Medical tourism and plastic surgery in Czech Republic
Medical tourism is very popular over the world. A lot of patients also come to the Czech Republic, visiting usually the spa. But the Czech medical care is on the top level for many years and with a long tradition in other branches, too. The quality is guaranteed. Each medical branch has defined contents by law. Medical chamber is responsible for conferment of medical license, based on gained qualification. It is confirmation a particular person passed proper training, and also done the oral and practical examination.
How is it in plastic surgery?
Extremely high standards of Czech plastic surgery combined with low prices and location in central Europe place the Czech Republic among favorite cosmetic and plastic surgery destinations. The treatment is on the high level and the prices are available for majority of interested persons.
Among main advantages of Czech plastic surgery belongs the educational system that assures the quality of medical care.
What are the main features of Czech educational system?
In the Czech Republic there are 4 steps of training:
- At first a plastic surgeon trainee starts with theoretical studies and watching the surgeries.
- Then she/he assists to senior surgeon.
- She/he continues with operating under supervision and assisting to senior surgeon.
- Finally she/he carries the surgery alone.
The training lasts at least 5 years and must be provided at accredited sites, where the trainee is going through all parts of plastic surgery. To become a fully board qualified plastic surgeon, one must pass the qualifying examination, which is oral and practical. To application form for the examination the candidate must attach references of main tutors and a list of performed surgeries. There are types and number of compulsory operations.
The Czech Republic is in fact home of a modern plastic surgery. The plastic surgery is connected with name of Academician Frantisek Burian, one of the founders of this branch in continental Europe. In the beginning of 20th century he founded the Department of Plastic Surgery; belonged to Charles University in Prague. Since that time the specialty has spread over the whole country. Nowadays here are two fully accredited university centers, about ten state departments, and more than about twenty private facilities. Czech plastic surgeons are highly qualified, skilled, trained and educated. The scientific level and continuous education are held by scientific societies on plastic surgery. The old one is the Czech Society of Plastic Surgery. Doctors who are affiliated in need not be plastic surgeons necessarily. There fore the second society- Czech Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery- was established fifteen years ago.
It associates about 101 fully boarded plastic surgeons practicing aesthetic plastic surgery.
There are certified surgeons highly specialized, experienced and educated in aesthetic procedures.
Majority of patients from abroad is interested in aesthetic procedures. They come mostly on personal service of their friends, pleased by a good experience with Czech plastic surgery. There are also some foreign (German, British, Swiss) agencies organizing trips connected with possibility of consultation and even surgery.
The first contact with patient is usually carried out via e-mail. Majority of Czech cosmetic surgeons speak English. All doctors recommend to patients a stay as long as possible, ideally to full healing. The number of complication is relatively very low and does not exceed the common level in any case. The treatment of complication depends on stipulation. Patients can come back anytime on their convenience.
The prizes resulting from local conditions are of course significantly lower than in west Europe or in USA. It is done by disproportion among financial abilities of countries. In addition do not forget the law a foreigner has the same rights as Czechs. It means the prize must be the same for all patients anywhere coming from and higher prizes would make the aesthetic surgery inaccessible for Czech citizens.
What to consider mainly?
Here are some recommendations done by ISAPS (International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery www.isaps.org), we identify with:
The key guidelines for plastic surgery travelers, Techniques and risks
What is the surgeon's training?
A gynecologist performing a breast augmentation or a dermatologist doing a face lift are not an appropriate choices.
Is the plastic surgeon certified?
The ISAPS website lists the names and addresses of nearly 1,500 certified plastic surgeons in 73 countries.
Is the surgery center or clinic certified?
Ask for certification information and who the certifying body is.
Does your personal health insurance cover you outside your country?
Most health insurance providers do not cover individuals for surgery performed outside their own country. Consider obtaining extra coverage.
What about aftercare?
Patients should stay in the area where the surgery was performed for at least one week, depending on the procedure. Find out in advance where you will stay and if this facility is prepared to care for your post operative needs.
What about complications?
What doctor will care for you at home if you have complications and who will pay for secondary or revision procedures?
Do the key personnel at the surgeon's office speak your language fluently?
If you cannot be understood fully, be prepared for complications.
With whom are you communicating?
You should be talking directly with the doctor's staff and the doctor. A travel agent should only make travel and accommodations arrangements.
Is the surgeon a member of recognized national and international societies?
ISAPS membership is by invitation only and is granted only after extensive screening.
Have you checked for references?
Ask for names and contact information of patients who have recently had a similar procedure and contact them about their experience with the surgeon, their staff, aftercare facilities and post-operative follow up.
Commenting on the new ISAPS website, ISAPS president-elect Dr. Bryan C. Mendelson of Melbourne Australia, remarked, "Information that was once only available to a few is now readily accessible to consumers in virtually every country. The ISAPS guidelines for plastic surgery travelers provide consumers with vital and perhaps even life-saving yardsticks to gage if the doctor they choose for their plastic surgery is appropriately trained and certified for the procedure they are considering."
We would like to add and to emphasize following recommendations:
- Your chosen specialist should be a certified plastic surgeon. See the list of plastic surgeons that are members and the list of plastic surgeons that are certified members of Czech Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
- It is reasonable to pass the whole process with the same plastic surgeon, i.e. the initial consultation, examination, the surgery, and post-op care. It is good to stay in contact by phone or email the whole healing period.
- Every plastic surgery facility or clinic in Czech Republic has to have "top qualified plastic surgeon", a warrantor. Such plastic surgeon has to be certified for this post by state which means by Society of Aesthetic Surgery and Society of Plastic surgery. Warrantor is guaranteeing the level of medical care in the clinic. But be aware that this doctor doesn't have to be the one performing your surgery. Make sure you know who is the plastic surgeon performing your surgery.
Prague, Czech Republic, November 30, 2006
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