NHS Scotland does not recommend choosing to pay to travel abroad for surgery as part of a packaged holiday. This is sometimes called surgical or cosmetic tourism.

Complications of having surgery abroad

Most surgical procedures go well but there can always be complications. You should understand what’s included in your treatment package in the event of complications.

One cause of problems after surgery abroad is the holiday that comes with the surgical package. A key part of recovery after surgery is rest. Taking part in activities such as swimming and sunbathing can have a negative effect on healing.

You should not fly soon after surgery as the risks of clots in the legs is much greater. It’s possible for clots in the legs to spread to the lungs, which can be life threatening.

NHS Scotland recommend you do not fly for:

  • 5 to 7 days after procedures such as breast surgery and liposuction
  • 7 to 10 days after facial cosmetic procedures or tummy tucks (or any abdominal surgery)

NHS Scotland will always provide emergency care where needed. But there’s no obligation for NHS Scotland to provide further routine treatment. It’s important that you know where to go for the routine care needed before and after your operation, and in the event of any complications.