How foreign doctors are exploiting ‘crazy’ loophole to pressure British women into flying out for cheap, risky Brazilian bum lifts and boob jobs
- Currently overseas doctors can come to Britain and recommend extensive ops
- Unlike medics who work in the UK they don’t need to be registered to do so
- They can convince Brits to fly out for risky breast and bum lifts and mega-lipo
- Campaigners say this leaves people vulnerable and dodgy doctors unpunished
Foreign surgeons are touring Britain recommending women get boob jobs and bum lifts abroad — despite them not being trusted to carry out ops in the UK, MailOnline can reveal.
Medics from Turkey — which campaigners brand the ‘capital of butchery’ — are now holding ‘roadshows’ to encourage self-conscious Brits to get tummy tucks and other procedures there.
Despite advising Britons on medical procedures, they don’t have to be registered in Britain.
Campaigners claim foreign surgeons are exploiting this ‘crazy’ loophole and treating the UK as a ‘honey pot’, with patients wrongly assuming that they are under the same protections as when they visit their family GP.
Victims of botched operations and NHS cosmetic surgeons left to pick up the pieces and MPs are now demanding the Government acts immediately given the catalogue of extra risks attached to cut-price surgery.
They want any doctor who holds these kind of consultations or patient roadshows in the UK be forced to get registered or face penalties, regardless of where they live.
This would mean internationally registered surgeons are held to the same standards as British doctors and the public would be better protected from unethical or unsafe operators, they argue.
For decades, Britons have been warned against seeking cheaper surgery in places like Turkey, Eastern Europe, or South East Asia.
Cosmetic procedures in Turkey often go at bargain basement prices compared to their British counterparts. Turkey and UK prices have been sourced from multiple websites (model is a stock image)
Dawn Knight, who has campaigned against poor practises in cosmetic surgery, said the ‘crazy’ loophole allows overseas medics to treat the UK as a honeypot
Some victims of botched surgeries abroad have bravely told their stories to the MailOnline and paid tribute to the NHS staff that have treated them
Dozens have required corrective surgery upon return to the UK, costing the taxpayer millions and taking up precious NHS resources.
And at least 20 Brits have died in Turkey alone following surgery, including mother-of-three Leah Cambridge who had a botched Brazilian Bum Lift in 2018.
Some surgeons in the country will perform procedures deemed too dangerous or unethical in Britain. Others will skimp on aftercare, according to campaigners, which can leave patients vulnerable to dangerous complications.
Yet despite all the warnings, the industry has continued to boom, with hundreds of medical tourism agencies now promising boob jobs and liposuctions thousands of pounds cheaper than UK providers.
Turkey is not inherently more dangerous than other surgical tourism hotspots.
But cheap flights between it and the UK — as well as the rise of the trend combining cosmetic surgery with a holiday — have made it one of the leading destinations for Britons looking to go under the knife.
In 2016 alone, almost 12,000 Britons flew to out to Turkey for medical care, making it one of the most popular destinations.
This includes procedures promising to help them lose weight, or give them a BBL.
Some UK-based medical tourism agencies have flown in surgeons to meet women concerned about their appearance and get them to agree to have procedures done in cities like Istanbul.
Here, MailOnline details some of the most striking differences in some cosmetic procedures in UK and Turkey
How botched overseas cosmetic surgery has cost the cash-strapped NHS £5million in four years
Everything has a price.
And when it comes to cheap cosmetic surgery done overseas, it’s the taxpayer that ends up footing the million-pound bill.
Thousands of Britons flock to destinations like Turkey every year for bargain tummy tucks, boob jobs, and butt lifts, driven by a desire to look as thin and sexy as their favourite celebrities or reality TV stars.
While many return with a few extra quid in their pocket having saved thousands by opting to go under the knife abroad, some end up having to pay up to £30,000 for surgical corrections.
In the most serious cases where urgent care is needed, the NHS — already short on valuable resources — ends up footing the bill.
Removing dead tissue from improperly cleaned wounds, correcting poor stitching and even taking out surgical objects like latex gloves that were left inside patients’ bodies are just some of the issues British surgeons have had to correct within the past decade.
