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Despite regular warnings from medical professionals many Australia’s still risk their health and travel overseas for cosmetic procedures. When looking at the marketing material it is easy to see why people chose this option but reality often does not live up to expectations. Thailand is a beautiful country for a holiday but we do not recommend mixing surgery with a holiday. One of our lovely clients travelled to Thailand at a very young age for breast augmentation. Just 4 years later, after many years of being unhappy with the outcome of surgery, she has had her implants removed and replaced by Dr Glenn Murray. She has shared her experience through the below list ’11 things I wish I had known before my botched Thailand breast surgery”
- Finding information on the surgeon that had been allocated to me regarding where they studied and how long they have been practicing is hard and the only information I was able to find was on the Medical Tourism company’s website/ blogs and social media sites. I chose my surgeon purely on all the ‘good’ reviews I found online.
- You have your pre-op testing only the day before your procedure that includes a blood test and a chest x-ray. They do not prepare you or advise you that If anything abnormal appears in your blood, you cannot go ahead with your procedure. This happened to a lady on my group tour and you can imagine how she felt hearing this news after having travelled for 7 hours overseas and having spent the money on the flights and accommodation.
- They do not advise you of what you should or should not be taking before your procedure in the forms of medications or vitamins and are not strict about smoking and alcohol consumption pre/post-surgery.
- There is a high possibility that you will receive counterfeit replica and low-quality implants and not the brand that is advertised through the Medical Tourism company that you think you are paying for. Once you are asleep you have no idea what the surgeons and nurses are doing. The surgeons can rush the procedure be less attentive to detail as they squeeze in as many patients as they can in one day. This carelessness caused me problems mentally, financially and medically only 3 years on from my surgery.
- If you are worried about your incisions, or if you are experiencing anything you think may be abnormal within the first couple of days post-surgery, you surgeon is not available to contact and there are no nurses available to speak to as you are in a hotel. You cannot have your mind put at ease and you must wait for your scheduled follow up appointments at the hospital to address these issues with your doctor.
- You only have 2 follow up appointments post-surgery, including day 1 where they check your dressings and a day 5 where they take your dressings off, pull the stitches out and send you away with a bag of foreign medication. You are given no instructions for care when you arrive home and for the months/years following your procedure.
- It is almost certain that you will get travel sickness- You can become very ill from travelling in the car to and from the hospital and to various locations whilst in Thailand. You feel dizzy and fatigued and can even vomit. It’s horrible as the vomiting is extremely painful as it causes movement in the chest where you have just had a major operation. It is hard to get any medication for this in the chemists as they do not understand English very well.
- The potential danger of travelling so soon post-surgery with risks of blood clots and death. The consultants tell you its fine to travel and that it is an old wives’ tale that it can cause complications. I didn’t end up having my surgery until day 5 of the trip and so I was only 5 days post-surgery before I flew home, I remember being on the plane and the feeling from all the pressure was unbearable.
- When you have questions or concerns after arriving home from your surgery, you are ignored. The medical tourism company don’t reply to your emails promptly and avoid taking your calls at the best of times. It is nearly impossible to speak to someone directly and you generally will not get a response within the same day. This caused me so much distress and panic and made me feel very alone. The consultants tell you that as they have to liase with the hospital and surgeon on your behalf you have to wait for them to receive the response from the hospital before they contact you with the information. There is no direct contact with your surgeon and they don’t contact you to check on how your recovery process is going.
- Your comments and questions get deleted on the social media “support group” pages that are meant to be for all the patients that travel to discuss and share their experiences. If your comments about your experience with the company, the hospital and the results of your surgery are not 100% positive they are instantly deleted, and you are told that you should not be talking about the negatives on the page and to keep your comments to yourself. They do an excellent job at hiding the reality of overseas travel from the public and make the people who have bad experiences feel embarrassed to talk up about it.
- The Medical Tourism consultants are practically travel agents and get kickbacks/commission for every patient that chooses to travel overseas to have surgery through the company.
Complications can happen to anyone but you can reduce the risk of complications by staying home and booking with a reputable surgeon that you feel comfortable with their level of training and experience. If you are considering breast augmentation ensure you read our ‘10 questions to ask regarding breast augmentation‘ blog post. More client stories about overseas surgery are on our ‘overseas surgery‘ page