Holidaymakers jetting off abroad this summer will be packing their travel essentials – but an appointment card for the plastic surgeon is unlikely to be slipped into most suitcases. Yet for an increasing number of Britons, a nip and tuck or a nose job is becoming as important on holiday as a tan or a souvenir keyring.
The number of Britons undergoing procedures abroad has risen by 109% in the past two years, according to research by private healthcare search engine WhatClinic.com. From dentures in Thailand to bottom lifts in Turkey, more and more people are seeking surgery abroad, tempted by low-cost flights and the promise of cosmetic surgery at a fraction of the price offered in the UK.
Eastern Europe has the largest number of hubs for cosmetic tourism. The Czech Republic, for example, has seen a 304% increase in inquiries from Brits for nose jobs in the past year, with an average procedure costing £847 versus £3,557 in the UK. Those looking for breast implants are heading to Poland, where they can make considerable savings, paying an average of £1,972 instead of £3,736 in Britain.
The results, however, aren’t always a bargain. This is a lesson that actor and model Sonia learned the hard way. The 35-year-old wanted her nose altered and was excited to find the procedure was available in Pakistan – where she was born – for a snip of the price advertised in the UK. She jumped at the chance to visit friends and family and get treatment at the same time. It sounded too good to be true. And it was.
Instead of a lengthy consultation and one-to-one care at the private clinic, she found herself on a conveyor belt of other patients, rushed through the operating theatre to make way for the next paying customer. That might have been fine if the surgeon had lived up to his advertised reputation, but the new nose was not what she was hoping for.