Both the NHS and British cosmetic surgeons are growing increasingly concerned that the health service is being used to subsidise the poor follow-up care of cheap surgery offered overseas.
The NHS itself does not record the number of corrective procedures it performs on Britons who had surgery overseas each year.
But an audit of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), which has many members in the health service, revealed that 82 patients needed follow-up NHS care after getting surgery overseas in 2021.
This was a 44 per cent rise on the previous year — but this may be a blip due to the Covid travel restrictions imposed in 2020.
The real number of patients is likely to be in the hundreds, as some patients will be treated by non-BAAPS members.
BAAPS estimate the cost to the NHS for these corrective procedures per patient was about £15,000, covering aspects of the procedure like staff time and drugs like anaesthesia.
This puts the 2021 bill for corrective treatment done on the cash-strapped NHS at about £1.2million, campaigners estimate.
In total, BAAPS members have seen 324 patients requiring surgery after returning to the UK in the past four years, costing the NHS a colossal £4.8m.
Sometimes, this surgeon is not even the one who will do the operation itself — considered a key safety and patient consent issue in Britain.
Unlike a UK doctor or surgeon, overseas medics don’t have to be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC), the body that ensures British medics are practising safely and ethically.
Foreign medics aren’t breaking any rules, as long as they don’t diagnose a condition or prescribe drugs.
Campaigners claim Britons are being taken advantage of and being pressured into potentially risky surgeries under the belief that any doctor giving them advice in the UK is bound by the same rules as their family GP.
Many businesses now offer to help Britons get cosmetic surgery in Turkey, with one of these being Medicci Aesthetics.
Turkish surgeon, Dr Murat Turegun, who is listed as one of the business’ surgeons, is alleged to have run they type of consultation that campaigners want curtailed out of a rented office in London’s prestigious Harley Street in February.
One woman, who spoke to campaigners, claimed Dr Turegun told her she needed ‘urgent’ liposuction for lipoedema, an abnormal build-up of fat around her legs.
Lipoedema is one of the few medical conditions where sufferers can get liposuction on the NHS but this is only in severe cases. Exercise, diet and compression stockings are more commonly recommended.
As part of this free consultation, Dr Turegun had the woman supply photos of her in her underwear to see her legs, so he could plan a potential procedure.
After discussing her legs with her GP, who insisted she did not have lipoedema, the woman declined to go further and complained about her treatment on social media.
Dr Turegun appears to have then launched an Instagram tirade towards the woman, appearing to threaten to post the photos he took online.
‘I don’t care what your inexperienced fresh out of university GP said. He’s probably never seen a lipoedema case in his life,’ the now-deleted post from Medicci Aesthetics account read.
‘I won’t post your lipoedema legs and photos on here also as I’m bigger than that but you know who you are.’
Medicci Aesthetics said that Dr Turegun had been cleared of any wrongdoing in the matter by the GMC who wrote to him to clarify the rules overseas-based doctors must follow.
Complaints manager Elif Türkmen added that no surgeons are employed by Medicci Aesthetics, with the business acting as a matchmaker between patients and doctors.
She said the incident with Dr Turegun was merely a ‘misunderstanding’ based on the patient confusing the medic telling her she may have lipoedema with another condition lymphoedema.
Ms Türkmen then said the customer launched a ‘tirade’ of ‘biased, false information’ online, choosing to ‘defame a reputable world-renowned surgeon publicly’.
However, she did not comment on messages posted online from Medicci Aesthetics’ social media account regarding the incident.
Ms Türkmen also defended the general practise of overseas doctors meeting patients and discussing procedures in the UK.
‘There is no law against foreign doctors or any kind of professional having seminars and meet and greets in the UK where there are a group of people involved as long as a medical diagnosis is not given and medical examination does not occur and this has never happened,’ she said.
British surgeons are growing concerned that the NHS is helping subsidise poor care overseas, with the bill costing the taxpayer an estimated £4.8million over the last four years
She added the company strives to provide its clients with a great service and it takes their wellbeing and comfort very seriously.
MailOnline sighted emails between a separate woman and Right Choice UK, another British-based facilitator of overseas surgery, arranging for a meeting with her at their London office.
