Are Cosmetic Holidays Safe?

Cosmetic Surgery Holidays

Every surgical procedure carries a level of risk regardless of where it is done. However, with a marketing proposition like this (refer to screenshot below), it’s easy to see why cosmetic holidays are so popular.

It’s an enticing prospect: the procedure of your dreams, performed by qualified professionals in a high-end facility — and all in an idyllic destination setting for a fraction of the price you’d pay at home.

cosmetic_holidayThe Rise Of Cosmetic Surgery Holidays

According to the Victorian State Government, about 15,000 Australains travel overseas for medical treatment despite the Australian Medical Association’s warnings.

Cosmetic holidays have become more popular in recent years. Nearly 50,000 travellers come to South Korea for a beauty makeover. This makes plastic surgery as the country’s most lucrative revenue source.

While there are excellent cosmetic facilities in the Americas and Europe, Asian countries have become the preferred destinations for many Australians seeking a little nip or tuck. Korea and Thailand in particular are famous as much for their glorious scenery and culture as for their outstanding facilities, encouraging many people to make the trip to Seoul or Bangkok.

Generally speaking, cosmetic holidays promises reduced waiting times, money savings, and the ability to see popular tourist attractions whilst away.

What Are The Risks?

Cosmetic tourism is not without its risks.

There are some outstanding facilities overseas, true – but there are also risks inherent in going abroad that don’t exist if you have your procedure done in Australia.

For example, there are experienced clinics such as the Victorian Cosmetic Institute that is staffed by trained professionals and must abide by strict health guidelines. From breast augmentation to eyelid surgery, getting work done locally ensures that should something go wrong, you can follow up with relative ease. If, however, you return home with a complication, it can be a lot harder to remedy the problem without being out-of-pocket.

Every single surgical procedure carries a risk whether you do it in Australia, South Korea, or Canada. If, however, you feel the need to have your procedure abroad, you can find fantastic destinations and expert professionals with proper due diligence.

The risks involved in going overseas range from less-experienced medical staff to sub-par hygiene. Not all facilities operate to the high standards you’d expect at home. This increases the risk of post-surgical infections.

You may also be at risk from other complications, potentially ones that the medical facilities in the country you’re visiting aren’t equipped to treat.

When travelling abroad for surgery it can also be harder to verify the credentials of your practitioners, leaving you vulnerable to fraud. Unless you make multiple trips, you won’t have a chance to visit the facility in person and assure yourself that everything is run the way you’d expect. 

Another risk is travel itself. After your procedure, you may not be well enough to travel for some time. This could leave you facing a risky and uncomfortable homeward journey. Sitting strapped into a narrow plane seat is definitely not ideal when you’re recovering from surgery. If your recovery is slower than expected you might even be stranded overseas with mounting hotel bills and no easy way to get back. Many of the hotels included in cosmetic tourism packages are not what’s advertised and may lack the facilities you need to recover from an intrusive procedure.


If you do decide to have your procedure overseas, make sure you have the information you need. Get all the details on your surgery and recovery facilities before you book. Choose a properly board certified surgeon and make sure you verify their credentials and experience.