Cosmetic surgery abroad
Women who opted for cut-price cosmetic surgery abroad are inundating hospital with pleas for help after their operations went disastrously wrong.
Plastic surgeons at The James Cook University Hospital have carried out emergency surgery on an increasing number of patients who had flown overseas in a bid to improve their looks on the cheap.
In many cases, women patients have been suffering from life-threatening infections.
Other patients who have suffered problems with surgery have had to be turned away because the NHS is not funded to carry out cosmetic, non-urgent surgery.
Angela Curran, Clinical Negligence Partner at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, urged anyone considering going abroad for "cheap" cosmetic surgery to think carefully before doing so.
She said: "before embarking on a course of cosmetic surgery you should consult your GP and ask if there is any potential for having the surgery done on the NHS if there isn't then they should ask their GP to refer them on a private basis for a consultation with a reputable plastic surgeon.
"The cost of this initial consultation is relatively modest and they can get a view as to whether or not what they are proposing is possible and the cost of having this done privately in this country.
"The advantage of having the treatment done here is that if something did go wrong then the surgeons are insured and easy to trace if a negligence action needs to be brought for compensation, the very opposite is true if the surgery is performed abroad."
A recent example from The James Cook University Hospital was "Carol", 43, from Middlesbrough, had to have emergency surgery to drain an infected stomach wound and remove a large blood clot following a tummy-tuck operation in the Czech Republic.
Cosmetic surgery abroad - cheap but still can be problematic
The operation in Prague cost £2,000 and seemed to go well. But a few weeks later, the mother-of-two developed complications and was admitted to James Cook hospital for seven nights.
She said: "It was really frightening. I was going back to have a bust reduction but now I've cancelled it."
No record is kept of the number of British women going to countries such as Thailand, Egypt and India, as well as Eastern Europe, for cut-price surgery, but the sector is said to be expanding.
The Department of Health provides a booklet for UK patients called Considering Cosmetic Surgery?
If you have been affected by negligent cosmetic surgery you might be entitled to claim compensation. See our Cosmetic Surgery Claims page for more information.