BAAPS and TSPRAS Issue Consumer Guidelines for Cosmetic Surgery in Turkey
Date: June 23, 2023
In response to the alarming increase in complications arising from cosmetic tourism, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and the Turkish Society of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (TSPRAS) have taken an unprecedented step. They have jointly issued essential guidelines aimed at safeguarding the welfare and safety of patients seeking aesthetic plastic surgery abroad, particularly in Turkey.
Rising Complications and Concerns
The year 2022 witnessed a staggering 35% rise in complications associated with cosmetic surgery, as reported in the BAAPS Annual Cosmetic Surgery Audit. This concerning trend has prompted BAAPS and TSPRAS to come together, united by their shared concerns for patient care standards.
While recognizing that individuals from various countries may seek medical and surgical treatments abroad for various reasons, both organizations have voiced their apprehension regarding the quality of patient care observed in some cases. While all surgeries inherently carry some level of risk, these reports have drawn attention to issues like substandard practices, unwarranted risk-taking, and avoidable harm to patients.
The Discrepancy in Standards
BAAPS President, Marc Pacifico, underscores the stark contrast in regulatory standards between countries. In the United Kingdom, patients can verify surgeons' credentials through the GMC Specialist Register, and hospitals and clinics undergo rigorous regulation by the CQC. However, such regulatory measures are not universal, leaving patients more vulnerable in some foreign destinations.
Guidance to Ensure Patient Safety
BAAPS and TSPRAS have collaboratively crafted guidelines to aid patients seeking cosmetic surgery in Turkey, a nation known for its thriving cosmetic tourism industry. These guidelines are designed to empower patients with knowledge and protect them from potential harm. Here are the key points patients are urged to consider:
- **Surgeon's Membership**: Ensure that any Turkish surgeon you consult is a member of TSPRAS, and you can verify their membership on their official website.
- **Board Certification**: Confirm that your Turkish surgeon holds Turkish board certification, and don't hesitate to request to see their certificate.
- EBOPRAS Membership: While not mandatory, EBOPRAS (European Board of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery) membership is a valuable indication of a surgeon's commitment to their field.
- Experience: Choose a surgeon with a minimum of five years of practice in Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, as training standards may vary.
- Aftercare Plan: Your surgeon should provide a comprehensive aftercare plan to ensure your well-being post-surgery.
- Surgeon's Contact Information: Familiarize yourself with your surgeon's name and know how to contact them in case of any concerns.
- Clinic Affiliation: Inquire about how long your surgeon has been associated with their clinic or company; three years or more is recommended.
- Informed Consent: Ensure that a comprehensive consent form is completed before your travel to Turkey; its absence should raise concerns.
- Specialty Verification: Verify your surgeon's specialty, as some practitioners in Turkey may claim to be plastic surgeons without appropriate credentials.
- Hospital Recognition: Opt for a surgeon who operates in a recognized hospital in Turkey, typically identified by having a minimum of 30 beds.
President Marc Pacifico emphasizes that these guidelines are intended to aid patients in their research when considering surgeons and clinics in Turkey. He strongly urges potential patients to think critically before committing to surgery abroad.
In a world where borders blur and healthcare options expand, these joint guidelines serve as a beacon of patient-centered care and safety, ensuring that individuals who choose to travel for cosmetic surgery do so with a clear understanding of the standards they should expect and demand, regardless of their destination.