4th January 2016

Rhinoplasty surgery tourism

Rhinoplasty surgery tourism

The pros and cons of cosmetic surgery tourism.

Cosmetic surgery tourism involves traveling abroad to access surgical procedures that enhance one’s appearance.

Cosmetic rhinoplasty is not available on the NHS and private health insurance does not cover cosmetic procedures. Because cost is important when considering value, some rhinoplasty patients will travel great distances to clinics where fees are much cheaper. Patients may also travel abroad to consult with rhinoplasty surgeons that they perceive are better. Some rhinoplasty surgeons abroad may also be more available than rhinoplasty surgeons at home.

Pros include

  • Costs, even when including travel, can be lower than having surgery closer to home.
  • Sometimes patients may research and find a surgeon abroad they feel particularly fits their needs well.
  • In some cases, surgeons abroad may be able to see patients sooner than local surgeons can.

Cons include:

  • There can be problems with communication of goals, expectations and risks on both sides.
  • If patients suffer a post-surgical complication, they may not be able to contact their surgeon. This might be a serious health problem.
  • If the surgeon is contactable the patient may have to consider travelling back to them again and this may be when they are not fit to travel.
  • Long-term follow-up will involve more travel
  • Patients may not be able to see the surgeon for a consultation before travelling for surgery
  • Early air travel after surgery may increase risk for example of deep vein thrombosis
  • Surgeons overseas may not have access to a patient’s full medical records


If a patient is considering travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery they should discuss their reasons with their GP.  They should have fully considered why they want surgery, researched the risks, and considered what arrangements there are for ongoing care related to complications or a result they think is unsatisfactory. Finally they must consider whether cost is the only important factor in their decision. It could be a false economy.