UK & World News
Plastic Surgeons Flying In From Abroad 'Pose Risk'
Doctors have warned of the dangers of 'seagull surgeons' who fly into Britain on daytrips to carry out operations, often without insurance.
Sky News has seen details of patients who have suffered complications from botched cosmetic surgery carried out at British clinics. But they have been unable to trace the surgeons abroad and have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket.
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) said patients need better protection - and called on the government to get tough.
Kelly Dean went for a lunchtime liposuction with what she thought was an experienced surgeon in a reputable clinic.
But the £4,000 laser procedure was botched, burning tissue inside her legs and leaving her with lumps on her thighs.
She told Sky News: "I just remember the pain, and thinking: 'Oh my God, what have I done?'"
"I kept telling him: 'I'm in pain, you're hurting me'. And I was crying, really crying."
A solicitor tried to track the surgeon down in Italy, without success, and the clinic which had hired out the room denied any responsibility.
"You think you are in safe hands," she said.
"To them it is just money, you are just a number. They don't care about it.
"As soon as they take your money, that's it, bye-bye."
Leeds-based surgeon Muhammad Riaz has had to treat complications in several patients after their original surgeon had returned abroad.
He said all surgeons should be responsible for their patients' after-care.
"That's the time the patient suffers," he warned.
"If they don't get into the same hospital and are not able to see the same surgeon, the NHS ends up picking up the pieces and dealing with those problems."
Rajiv Grover, presidet of BAAPS, which is the professional body for cosmetic surgeons, said the government must regulate the "fly-in, fly-out" surgeons and insist they have proper indemnity insurance.
"They may be working here for a short time and perhaps it's not cost effective for them to do so," he said.
"But for the protection of the patient it is imperative they have insurance of a level that allows them to work here and explicitly states they can work in the United Kingdom."
The Department of Health spokesperson said: "The NHS Medical Director Sir Bruce Keogh is currently carrying out a review into regulation of cosmetic surgery.
"The review will be published in March. Its recommendations will be evidence-based, with the safety of the patient at the forefront."