Why is plastic surgery usually cheaper in Belgium than in the UK?
British patients often ask this question. This is mainly due to the fact that private clinics in the UK are run on a more commercial basis. Large budgets are allocated for advertising in various expensive women's magazines. This results in huge numbers of telephone calls which are handled by secretaries. Every day they send out numerous beautiful and therefore expensive information brochures. A lot of people then come for initial consultations but only a small proportion of them actually have surgical procedures. This obviously drives up operating costs.
What is more, premises in the UK are often much more expensive and many private clinics in the UK have a medical and commercial director, holding companies and shareholders.
In Belgium, on the contrary, almost all private clinics are run by one or two doctors. They usually started working in hospitals and their private practice has grown gradually over the years as a result of word-of-mouth publicity. The Orde der Geneesheren (Belgian Medical Association), a powerful institution that monitors the ethical behaviour of Belgian doctors, does not allow advertising of any kind.
Word-of-mouth publicity costs nothing and a very large percentage of patients actually have an operation after their first consultation.
What is a hypertrophic scar ?
A hypertrophic scar, also called "proud flesh" is scar tissue that remains red for much longer than normal, sometimes for more than a year. It also has a tendency to become raised and form a kind of ridge. This tissue also contains a particular type of nerve fibre, which can cause itching or prickling.
The mechanism by which this occurs has not yet been precisely elucidated. It has a clear genetic component and the risk varies depending on the location in the body. In white-skinned people the risk is highest over the breastbone. The risk is higher for dark-skinned people. It is of course always annoying to have a growing scar after a cosmetic procedure, but fortunately there are now effective methods to treat it. These do have to be started as soon as the scar begins to grow and must continue for as long as the scar is red.