Caution: Plastic Surgery Tourism Part 1

There are many highly trained plastic surgeons across the world and often patients look to combine a holiday with their cosmetic surgery. This is often termed cosmetic or plastic surgery tourism.

The advent of the Internet and social media has made it even easier to access cosmetic surgery abroad. 

Patients may feel empowered to combine cosmetic surgery abroad with a postop recovery away from their normal country of residence. They feel that they can then return home having had not only a holiday but also with the ability to hide the fact that they have had cosmetic surgery. They rarely consider the choice of surgeon and even if this is considered it is often low on the priority list (Part 1). Patients must also consider the provider, communication barriers, the preop assessment, management of complications, aftercare and the hidden costs (Part 2).


Caution 1: – The surgeon


Patients need to enquire who the surgeon will be. This should be patient’s top priority when considering plastic surgery tourism. Patients should then have the ability to do their due diligence on the surgeon.

In the UK, there are easy ways to check the credentials of your plastic surgeon. Every plastic surgeon will be listed on the GMC specialist Register for Plastic surgery. Those who have successfully completed their plastic training within the UK will also have the FRCS(plast) exam and obtained their CCT. The British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) only offer full membership to those who have completed their training and are on the GMC specialist registrar for plastic surgery. Their peers vote in all members and these organizations offer the public a means of locating surgeons with suitable training. The BAPRAS and BAAPS websites are a valuable resource for patients and patients to find full members with ease.

Outside the UK it is very difficult to judge a plastic surgeons credentials from afar. Many plastic tourism procedures are booked through third party agencies and even when booked directly patients often do not have any direct contact with their surgeon prior to booking their holiday. 

All patients must consult with their surgeon before considering surgery and have the opportunity to do their research on their plastic surgeon before considering surgery. They must have time to reflect on this consultation and have the opportunity to postpone / cancel without any financial penalty. This is unfortunately rarely part of the plastic surgery tourism package. It remains an essential part of the UK GMC’s guidance for plastic surgery.


Mr. Ross is a plastic surgeon that underwent specific training in plastic surgery. Mr. Ross successfully completed his FRCS(plast), obtained his CCT and is listed on the GMC specialist Register for Plastic surgery (Number 4220633). Mr. Ross has a vast training in aesthetic surgery throughout his plastic surgery training including the techniques utilized in “cosmetic surgery”. Mr. Ross is a full member of BAAPS and BAPRAS and is regularly appraised on an annual basis. He has successfully revalidated and “cosmetic surgery” is an established part of his scope of practice. 

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