were much more likely to consider extreme ways of altering their appearance after receiving negative comments from others.
Nearly one in four admit to have thought about having cosmetic work done more than once.
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