cosmetic-tourismIt’s hard to miss the websites and current affairs ‘expose’ of the burgeoning industry of cosmetic surgery tourism. We see some incredible complications from internationally-performed operations, and have always wondered what sort of training these ‘surgeons’ received?

We were both under the impression that the overseas surgeries may have been cheaper, due to potentially lower hospital costs, less accreditation and insurance requirements, or even cheaper materials.

But just recently, we’ve seen a lot of new evidence published in professional journals and the media. The surgeries are in fact, not necessarily cheaper and the cost could be far greater than a monetary one in the long run. Unfortunately, the result is a rise in the number of complications, including horror stories such as silicone implants protruding through the nose weeks after an operation and patients being unable to open their eyes after eyelid surgery.

And the unfortunate thing is that the same thing happens here in Australia, where anyone with a medical degree can claim to be as well-trained in cosmetic procedures as a FRACS Specialist Plastic Surgeon. And it is likely to stay this way, due to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) stating that it is the patient’s responsibility to research the credentials of their ‘surgeon,’ the basis being that if they changed the law to only allow surgeons, trained in surgery by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, perform surgery on people then it would be ‘anti-competitive.’

Our own position is that patient safety comes first. Full stop.

– Dr Matthew Peters & Dr Raymond Goh