An Australian woman was left permanently scarred after spending $16,000 on botched cosmetic surgery in 2015 in Thailand.
Casey Lee travelled to Thailand for a breast lift, breast augmentation and an extended tummy tuck. These procedures would cost up to $50,000 if performed in Australia. Despite doing extensive research before choosing a surgeon, Lee describes the surgery as the biggest regret of her life.
Lee was given the wrong implants during surgery and, as a result, suffered serious infections and burst stitches after the procedure. She still has horrendous scars, different-sized nipples and recalled implants. She is in desperate need of revision plastic surgery, which she can’t afford, and describes her experience with medical tourism as a trip from hell. She added that she will never be the same physically or emotionally.
However, not all experiences with overseas cosmetic surgery are traumatic. In October 2017, “Grace” (not her real name) travelled to the Slovakian city of Kosice for discount rhinoplasty and liposuction. The 27-year-old paid around $6000 for the two procedures. As part of her fees, Grace was picked up at the bus station, driven to and from all appointments and dropped back off at the station at the end of her visit. She spent one night in the clinic and about 10 days recuperating, and says she has no regrets. She couldn’t afford rhinoplasty in her home country so she went overseas to get a better price.
According to the cosmetic surgery tourism website, Sun, Sea, Sand, Silicone project, more than 15,000 Aussies travel overseas for cosmetic surgery each year. The medical tourism insurance site, finder.com.au, revealed 500,000 Australians went abroad for lower priced surgery while 41% would consider doing the same.
It’s not just Australians who are embracing medical tourism. The global industry is estimated to be worth almost $90 billion per year. In addition, a recent International Travel Insights report by Visa predicted a 25 per cent increase in medical tourists every year for the next decade.
(This story originally appeared on finder.com.au)