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Cheap Overseas Surgery: Discounted Cosmetic Surgery Is No Bargain

Posted on: August 5th, 2017
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Overseas Cosmetic Surgery: Why Cheap Cosmetic Surgery Typically Isn’t A Bargain.

It sounds too good to be true. A holiday AND getting the cosmetic plastic surgery you’ve been longing for – a deep discount – may seem a good plan, initially. But as you no doubt hear regularly in the media, many people end up discovering that cheap cosmetic surgery or overseas medical tourism face surgery or breast enlargement may turn out quite differently than the bargain cosmetic surgery you were hoping to obtain.

Whether you’re seeking a facelift, a breast lift or breast implant surgery, a tummy tuck or a thigh or upper arm reduction procedure, overseas surgery comes with higher risks and more unknowns than choosing a FRACS qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon with local hospital operating privileges, such as Dr Geoff Barnett, a leading Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon in Melbourne.

Here’s why discount surgeries are often NOT the bargain you’re expecting.

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Don’t take Facial, Body or Breast Plastic Surgery Lightly

Many factors go into getting a good result from a plastic surgery procedure.  Overseas surgery brings extra risks and potential complications, especially compared with choosing a well-known Surgeon in your local area.  As Dr Barnett responded to a person’s question in a recent RealSelf Forum (the patient was questioning whether or not they get a Facelift in a foreign country): “Surgery should not be viewed as a purely commercial transaction.”  And as our Patient Team hears on a far too regular basis, if you end up with botched surgery from an overseas tourism group, “not everything can be fixed.”  Revisions are costly and emotionally draining, especially if they are unnecessary due to having less-than Australian standard operating facilities or Doctors with less experience than established Specialists in and around Melbourne.

Perfection is never achievable, despite that great Surgeons strive for excellence.

Some Surgeons debate which of the items listed below are the MOST important, in terms of impact on results satisfaction levels and having a good surgery experience. But in general, most Specialist Breast, Face & Body Plastic Surgeons find that the following aspects impact satisfaction with the final surgery result.



  1. Patient expectations need to be reasonable (it really depends on numerous factors, including where the patient is BEFORE surgery and how the body heals). Surgery isn’t about performing miracles or full-life transformations.  And every patient is unique – no two patients or surgery outcomes will be alike. Results can vary significantly, so your “dream look” may not be what you end up with – even if it’s actually a fantastic surgery result! Discuss with your Surgeon what is – and what ISN’T  – possible via surgery or non-surgical means. Keep expectations “real” and realistic.
  2. Patient and Surgeon need to COLLABORATE as a TEAM, through pre-surgery discussions to determine the BEST surgery approach (or breast implant size or tummy tuck procedure or facelift procedure) for the patient’s EXISTING anatomy, measurements, skin condition, BMI and health AND the desired results (provided they are reasonable).
  3. COLLABORATION is also important during the post-op healing phase; the Patient and the Surgeon need to do their individual parts in a collaborative way, to help the patient get a great result – and minimise risks.  This might mean wearing garments for the designated period of time, not overdoing it during recovery, not smoking, and keeping the communication channels going if any questions or discomforts arise.  Remember, no question is a silly question (and Dr Barnett prides himself on being available to patients for post-op questions).
  4. Patient understands RISKS and HEALING and RECOVERY times and processes.
  5. The surgery is performed in an accredited Hospital in Australia that aims for optimal patient safety and early post-op care and comfort.
  6. Patients feels comfortable to ask ANY and ALL questions that they have about their surgery (informed consent and enough time with the Surgeon to discuss options and choices about their procedure).
  7. The Patient’s life and working or child care or study schedule is manageable to pursue surgery in as calm and well-planned manner as feasible; relaxing during the healing phases of surgery can help the body heal faster. So might Healite II sessions and Rapid Recovery packs.  (available at our Hawthorn East Clinic for patients of selected surgeries)

Collaboration, Planning and Post-Op Care – as well as scar management – are KEYS to getting a good Cosmetic Surgery result

All surgery is serious, and requires custom planning based on an individual’s anatomy and skin condition, especially for Facelift, Necklift or Tummy Tuck procedures.  Breast lifts, Breast Reductions, Breast Augmentation using Breast Implants and other surgeries such as Rhinoplasty or Eyelid Lifts ALSO require precision measurements and customised planning to aim for a natural-looking, pleasing and anatomically-balanced result.

Cosmetic plastic surgery should NEVER be taken lightly or seen as a purely commercial transaction.  Remember, you will live with your results every day of your life.  Cheap offers may not be the bargain you’re looking for, and if it goes badly for you, you will likely find yourself emotionally distraught at having risked an overseas surgery.

Surgery is ALWAYS a collaboration when it comes to getting satisfactory results the patient feels good about.  The Patient and the Surgeon both have roles to play in the pre-surgery preparation and post-op healing period.  You  may need to wear certain bandages or compression garments after surgery, for example. For some procedures, you may also need to wait for several weeks before resuming certain exercises or lifting children or grandchildren.

Scars can ALSO take up to 12 to 18 months to reach maturity. There are some treatments that might reduce scarring – these are far more easily managed with a local Surgeon than an overseas Cosmetic Surgery practice, especially if your incisions are going to be in a visible location.

Read more on Non Visible Scarring

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Why Cheap Overseas Surgery isn’t always the Bargain it’s made out to be in Advertisements

In view of the items listed above that help make a cosmetic surgery experience a positive one with a satisfactory outcome, here’s why overseas Surgery options can be fraught with problems for some patients.

Are you OVERLY nervous about having cosmetic surgery? Read more at:

Read an excerpt of Dr Geoff Barnett’s recently submitted answer to a patient’s question about a Facelift, as submitted to the RealSelf forum.

“Don’t take Facial Plastic Surgery Lightly – Collaboration, Planning and Post-Op care are Keys to good outcomes”

The decision to have a facelift should not be taken lightly; it cannot be compared with the purchase of a commercial product or item.  You have to choose and assess your Surgeon to be sure that he will address your individual ageing features adequately.

Your Surgeon’s assessment of your unique anatomy and individual ageing features, and which methods should be used to rejuvenate your face in view of your starting point and what you want to accomplish, are critical factors to be considered. 1 to 2 consultations are usually necessary prior to proceeding with surgery; which is also important for fully understanding the surgery and risks (informed consent).

There are multiple ways to carry out a facelift; hence it is very important that you discuss your options thoroughly with your Surgeon, to collaboratively choose the most appropriate operation to achieve the best possible result.

Local Surgeons are recommended for two key reasons: (1) Facelifts also often need ongoing post-operative care, especially throughout the initial recovery period of approximately 6 to 12 weeks, to ensure no complications develop, such as hypertrophic scarring behind the ear; (2) Post-op flying risks, infection risks and potential language differences might impede communication, safety and results.

It is also ideal if your surgeon can help you with post-op scarring reduction and hence, you may require ongoing treatments such as Healite II or Fraxel to get more minimal scarring; and having an overseas surgeon may limit consistency of care and your options for ongoing scar management.

These are just some of the key reasons why it is extremely important to do your research and think carefully before deciding on your Surgeon, including ascertaining their FRACS qualifications and hospital operating privileges.

Hope this helps.

Dr G Barnett


Want a Melbourne based Breast Surgeon, Facelift Specialist and Body Contouring Surgeon?  Ask to see Dr Geoff Barnett by submitting an enquiry form phoning us on (03) 8849 1467.  Dr Barnett’s offices are in Hawthorn East at 759 Burwood Road.