These emails describe how Turkish surgeon Dr Ahmad Sakarya would hold a consultation with the patient in March, but the procedure itself would be carried out by a completely different surgeon in Turkey at an unconfirmed later date.
While not illegal, Britons seeking surgery abroad are advised to ensure they meet and discuss the operation directly with the surgeon who will be performing the procedure, not an intermediary.
This is because the surgeon doing the procedure needs to get consent from the patient and confirm what they want done to ensure no mistakes occur, and identify any potential individual risk factors, like a heart condition, to make the surgery safer.
Right Choice UK said it holds ‘meet and greet sessions’ in the UK with teams from overseas. However, they added: ‘All client consultations and consents take place in the country where the procedures are performed.’
The issue is widespread in the medical tourism industry, with this website finding multiple examples of other Turkish surgeons hosting consultations in the UK to meet with potential patients, with no oversight from British regulators.
One earlier held this month was hosted by RevitalizeinTurkey and saw ‘consultations’ offered in both Liverpool and London.
Numerous Turkish medical travel agencies host travelling roadshows in the UK, such as this one by RevitalizeinTurkey earlier this month.
Another example is Ekol Hospitals, which has held several consultation roadshows in the past year
The company is also advertising another series of consultations for Manchester and London in February.
It’s not alone. Another example is Ekol Hospitals, which has held several consultation roadshows in the past 12 months.
Dawn Knight, who has campaigned tirelessly against poor practise cosmetic surgery since she was left unable to close her eyes in 2012 following a botched eyelift, said overseas-based surgeons ‘treat the UK as a honey pot’.
‘They are advertising UK roadshows and meeting patients to discuss surgery in Turkey, taking deposits and booking surgical dates,’ she said.
She added the fact the current rules mean UK regulators can do nothing to ensure these surgeons are interacting ethically with patients was ‘ridiculous’.
‘It makes a mockery of the GMC to those UK-based surgeons that practice here,’ Ms Knight added.
‘Without registration being a legal requirement there is no protection for the patient.’
British plastic surgeons are also calling for the rules regarding consultations with overseas professionals to be changed.
Dr Michael Tyler, a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, which promotes high standards of care in the industry, said consultations between Turkish surgeons and British patients in the UK constituted a doctor patient relationship and should treated as such.
‘In my opinion running a clinic is practising medicine,’ he said.
‘Practising medicine without GMC registration is against the law,’ he said.
He said the patient clearly expected to see a doctor in these consultations, allowing an intimate examination and sharing of personal information, upon which the doctor diagnoses the problem and offers a treatment.
‘If I did that without being GMC registered I would be breaking the law – no question,’ he said.
Dr Tyler said the current rules meant patients are missing out on the protections put in place by UK regulators to ensure British doctors behaved appropriately.
‘If doctors who are not registered in this country see patients, those patients do not have the protection of those stringent safety standards,’ he said.
‘Those standards are very wide ranging and not just about our surgical skills but also involve our conduct – past and present – and our expertise and area of specialisation.’
How Turkish operations go for bargain prices
Nose job: £2,500
Boob job: £3,200
Designer vagina: £1,200
Prices: from Right Choice and Medaway
And here’s how British procedures stack up
Nose job: £6,625
Boob job: £5,995
Designer vagina: £5,400
BBL: Up to £7,000
Prices: Harvey Medical Group and Linia Cosmetics
He added that the public would be ‘surprised’ that a consultation with an overseas-based surgeon was not protected the same way as with a UK doctor.
‘If this type of clinic is taking place in the UK then it should be investigated and stopped,’ he said.
‘The public have a right to understand either why this hasn’t been investigated or if it has, why it’s not deemed to be a criminal offence.’
Ms Knight, who now helps British victims of cosmetic surgery abroad, offered the following advice to anyone considering surgery in Turkey.
‘Don’t rely on online reviews, these companies threaten anyone that writes a truthful bad review, and often patients feel so threatened by this they remove all trace of the experience, thus not warning anyone and creating a fake sense of safety, outcomes and experiences,’ she said.
One Turkish medical travel agency MCAN Health, threatens customers who criticise it, or its surgeons, online with a £4,000 fine as part of its terms and conditions.
