Hungary has long been popular with the Germans and Austrians as a destination for low cost dentistry and cosmetic surgery. Since Hungary joined the European Union in 2004, educational and industrial regulations have become more strict in keeping with EU standards, causing professionals in the cosmetic surgery and dentistry fields to be very much equal, if not surpassing, in quality when compared to their western European counterparts. Yet the low costs for cosmetic surgery and dentistry remain simply due to the lower cost of living and the lower wages paid to medical professionals in Hungary.
Advantages of cosmetic surgery and dentistry in Hungary
- Prices for cosmetic surgery and dentistry can be anywhere from 40% to 70% less than prices in the UK.
- Hungary has long been popular with Germans and Austrians for low cost cosmetic surgery and dentistry, and now people from the UK are catching onto this trend to save themselves large amounts of money.
- With a long history and a tradition of excellence and its convenient location in central Europe, Hungary has become one of the favorite and most trusted cosmetic and plastic surgery destinations.
- Approximately 80 % of Hungarian cosmetic surgeons speak English, and most speak German as well
- Hungary is a country of fantastic natural beauty, and boasts not only the world’s second largest thermal lake, Lake Heviz, and Central Europe’s largest lake, Lake Balaton, but also 400 thermal springs that locals and foreigners have long flocked to for their healing powers.
- Hungary’s climate is temperate.
- From any of London’s airports, a flight to Budapest International Airport is only about 2.5 hours, and a return ticket can cost as little as 25 pounds. Five major European airlines now fly to Hungary, in addition to low cost airlines like SkyEurope, Easyjet, WizzAir, Malev and Jet2.
What it takes to become a certified plastic surgeon in Hungary
Dr. Istvan B. Szemerey, director and surgeon at the Mediburg Clinic in Budapest, and also surgeon at the plastic surgery department at St. Stephan’s Hospital in the city, explains the steps necessary to become a certified plastic surgeon in Hungary. (Dr. Szemerey is a member of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the Hungarian Association of Plastic Surgery, and the German Association for Plastic Surgery). After studying for 6 years at a medical university, a future surgeon must pass the final exams to obtain a general medical diploma. At this point, “there must be 5 years of practice and experience of general surgery at a clinic or hospital. Then there is the exam for general surgery or other operative surgery. After this exam is passed, you have to practice in plastic surgery for 3 years. Plastic surgery has 4 fields: reconstructive, cosmetic/aesthetic, burn surgery, and hand surgery. Then you must pass your plastic surgery exam.”
Dr. Csaba Molnar, vice president of the Hungarian Society for Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (MPHEST), explains that it takes a minimum of 14 years after the medical university degree is received before a surgeon can begin to practice.
“We have a special law: to start a practice on your own, at your own responsibility, you need to spend 5 years working under the supervision of a well-trained senior plastic surgeon,” he says.
Cosmetic and general dentistry in Hungary
Hungary has become more and more of a popular spot for aesthetic surgeries and treatments, especially for general and cosmetic dentistry. In fact, Hungary stands out internationally for its excellence in dentistry – this EU nation can boast the highest number of highly skilled and experienced dentists per capita in the world.
To become a cosmetic dentist in Hungary, a person first graduates from a general dental university after 5 years, and after graduation, he or she can either take a short course and become an implantologist, or train for at least 2 to 3 more years to become a specialized dental surgeon, such as an oral or maxillofacial surgeon.
Dentists from Hungary, unlike several other eastern European countries, are immediately qualified to work in the UK immediately after graduation from dental university, due to the fact that Hungary’s dental school requirements also meet the requirements of a particular EU directive.
For a cosmetic dentist to practice in Hungary, he or she must hold a governmental certificate and their name should be posted on the door to their office and operating theater. Five year ago, continuing education was made compulsory for Hungarian dentists, who now are obligated to attend several conferences and educational sessions a year. There are about 300-400 continuing education sessions a year for dentists to choose from. A system of points is used to ensure that dentists are frequently attending these seminars that keep them up to date with the latest technologies and techniques in their field. Also, many dentists belong to the Hungarian Medical Chamber of Dentists, so their credentials can be verified through this organization.
