We have recently been having many admissions from patients choosing to travel abroad to Turkey for bariatric surgery or procedures. The British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society (BOMSS) has recently issued guidance on this. They have raised concerns raised about:
1. Lack of adequate expert pre-operative assessment, discussion and counselling
2. Poor choice of procedure offered and the number of combined procedures offered in one surgical sitting
3. Different procedures being performed to the one the patient expected, or the details of the procedure conducted being unknown
4. Unknown quality and safety of the team providing surgery
5. Risks of long-distance travel immediately following surgery, for example developing a blood clot in the leg or lung (which can be potentially life-threatening)
6. Poor or non-existent access to routine post-operative follow up care, increasing the possibility of outcomes such as weight regain and nutritional deficiencies in bariatric patients and increasing the risks of sub-optimal outcomes and complications in plastic surgery patients.
7. No direct access to expert care if a complication occurs (and most GPs are not trained in the care of patients who have had bariatric or plastic surgery)
As a surgeon all of this is extremely dangerous and I would be very worried about an organisation prepared to offer surgery based on the contents of a WhatsApp message as seems to be the growing trend.
The advice from BOMSS is to seek a consultation with a UK Bariatric Surgeon before committing to travel abroad for surgery.