It’s terms and conditions read: ‘ By accepting these Terms and Conditions, you agree not to attack or criticise MCAN Health or any of its employee publicly (review websites, social media networks, blogs, public forums etc.) regarding Medical Service Provider’s (doctor, medical personnel, hospital) treatment and services and the services of the hotel.’
‘In case of breaching this clause, you have to remove and take down the content immediately upon our assessment. If the content remains, in part or a whole, you agree to pay 5,000 EUR to MCAN Health as damages.’
Victims of poor surgical practices often face threats of legal action by providers. This warning from MCAN Health threatens customers who criticise it, or its surgeons online with a £4,000 fine as part of its terms and conditions
Labour MP for North Durham Kevan Jones MP is another voice campaigning for change
MailOnline attempted to contact MCAN Health’s UK representative for comment.
Another key sign of a potential poor operator was providers asking to be paid in cash in Turkey.
‘Would you meet a complete stranger and hand over thousands of pounds in cash for anything?,’ Ms Knight said.
‘The answer’s probably no.
‘It’s a massive red flag, don’t ignore it,’ she said.
Labour MP for North Durham Kevan Jones MP, who has written to health ministers on the issue, said the Government needed to clamp down on these consultations on British soil.
‘At present, using the Government’s own figures since January 2019, a UK national dies every two months as a direct result of a procedure undertaken in Turkey,’ he said.
‘Each one of these deaths represents a tragic loss to the friends and families of these individuals, and I am aware of many more individuals who have suffered life-altering effects from procedures conducted in Turkey.
‘If the Government is serious about protecting UK nationals, it must go beyond the “do your own research” disclaimer on the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office website and actually engage with the GMC to clamp down on these UK consultations.’
The GMC told MailOnline that if an overseas-based doctor is providing ‘general’ information about a clinic abroad, the cosmetic procedures available, and the costs and arrangements regarding them they do not need to legally register in the UK.
‘These are not privileged activities, as set out in legislation,’ a spokesperson said.
However, the spokesperson said the doctor must in no way give the impression they are registered in Britain if they are not or undertake any of the privileged activities.
‘If a doctor is giving the impression they hold registration or a licence with us, when they don’t, or there is evidence they are carrying out a privileged activity while unlicensed, then this is a criminal offence in the UK and should be reported to the police,’ they said.
UK-registered doctors, in addition to being qualified and trained professionals must also follow a set of ethical guidance, called ‘good medical practise’ or face regulatory proceedings that could ban them from working.
This includes make the patient the ‘first concern’, keeping their professional knowledge up-to-date, taking action if patient safety is at risk as well as being open, honest and acting with integrity.
Additionally, those working in cosmetic surgery are held to another more specific set of standards by the GMC.
This includes ensuring the patient fully consents to the procedure after a ‘clear’ discussion regarding the outcome, benefits, and risks, and also providing a cooling off period so they are not rushed into a procedure.
Cosmetic doctors are also required to consider their patients’ vulnerabilities and psychological needs as well as be responsible in how they market their services.
Overseas-based doctors in the UK, who carry out clinics and consultations, are not required to adhere to these guidelines.
Professor Colin Melville, the GMC’s medical director and director of education and standards, urged patients to be cautious about embarking on cosmetic surgery with any medical professional.
‘Decisions about cosmetic treatments should only be made after careful and considered discussion between a patient and their doctor, where the doctor has given their patient all the information they need to make an informed choice,’ he said.
‘Not to do so risks patients making hasty, ill-informed decisions, or to undergo procedures that carry risks and may not be right for them.
‘We would urge patients to carefully consider before going ahead with any cosmetic procedure, and to check the credentials of the person who will be carrying it out.’
The Royal College of Surgeons, a professional body for surgeons, said they were broadly supportive of greater regulation of cosmetic surgery.
However, a college spokesperson said they needed more details regarding how greater regulation of overseas doctors would work in practise.
England’s healthcare watchdog the Care Quality Commission said they are only responsible for regulating the providers of health services, not individuals.
The ops BANNED or barely done in Britain because they’re so risky… but offered in Turkey: Extreme liposuction, BBLs and ‘virginity repair surgery’
From ‘extreme’ liposuction to so-called ‘virginity-repair’ surgery, there are a number of cosmetic procedures British surgeons steer clear of.
