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Breast augmentation in the UK or abroad is a cosmetic operation that you have to pay for yourself – and you could face a bill of between £4,000 and £5,000 if you opt for a UK private clinic. Going abroad is a big step but you can get the same operation much cheaper elsewhere in the EU and at clinics around the world.

This article on breast augmentation is by Kathryn Senior, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.


Why the change?

In recent years, more women have opted to have a breast enlargement operation at a clinic abroad rather than having a breast augmentation in the UK. The main reason for this is financial: although the National Health Service (NHS) will provide breast reduction surgery if there is a medical need, making a case for breast enlargement is nigh on impossible.

Breast augmentation in the UK or abroad is a cosmetic operation that you have to pay for yourself – and you could face a bill of between £4,000 and £5,000 if you opt for a UK private clinic. Going abroad is a big step but you can get the same operation much cheaper elsewhere in the EU and at clinics around the world.

If you choose to go abroad rather than having a breast augmentation in the UK, you can also combine the operation with a beach or spa holiday. In fact, many clinics overseas provide an all-inclusive package deal that includes the cost of the operation as well as the add-on holiday.

When deciding whether to go for a breast augmentation in the UK or abroad, it is a good idea to use the following questions as a checklist:

What are the total costs UK compared with abroad?

When you are quoted the cost of the operation at a clinic abroad, be sure that this includes all costs relating to the procedure, such as the anaesthetist’s and surgeon’s fees and any aftercare costs. Be sure too to add in the costs of accommodation and transport to get to the clinic or hospital. When you add up all these associated costs, travelling abroad may end up being more expensive than having a breast augmentation in the UK. If you can include a holiday as well, that makes it better value but make sure you are aware of the overall costs you will incur.

UK or abroad – what differences in quality of care?

While many overseas clinics may promise an operation at a fraction of the cost of breast augmentation in the UK, many of the clinics offering these deals are less than reputable. Before committing to a breast augmentation abroad, research the clinic’s credentials and reputation. Look carefully into the standards of treatment and care that are offered. You should also make sure that the surgeon who will perform the operation is board certified. In other words, he or she should be a member of a professional organisation. Remember that surgeons carrying out a breast augmentation in the UK will be members of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), or the British Association of Cosmetic Surgeons.

By doing your research before you have the operation, you’ll minimise the chances of complications. The cost of fixing an operation that has gone wrong can often outweigh the original cost of having a breast augmentation in the UK, so any cost savings you anticipated would be cancelled out.

Will the language barrier bother you?

Many overseas clinics are in countries where the first language is not English. Even if your surgeon does speak English, many of the other staff such as nurses and assistants may not. For some people this is not a problem; if it’s important for you to be able to communicate with all the healthcare workers that you have to deal with, perhaps breast augmentation in the UK would be a better option.

Is the aftercare as good as in UK?

Any breast augmentation procedure requires a period of aftercare, during which your recovery is closely monitored for complications or adverse reactions. Breast augmentation UK-style provides aftercare that is hard to match.

If you’re having a breast augmentation procedure abroad, there is a risk that things may go wrong once you’re home. You can’t then call on a UK private clinic to help sort things out without incurring a great deal of extra cost. If you have to fly back to the country in which you had the operation, this can also be costly. If you are feeling unwell, it may also be something you may not even want to think about. It may be worthwhile to find a healthcare provider within the UK who can perform your pre-surgery and aftercare visits, and who are happy to do so even though you are not having a breast augmentation in the UK.

Can I have a holiday afterwards?

If you’re taking a long haul flight to a country such as India or South Africa to have the operation, you’ll most likely have to return on the same long haul flight afterwards while you’re still in recovery mode. Because of this, many people add on a holiday to the end of their operation. Bear in mind that any holiday you go on afterwards should not be taxing on your body, since for at least a few weeks after your operation you won’t be able to do strenuous physical activity. Of course, if you have breast augmentation in the UK, you can always book a holiday to recover afterwards and travel when you are ready.

Will you have family or friend support?

If you opt for a breast augmentation in the UK, you’ll have the advantage of friends or family nearby who can help with your recovery. If you’re travelling abroad, this may not be the case, and so many women consider taking a friend with them. This can be invaluable but you may have to help pay for their holiday – so this is an additional expense you would have to bear in mind in your financial comparison with a breast augmentation in the UK.

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