As complications from cosmetic tourism rise, UK and Turkish Plastic Surgeons Unite to Issue Consumer Guidelines
23 June 2023
Statement Issued by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons and TSPRAS (the Turkish Society of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons)
The significant increase in numbers of patients travelling abroad for aesthetic plastic surgery has been linked with consequent serious complications and even deaths. According to the BAAPS Annual Cosmetic Surgery Audit complications rose by 35% in 2022. BAAPS and TSPRAS have made an unprecedented joint statement due to concerns for patient welfare and safety.
BAAPS and TSPRAS understand and recognise that there will always be patients from different countries who will seek medical and surgical treatments abroad. There are a variety of reasons this may be so, but multiple reports have highlighted concerns that our two national societies share regarding standards of patient care. Undergoing any form of surgery risks experiencing a complication, no matter who the surgeons is or where it is performed, however, what these reports have highlighted is poor practice, unnecessary risk taking and potentially avoidable harm to patients.
President of BAAPS Marc Pacifico said; “Whilst in the United Kingdom recognised surgeons can be checked on the GMC Specialist Register and hospitals and clinics are regulated by the CQC, this is not the case in other countries.”
“BAAPS and TSPRAS have come together to draw up some advice and guidance for patients seeking surgery in Türkiye (Turkey), which has a large cosmetic tourism industry. The aim of this guidance is to help to protect patients from harm and ensure that they are aware of standards of care (both before and after surgery) that they should expect as a minimum.”
The two organisations strongly urge anyone from the UK considering travelling to Türkiye for cosmetic surgery to consider the following points:
- Any Turkish surgeon seen should be a member of TSPRAS (the Turkish Society of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons) - of which there is a member listing available online (https://www.plastikcerrahi.org.tr/doktor-arama/). If there is uncertainty regarding your surgeon’s qualifications or Society membership, you should email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Your surgeon in Türkiye should have Turkish board certification - you should be able to see their certificate on request.
- EBOPRAS membership (the European Board of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery) is desirable in your surgeon.
- Your surgeon should have been in practice in Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery for at least 5-years (as training is different in Türkiye)
- Your surgeon should offer you an aftercare plan.
- You should know the name of your surgeon and how to contact them if there is a problem.
- It is advisable to ask how long your surgeon has been working with their clinic or company - at least 3-years is recommended.
- Informed consent - it is compulsory in Türkiye to have a comprehensive consent form completed ahead of travel - if this does not happen it should raise concerns.
- Please double-check your surgeon about his/her specialty. In Türkiye – there are practitioners who claim to be plastic surgeons who are not, and other surgeons working outside their areas of training and specialty.
- We recommend that your surgeon performs your surgery in a fully recognised hospital, which might be, in Türkiye, identified by having at least 30-beds.
President of BAAPS Marc Pacifico added; “We hope that these guidelines will help patients with their research into surgeons and clinics in Türkiye and urge anyone to think carefully before considering surgery abroad.
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