But the same, risky procedures are still offered abroad.
This is especially the case in Turkey, which campaigners have nicknamed the ‘capital of butchery’.
Here, MailOnline delves into the procedures banned or considered too risky to carry out in Britain but regularly offered by Turkish surgeons.
Popularised by celebrities like Katie Price, liposuction is a procedure where body fat is sucked out of the belly and thighs to give people a slimmer look.
It is only available on the NHS to treat severe cases of conditions such as lipoedema, where an abnormal build-up of fat occurs in parts of the body.
So, Britons looking to shed pounds for aesthetic purposes have to turn to the private sector.
According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), which creates guidelines for UK surgery, no more than three litres of fat should be removed in a six-month period.
The body, whose council is formed of prominent UK plastic surgeons, also stresses the procedure is not a substitute for losing weight.
Often, Britons are told to shed a few pounds to get into a normal weight range for their height before a surgeon will even give the green light for liposuction.
While some clinics in the UK will perform liposuction on overweight Britons, they typically refuse to do the procedure on obese patients — those with a body-mass-index (BMI) over 30, due to the increased risk that something could go wrong.
Yet on the streets of Istanbul, Ankara and beyond, clinics will offer to remove far more fat than their UK counterparts.
They will also offer the procedure to obese Britons who normally wouldn’t be allowed to go under the knife.
Dubbed ‘extreme’ or ‘mega’ liposuction, some Turkish clinics brag about removing 15 litres of fat in a single operation on people with a BMI of 35.
Some obese Brits have even gone above this amount, with Chad Teixeira being one notable example.
The then-160kg (25 stone) Mr Teixeira, a celebrity talent manager of London, spent £18,000 on the operation that saw him shed 35kg (5.5 stone).
A total 18 litres of fat was removed from the 26-year-old’s body in a 10-hour surgery last year.
Mr Teixeira said he originally contacted a London clinic for the liposuction, but they declined, saying his weight made the procedure too risky.
Dr Veerle Rotsaert, a plastic surgeon who operates in the capital, said ‘high volume liposuctions can be very dangerous’.
‘I’ve heard stories from patients having travelled abroad that had many litres of fat removed,’ she told MailOnline. ‘The fluid shift can be enormous and put significant strain on the cardiovascular system and kidneys.
‘Here in the UK, surgeons and even more so our anaesthetists, will generally try to refrain from removing too many litres of fat.
‘Also good patient selection for liposuction is crucial.
‘Liposuction is not a weight loss procedure. It can be a good procedure for people with a BMI below 30 who have really stubborn diet resistant pockets of fat that bother them.
‘To be a suitable candidate you need to be in good general health, have no cardiovascular diseases, kidney problems, and so on.
‘Is the candidate selection as stringent elsewhere as over here? I am not sure.’
Brazilian Butt Lifts
A BBL involves taking fat from one part of the body and injecting it into the buttocks to give them a curvier appearance.
Its rise in popularity over the past decade has been attributed to women wanting a derriere mimicking that of reality TV star Kim Kardashian.
However, BBLs, also known as a surgical fat transfer, are considered one of the most dangerous type of cosmetic procedure.
At one time, it was estimated that one patient would die for every 3,000 operations carried out — making it 10 times deadlier than other invasive procedures.
For comparison, roughly one in 3,000 people will die after catching the Omicron strain of Covid according to some scientific estimates.
BBLs are considered especially dangerous because of the risk of injected fat being accidently inserted into a blood vessel.
This fat can go on to cause an embolism — a potentially deadly blockage in the flow of blood to vital organs like the heart and lungs.
Concerns about BBLs peaked in the UK following the death of mother-of-three Leah Cambridge in August 2018.
The 29-year-old died from a fat clot after paying £6,500 in cash to get a BBL at Elite Aftercare in Izmir, Turkey.
Her father, Craig Cambridge, killed himself in April 2021, with an inquest earlier this year attributing his suicide, in part, to his daughter’s death.
Following Ms Cambridge’s death, Britain’s leading plastic surgeons announced a formal review into the safety of BBLs, with temporary guidance advising surgeons against offering the procedure.
