Breast Surgeons Abroad Using Questionable Sales Tactics

Riga, Latvia, breast surgery abroad

Strange sales tactics have been luring unsuspecting women abroad for breast surgery, an investigation by the Sunday Times claimed.

An undercover reporter who went to the Baltics for a consultation was told:

  • Their breast implants would last a lifetime.
  • They didn’t need insurance because the doctor was their insurance.
  • The time spent in hospital would be minimal.
  • The patient could contact the breast surgeon by mobile if there was a medical emergency.
  • The patient would be well enough to fly home within a week.

The Sunday Times reported that Dr Zarzeckis, who is also a city councillor in the Latvian capital, had decided that the woman in question was suitable for surgery after a short visual consultation. He did not ask her what expectations she had from the surgery, or find out that she had a susceptibility to scarring.

Dr Zarzeckis also had another ace up his sleeve. He said: “If the surgery is in the summertime we have very nice waterways around Riga. I do the tour with my patients. And if it is wintertime and my patients like to fly, then I fly my airplane and I give my patients a sightsee.”

Like many other doctors from countries such as Belgium and Cyprus, Dr Zarzeckis also made regular trips to Britain to find new patients.

Although the cost of surgery abroad can be cheaper than in Britain, many of the best practice guidelines that we follow here are not observed abroad. This includes the traditional ‘cooling off’ period which gives patients the chance to make their decision in an unpressured environment.

A record number of cosmetic surgeries were carried out in Britain last year, according to the Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. 43,172 operations were carried out and the industry is estimated to be worth more than a billion pounds by 2015.

New surgery guidelines are likely to follow a review of the industry carried out by Sir Bruce Keogh which was conducted after the PIP implant scandal. They will recommend an end to hard sales tactics which trivialise breast implants.