Cosmetic Surgery Tourism- Survey

In 2008 BAPRAS surveyed 208 UK consultant plastic surgeon members to find out if they had seen patients who had problems following cosmetic procedures performed outside the UK

Overview of results

Thirty-seven per cent of respondents said they or a member of their team had seen patients with complications following cosmetic procedures outside the UK. Of those who answered yes, 83% (62) consultants completed the rest of the questionnaire detailing the impact of cosmetic tourism on their NHS services.

215 patients were seen by consultants or members of their NHS team with complications or concerns relating to cosmetic procedures performed outside the UK

60% of those surveyed believe the number of patients presenting to their NHS team with complications from cosmetic procedures outside the UK has increased

41% of consultants felt that an increasing number of patients undergoing cosmetic procedures abroad will have a significant impact on their NHS service

Complications by type of procedure

Procedure Number 
Breast augmentation 61  29 
Abdominoplasty  53 25.2 
Breast reduction 33  15.7 
Face/neck lift 22  10.5 
Mastopexy  12  5.7 
Blepharoplasty  11  5.2 
Rhinoplasty  10  4.8 
Buttock/thigh lift 1.4 
Gynaecomastia surgery 
Other (unspecified) 
Skin reduction (non-breast) 0.5 

Cosmetic surgery destinations abroad

Location Number 
Eastern Europe 82  41.2 
Western Europe  67  33.7 
Asia  22  11.1 
South America 
Middle East  2.5 
North America  1.5 
No response  1.5 

Patient Referrals

Patients were referred by Number  % 
GP 102  55 
A&E  62  33 
Consultant in private sector  14 
NHS consultant 

Patients referred to Number % 
Out-patients clinic 122 64 
As an emergency 69  36 

Complications and treatment

Patients presented with Number  % 
Post-operative complications requiring treatment 145 74 
Cosmetic concerns/dissatisfaction  50  26 

Patients required Number  % 
Out-patient non-surgical treatment 69  34 
Elective surgery  65  32 
Emergency surgery  52  26 
In-patient non-surgical treatment 17 
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