Cosmetic Surgery Tales of Caution


  • Why do you want surgery?
  • Cosmetic surgery is not an instant fix. Breast augmentation and tummy tucks can take up to 1 year to heal and for the results to show.
  • Many people go through with invasive cosmetic procedures and are still not happy. This is often because their expectations were not in the right place.
  • Are you in the best possible shape? If not, this will affect the result of your procedure and possibly healing time.
  • If your weight is not where it needs to be and you opt for a tummy tuck/breast augmentation and lose/gain weight it will impact your final results.
  • Many of the before and after pictures we see are heavily airbrushed. Speak to people who have had the procedures in real life. What was their experience like?
  • What if you can’t achieve a ‘perfect’ result? Is 65% improvement satisfactory. These are questions that you need to ask your surgeon. 100% improvement is not realistic.
  • What if you have the surgery and are happy with it, but it highlights a different area that you are unhappy with? A smaller flatter tummy can make breasts appear larger for example. A waist that has been narrowed will make hips and buttocks look larger.
  • Is your body shape the issue? Or is it your view of yourself?

If you’re looking at holiday packages:

  • Make sure you have a consultation with the surgeon (avoid meetings only with sales people) or remotely-never avail of a remote consultation.
  • Be cautious of websites selling cosmetic surgery as part of a holiday-surgery of any kind is a very serious consideration and not to be confused with a cheap package deal.
  • Do not pay for a hospital you have never seen.
  • Do not pay to see a surgeon you have not met.
  • Absolutely make sure their level of English is perfect, you may need to communicate important medical history/information or allergies etc.

While it’s possible to have a holiday before surgery, it’s unrealistic to have one straight after as this can increase the risk of things going wrong.

  • You need to rest.
  • You should not drink alcohol, lae in the sun, go sightseeing or go in the water.

Cosmetic surgery aftercare

  • Follow-up care is an important part of treatment. You need to think about where check-ups will take place.

When you make enquiries about your treatment, find out:

  • What happens if there are complications?
  • Where follow-up appointments will be?
  • What happens if you need more surgery after the original procedure – how easily can you travel back to the destination where you had the surgery?
  • How much it’ll cost-is post operative care included in the cost?

How to reduce the risks of surgery abroad

Much of the advice for people thinking about cosmetic surgery is the same whether they’re treated in the Ireland or abroad.

Find out as much as you can about the cosmetic procedure.

This includes:

  • Consultations
  • The procedure
  • Risks and complications
  • Aftercare
  • Choose the right cosmetic surgeon

Standards and qualifications abroad might be different from Ireland, It can be difficult to find out if a surgeon is fully trained in the procedure you want.

Find out:

  • How surgeons and clinics are regulated in your chosen country.
  • How standards are enforced.
  • We do not recommend going outside of the EU for treatment.

Ask the surgeon:

  • What training and qualifications they have?
  • What organisations they belong to?
  • How long they have been practising?
  • How many procedures like the one you’re having they have done-what was the outcome?
  • If they speak a language you understand – they need to be able to explain the procedure to you and understand your concerns or questions.

Book a consultation

  • You should have 2 consultations with the surgeon treating you before any surgery.
  • This will give you a cooling-off period, which is normally 2 weeks in the UK.

The surgeon should make sure you understand:

  • what the procedure involves.
  • the limitations of a procedure.
  • what alternative procedures there are.
  • Any risks or complications.
  • They should be able to show before and after pictures of their work.

Think about what you need to do if things go wrong

Make sure you check:

  • What insurance the clinic or surgeon has and if it will cover you.
  • What your travel insurance covers (it does not normally cover if things go wrong in surgery)
  • How you’ll get home in the case of an emergency and how much it will cost.
  • Plan when you can fly home.

You’ll need to rest after any surgery. Air travel and major surgery increase your risk of a blood clot, which can be life threatening. It’s recommended you do not fly for:

  • 5 to 7 days after procedures such as breast surgery and liposuction.
  • 7 to 10 days after facial cosmetic procedures or tummy tucks.

Basic Considerations

  • Travel-are you able to fly home? Lift bags? Drive?
  • If you need to stay for longer, can you afford it?
  • If there are complications at home, do you have someone to care for you?
  • Do you have support at home? Someone to help with housework or young children?
  • Do you have emotional support? Feeling poorly can lower our mood, it is good to have a support network for this reason.
  • Swelling can persist with any surgery, ensure you have loose fitting clothing sufficient for recovery.
  • If compression garments are needed, do you have the correct ones recommended by the surgeon? Do you know where to purchase them if more are needed?
  • If lymphatic drainage massage is required, do you know where to find it locally?
  • If you need regular scans to keep an eye on fluid build up, do you know where to find it locally?

Will your GP treat you if you have had surgery abroad? Many will refer you back to the surgeon who carried out the work.