When announcing that review BAAPS member Bryan Mayou said: ‘The standard of care is not equivalent in every country, and by making the decision to undergo cut-price surgery, patients risk serious complications and even — as this tragic story illustrates — death.’
The results of the review were released last month and and advise British surgeons to perform a lighter version of the infamous BBL, called superficial gluteal lipofilling (SGL).
This differs in that the fat is only injected just below the skin, avoiding the dangers of fat entering the bloodstream.
BAAPS said its advice had changed because all reports of death from BBLs have been in procedures where fat was injected into the muscle layer, and therefore closer to blood vessels.
Ms Cambridge is not the only British fatality of an overseas BBL, with Melissa Kerr, a 31-year-old mental health counsellor dying in November 2019.
She was killed after a lethal blockage of fat became lodged in a blood vessel during a procedure that cost just £3,000 in Istanbul.
There are a dozen or so additional reports of Britons dying or suffering from infections and other surgical complications following their operation.
BAAPS has also raised concerns that Britons who would be deemed ineligible for BBLs in the UK due to their smoking status, BMI and possible psychological issues are being offered the procedures overseas.
Dr Rotsaert said it was an established fact that BBLs are heavily promoted in Turkey, despite the potential dangers, with dozens of clinics advertising their ability to offer the procedure to Britons online.
‘I know for a fact Turkey actively promotes these BBL’s,’ she said.
‘Whereas in the UK the official guidance from national plastic surgery associations like British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons and BAPPS is to refrain from performing them because the mortality is high when performed by non-expertly trained surgeons.’
Hymenoplasty, the banned ‘virginity repair’ surgery
This surgery claims to restore virginity in women by creating scar tissue in the vagina that will bleed when torn, mimicking the tearing of the hymen during sex.
Hymenoplasty, colloquially, yet wrongly, called virginity repair surgery, was banned in the UK this year over fears women and girls were being pressured to have the procedure as part of honour-based abuse present in some Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, and Orthodox Jewish communities.
It is now illegal to either offer the procedure here in the UK or arrange for it to be performed on Britons overseas.
This, in theory, means UK-based medical tourism agencies and surgeons who come to the UK for consultations cannot offer hymenoplasties to Britons.
Anyone caught doing so could face five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
MailOnline uncovered three agencies which listed a hymenoplasty as an available procedure.
One, Medicci Aesthetics, did not list their prices, saying it depends on the individual.
Medicci Aesthetics has now said it will remove hymenoplasty as an available procedure after being contacted by MailOnline
After being contacted by MailOnline, Medicci Aesthetics said that it will remove the procedure from being offered on its website.
Another agency, Right Choice UK previously offered a ‘special offer’ for hymen repair of £2,250 with ‘payment plans’ available.
When contacted by MailOnline, the business said the image represented a previous version of their website, and that hymenoplasty is not an offered procedure.
And ReviatlizeInTurkey offers hymenoplasty for just £1,565, and boasts this includes free breakfast and dinner for four days following surgery.
It has even listed the procedure as being available to be booked during an upcoming consultation here in the UK in Liverpool and London this month.
ReviatlizeInTurkey did not respond to a request for comment.
ReviatlizeInTurkey have had hymenoplasty listed on their website as an procedure Brtions could make enquiries about
The company even listed it as a procedure available to discuss at a consultation at one of their UK events this month
Some in-Turkey operators go even further, offering a so-called ‘super-hymenoplasty’.
They claim this produces a hymen that will produce even ‘more bleeding’ during a women’s ‘first sexual act’.
It bears highlighting that just because a woman’s hymen is torn does not mean she has engaged in penetrative sex, as the tissue can tear during sport or from tampon insertion.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) was one of multiple organisations that campaigned for a ban on hymenoplasty in the UK.
Dr Edward Morris, its president, told MailOnline it was worrying that businesses are continuing to offer the procedure.
Right Choice UK previously listed ‘hymen repair’ in the UK as a special offer on its website. The company has since removed it from its website and confirmed it does not offer the procedure any more
‘We are deeply concerned with reports that there are still businesses in the UK advertising these services and carrying out these procedures, this is now against UK law,’ he said.