How to choose a cosmetic surgery clinic or cosmetic surgeon in Hungary
In order to search for a cosmetic surgeon in Hungary who is qualified and has the experience in the surgery that you would like done, it is always important to first check to see what kind of accreditations the surgeon has. Often, the surgeon’s or clinic’s website will have their curriculum vitae listed, along with all international and national medical associations that he or she is a member of. You can even look up the associations to make sure that the surgeon is listed as a member. Associations include the International Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (IPRAS) and the Association of Hungarian Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (the highest national group for Hungarian plastic surgeons). The international associations’ websites also offer excellent advice on what to consider before deciding on a surgeon.
Dr. Molnar advises that thorough research is key to working with a good clinic and surgeon.
“If you want to find a good clinic, you have to look around. Every clinic website has photos and/or descriptions of the clinics and the services offered there. The most important factor for choosing a clinic is the professionality of the surgeon(s) working there. Of course, the conditions of the clinic are also important,” he says.
“A good plastic surgeon must have sufficient experience and practice. Hungarian plastic surgeons have a society, MPHEST, and this body is responsible for making sure that all its members are well trained, experienced and undergo continuous training. Members of MPHEST have a duty to participate in conferences worldwide, which suggests that they all have a reliable working knowledge of English. It is highly recommended to choose a plastic surgeon from the webpage of this society or check the membership of a chosen plastic surgeon in MPHEST at www.plasztika.org.hu.”
“Personality is also an important factor in choosing a plastic surgeon, something that potential clients can find out about in personal meetings. The most authentic recommendation is one by a previous client,” he adds.
It is good to ask what the clinic’s success rate is for your particular operation. Find out if your clinic and/or surgeon or dentist has professional insurance, and learn what kind of guarantees that they can promise you, if at all. For example, a dental clinic may offer you a 3-year guarantee on crown or bridge work.
It is also important to enquire about the clinic’s practicing licenses, about the details and length of your specific operation, the details about your “post op” care or aftercare. This is especially important since you will be flying back home and your surgeon will not be able to see you during your recovery period. Make sure you know what results to expect according to your particular circumstances.
Dr. Szemerey admits that it can be a difficult process for a foreigner to choose the right surgeon or dentist for their needs, but there are certain ways to narrow the choices down.
“One important factor is the learning curve of the surgeon, such as his publications. Also, the letters that you receive from the surgeon – since it is important to get the answers in good English. You can also compare before and after pictures of different surgeons. Really, the best advertisement is the patient’s testimonial. We say ‘word of mouth’ propaganda. Some surgeons might have a beautiful website, but their surgery work is not so perfect. To choose a surgeon can be hard work, and through a medical broker it could be a little bit easier and safer, but not necessarily the safest.”
Arranging cosmetic surgery on your own
You can arrange cosmetic surgery in Hungary without the assistance of a medical broker or other intermediary. Once you have done the research and are satisfied with the surgeon’s qualifications and experience, and have heard positive feedback from previous patients of the surgeon, you can book a date for the surgery through the clinic. When you have the date or dates for the surgery, make sure you allow yourself enough time before and after your surgery. Using these dates, you can purchase your flight tickets online, flying straight into Budapest International Airport. Accommodation can be easily found online as well, or ask the clinic for a recommendation of a nearby hotel or apartment. If you wish to rent a car, this can also be researched and confirmed online. Ask your surgeon and/or the clinic’s contact person as many questions as you need to when planning your trip.
Using an intermediary to plan your trip for you can be more expensive, but they may also take care of all the little detail from airport pickup to post-surgery caretaker in your apartment so you don’t have to worry about anything. And again, do some research to see if you can find anyone else who has used their services before booking with them. When it comes to something as important as traveling abroad for your cosmetic surgery, word of mouth is of the utmost importance.