Cosmetic surgery treatments available abroad

It is possible to have a vast range of cosmetic surgery treatments abroad, but choosing whether to travel for them needs careful thought. Major surgery needs recovery time, and carries complications such as deep vein thrombosis, a risk that is enhanced if you are flying a considerable distance just a few days later.

Minor procedures are easier to cope with if you have to travel, but remember that your primary reason for travelling is to have cosmetic surgery abroad. Spending time sunbathing, overindulging in alcohol and partying could seriously delay the healing process, even if you feel up to doing any of them.

Be aware that you will need to stay in the country you have chosen, in accommodation reasonably near to your clinic, so that you can return for aftercare as necessary in the few days after your cosmetic surgery. Always plan your trip to give you enough time to recover so that you can travel home safely.

Having facial cosmetic surgery abroad

A facelift is a common procedure that people choose to have abroad. It can remove sagging skin, lessen wrinkles and give the face a more defined, more youthful appearance. Cosmetic surgeons in the top destinations abroad offer various types of facelift, sometimes in combination with work on the eyelids (blepharoplasty) or a brow lift.

Other facial procedures include:

  • Cheek or chin implants: these can be done as part of a facelift, or as separate procedures.
  • Rhinoplasty: commonly called a ‘nose job’, this involves reshaping the nose to change its external appearance and also sometimes to correct nasal breathing issues such a deviated septum.
  • Pinnaplasty: pinning back of ears that stick out from the side of the head.
  • Non-surgical skin treatments: chemical skin peels, dermabrasion, fillers or laser skin treatments.

Any type of facial cosmetic surgery usually requires a general anaesthetic and stitches so you need to be careful during your recovery that you don’t expose your face and head to the sun, if you are in a warm climate. You need to rest and take plenty of fluids for a few days, and you should then be able to do some gentle activity such as walking and perhaps some sightseeing. By the time you return home, your bruising and swelling should have reduced and may be barely noticeable.

Having breast surgery abroad

Breast cosmetic surgery is widely available in many countries that offer considerable cost savings compared to the most typical prices of a private clinic in the UK or the USA. The most common procedures are:

  • Breast augmentation, which enlarges the size of the breasts using implants. This can help sagging breasts that develop after having a baby, it can increase the size of naturally very small breasts and it can also even up any asymmetry in natural breasts. With the controversy about PIP breast implants in some parts of Europe, you need to ask about the type of implant used, wherever you have your breast augmentation surgery.
  • Breast reduction, which makes the breasts smaller by removing tissue. This is sometimes recommended for medical reasons, as large breasts create back problems. In most cases though, it is sought to improve self-esteem and quality of life and to prevent unwanted attention.
  • Breast uplift, to reshape breast tissue to produce more youthful breasts. This can be done using your own tissue, or in conjunction with implants. A breast augmentation can be done with a breast uplift.
  • Male breast reduction (gynaecomastia surgery). This is a less extensive cosmetic surgery as no major incisions are made; the excess fatty tissue in ‘man boobs’ is removed using liposuction.


All cosmetic surgery on the breasts involves a general anaesthetic or intravenous sedation, significant incisions and stitches, and most cosmetic surgery clinics will advise that you stay in for at least one night. Dissolvable stitches are used routinely, and these gradually disappear over the following month. You should wait at least 3–4 days before flying home after your breast surgery. Men having gynaecomastia surgery can fly home 2 days after treatment.

It is important that you follow your surgeon’s advice about wearing a supportive bra or compression garments to aid healing and to give the best cosmetic result.

Body lifts, thigh lifts and liposuction

Losing a lot of weight, going through pregnancy and childbirth and just getting older can leave you with excess skin around the abdomen, love handles, flabby thighs, bingo wings on the arms and a generally ‘out-of-shape’ body. While exercise and healthy eating can help reduce the excess fat and can tone the underlying muscles, cosmetic surgery to the body can also help. In some cases, it is the only way to achieve the contours you want.

Many cosmetic surgery clinics abroad offer cosmetic surgery procedures on the body, which are listed below in order of surgical complexity:

  • Liposuction and body sculpturing.
  • A tummy tuck, also called an abdominoplasty.
  • Inner thigh lift.
  • Arm lift.
  • Apronectomy: removal of excess skin in the lower part of the abdomen after significant weight loss.


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