‘We want to send a clear message that we will inform the appropriate authorities, including the General Medical Council if we are made aware of anyone carrying out these procedures so they can take the appropriate action.’
He added that more action must be taken to stamp out the procedure.
‘Women deserve to have ownership over their own sexual and reproductive health,’ he said.
‘We are very concerned that women in vulnerable and desperate situations are being coerced or pressurised into having these procedures to prove that they are a ‘virgin’, despite there being no known medical test of whether or not a woman or girl has had sexual intercourse.’
Victims of botched cosmetic ops in Turkey reveal how they were left with horrifying wounds – including one whose nipple turned necrotic
WARNING, GRAPHIC CONTENT
From being stitched so tight their wounds burst open on the toilet to suffering from necrotic tissue after botched ops, dozens of Britons have been maimed by budget surgery done overseas.
MailOnline shares the horrifying, never-before-told stories of two brave victims.
In sharing their life-changing ordeals they hope their warnings will help others avoid the same fate.
Sarah* – The NHS saved my life
Unhappy with her appearance, Sarah wanted to have liposuction on her belly and thighs combined with a Brazilian Butt Lift.
In June, she took the plunge.
On the recommendation of one of her friends, she booked to go to Turkey for the procedures.
She paid £5,200 to go under the knife, a sum which included a stay at a five star-hotel in Istanbul as well as transport from the airport.
It was just a fraction of the almost £20,000 she would have been charged for the surgeries, if she had them done in Britain.
But following her surgery, Sarah, from Yorkshire, awoke concerned over the lack of attention she received from hospital staff.
‘I didn’t sleep a wink, didn’t see any nurse. I just laid there in blood and fluids,’ she told MailOnline.
‘When the nurses did come in, they didn’t understand me. I kept thinking what the hell had I done.’
The housewife was discharged just two days after the op.
And despite having just undergone major surgery, she was not offered transport to the hotel.
Upon returning to England the stitching on her thighs suddenly split open as she sat down to go to the toilet — leaving two-inch deep wounds
Rushing to help from the NHS, Sarah was told the wounds from the surgery on her thighs had been stitched too tight
It meant Sarah was forced to walk a quarter of a mile to her hotel while holding a plastic bag connected to drainage pipes from her wounds as bodily fluids leaked out.
‘No transfer or anything, we had to walk back to the hotel with our surgical drains in a carry bag,’ she said.
The horror didn’t end there, though, with Sarah then immobilised for two days because she was in so much pain. She sat in her hotel bed covered in ‘puppy pads’ to absorb the liquid spilling from her stitching for two days.
‘I filled a black sack daily. The room smelt disgusting from me and I was very weak and in pain.’
But, unbeknownst to her, the worst was yet to come.
After a painful four-hour flight home, Sarah spent a few extra days in bed recovering.
The stitching on her thighs suddenly split open as she sat down to go to the toilet — leaving two-inch deep wounds .
‘My legs just busted open, my heart was racing I was so scared,’ she said.
Sarah was rushed to hospital by her concerned family, where NHS medics gave her an emergency blood transfusion due to her rapidly decreasing blood pressure.
She was later seen by a plastic surgeon who was ‘disgusted’ she had been let out of the Turkish hospital so soon after her operation.
He told her the stitching on her thighs was far too tight, which had left them prone to bursting.
Furthermore, because so much tissue had been removed, her wounds had to heal ‘from the inside out’, meaning they couldn’t be stitched back up and need ongoing care to ensure they are healing correctly.
Speaking to MailOnline still recovering from her ordeal four months on, Sarah was full of praise for the NHS and social care staff that have looked after her.
‘Nurses were coming every day, they have been amazing. I thank our NHS, they saved my life.’
Shockingly, she never spoke to her surgeon directly until the day of the procedures.
Sarah saw a UK plastic surgeon who was ‘disgusted’ she had been let out of the Turkish hospital so soon after her operation with wounds on her thighs taking months to heal
Instead, Sarah received recommendations on what surgery to have via text messages from a member of his team after she sent images of her body.
‘I was like, ‘I trust you, let’s go with it’,’ she said.
Sarah was originally impressed with her treatment as she was picked up from Istanbul in a ‘lovely’ bus that conveyed her straight to her hotel alongside other British women also there for operations.
