Prices for popular operations like breast enlargement and nose jobs are on average two-thirds cheaper in Poland and Tunisia than in Dublin, a poll found.
The survey was carried out by the Consumers’ Association of Ireland (CAI), which said plastic surgery was becoming increasingly popular among the Irish thanks to the Celtic Tiger, television shows and affordability.
But the Harley Medical Group, which runs 11 clinics across Ireland and Britain, said few Irish patients were willing to travel to go under the knife, preferring instead to stay closer to home.
According to the CAI survey, a facelift in Dublin costs €8,500 but is 70% cheaper in the Polish city of Wroclaw where prices are €2,633.
Similarly a €5,500 nose job in Dublin would cost €1,609 in Wroclaw, €1,800 in the north African holiday spot of Tunisia and €3,500 in Prague.
The association surveyed prices for five beauty operations in Dublin, London, Prague, Wroclaw and Tunis and found that Poland and Tunisia were the cheapest.
Prices in London lagged behind those in Dublin, which was the priciest of the five.
Despite the savings to be made, medics are warning patients to beware of having cosmetic surgery abroad — or even in Ireland.
The Irish Medical Council, which regulates doctors in Ireland, said patients were at risk if they attended private clinics without recognised surgeons in residence.
“Many of these clinics fly doctors in and out of Ireland so there’s an issue surrounding aftercare should something go wrong.”
Dr Sean Carroll, from the Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons (IAPS), said a lack of trained cosmetic surgeons in Ireland meant patients opted to go private at home and abroad.
“Another worry is that there’s no inspection of these clinics because no one has the right to do so,” council president Dr John Hillery told Consumer Choice magazine.
“Procedures go wrong far too frequently and some of the things I have been presented with have been horrendous.
“There have been a number of times when I’ve wondered if the surgeon who carried out the procedure had ever done it before,” Dr Hillery said.
Patients wanting cosmetic surgery should ensure the surgeon is registered with the IAPS and is also on the Irish Medical Council’s register of specialists.