Professor Peter Vogt, president of the German Society of Plastic Surgeons, said such offers, frequently available online, did not give potential patients time to consider what they really wanted done or the opportunity to get to know their possible surgeon.
“Strongly discounted offers for aesthetic procedures such as breast enlargement and liposuction lead patients to decide for an aesthetic procedure that they might never have considered without that offer, and with that, not think about the risks,” said the Berlin-based surgeon in a statement.
They are also often put under pressure to make a quick decision by offers with a time limit, he said, leaving no time for a patient to check out a doctor's credentials.
“The patient must carefully check if the person making the offer is qualified to conduct the requested procedure,” he said, recommending that anyone considering surgery discuss the options with the potential surgeon – an option closed to people who have been bought a voucher.
“Because a patient has practically decided blind, the necessary patient-doctor discussion is missing. The voucher patient is taking the second step before the first,” he said.
The purchase of a voucher commits patient and doctor to a procedure before they have talked about what is medically advisable or what the patient wants, he said. The pressure to have the procedure done is also particularly high as the voucher has been a present, he added, while the ethics of the surgeons making such offers should also be questioned.