This positive impression soured after meeting the surgeon, who said he would mark her up for surgery while doing the procedure.
Normally marking up which areas to cut is done before surgery and with the patient’s input to help avoid mistakes being made.
Sarah eventually did get some of her £5,200 back but says that’s poor compensation compared to what she said was a risk to her life.
Kate* – Turkish surgery left me with a necrotic nipple
Kate paid a small fortune to go under the knife for a swathe of procedures in Turkey in June.
Admitting ‘vanity’ was her sole reason, she booked an upper eye-lid lift, an upper arm lift, a breast reduction with lift, a tummy tuck and extensive liposuction, all in one go for the price £15,000.
Despite the princely sum, this is still just a fraction of what the 65-year-old would have paid in the UK.
Kate, from the North West, went with a British-based agency that offered to arrange everything for her to get the procedures done in one of Turkey’s major cities.
‘They offered the full works, five-star hotels, breakfast, bring a friend to stay with you, VIP airport pickup and transfers, massages, the whole package,’ she said.
The part-time care assistant was led to believe that she was speaking with an actual medic, when she was arranging her package.
It was only after the op took place that she learned her discussions were with the wife of the cosmetic surgeon.
While the surgeries initially went to plan, Kate became concerned one of her nipples had turned an extremely dark colour.
Kate would later learn this was a sign it was slowly becoming necrotic due to a drop in blood supply.
Post surgery, Kate became concerned one of her nipples had turned an extremely dark colour and would later learn this was a sign it was slowly becoming necrotic due to a drop in blood supply.
Kate paid tribute to the NHS staff that have treated nipple, describing them as ‘fantastic’ and acknowledged that the taxpayer was essentially subsidising the mistake made by overseas surgeons
But the grandmother was reassured by the Turkish team that this was normal.
She said: ‘I was told “That’s okay, it’s because of the graft oozing blood underneath the surface, it’ll be fine”, it all started going downhill from there.’
After 10 days in Turkey, Kate returned home to Liverpool but grew increasingly concerned about the state of her nipple.
‘When I got home, I saw that my nipple was starting to get darker and it was starting to get dry,’ she said. ‘It looked like it was scabbing over.’
Kate sent pictures to the agency which organised her surgery, as well as the surgeon himself, who only advised her to use an antibiotic cream and a moisturizer which she did for a few weeks.
‘For every picture I sent, every message I sent, I was assured it was fine,’ she said.
Kate even claimed the Turkish medical team actively discouraged her from speaking to her GP about her nipple.
She said the medics told her: ‘Those British doctors don’t have a clue, they’re not qualified to make decisions on this.’
However, after telling a friend of her condition, Kate was urged to seek medical attention, and contacted her doctor.
He advised her to go into her nearby NHS walk-in centre and Kate said staff were shocked by her nipple’s condition.
‘The nurse I saw almost went hysterical, she had me crying I was so alarmed by her reaction,’ she said.
The nurse sent her back to her GP who arranged an urgent referral to the breast care unit at the nearest hospital.
There, a specialist confirmed the nipple had become necrotic and parts of it would need to be cut away.
They added it was fortunate Kate had come in when she had otherwise she may have lost her entire nipple.
She has since needed weekly appointments, which have included the application of special vacuum dressings to encourage healing.
Kate paid tribute to the NHS staff that have treated her, describing them as ‘fantastic’ and acknowledged that the taxpayer was essentially subsidising the mistake made by overseas surgeons.
While Kate’s necrotic nipple was her major concern, she was also left dissatisfied with the shape of arms following the lift as well as the shape of her hips following the liposuction.
She now needs a range of corrective procedures and is paying £10,000 to have them done, bizarrely in Turkey again.
Kate acknowledged this might seem strange given her recent experience but said the price of surgery in Britain left her no option.
‘I simply can’t afford it in the UK,’ she said.
She called for greater regulation on who should be allowed to advertise and arrange surgery for Britons overseas.
And for those thinking of going under the knife overseas, Kate had the following advice.
‘Do your homework, there’s so many things to look out for,’ she said.
‘Look for previous patients, get the history of the surgeon.’
*Names have been changed to protect anonymity.
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