A BRITISH woman claims she nearly had to have her leg amputated after she caught a flesh eating bug when she had cut price 'thigh gap' surgery in Turkey.
Sian Elliot, 29, had full body liposuction last year but said it left her with saggy skin on her inner legs, so she forked out around £2,000 to have it removed on both legs.
She woke up from the three hour operation in agony and was horrified when some of her stitches popped open on the flight home.
Bedbound Sian said the wounds on both legs started to weep – and eventually UK doctors discovered she had necrotising fasciitis.
The flesh-eating disease caused huge chunks of the skin on her inner thighs to die and doctors had to cut it away in a bid to save her leg.
Medics warned that if she had left it any later, the leg would have to have been amputated.
And Sian has been forced to take seven weeks off work as a domestic assistant at Whittington Hospital.
Distraught Sian, who still has a gaping wound in her leg, said: "I really wanted as small legs as possible as I've always had big thighs.
"I used to go to the gym when they were open but nothing I did was getting rid of it so I felt like I had no choice!
"I really want to warn others about going abroad for cheaper surgery. I was going to this surgery in Turkey every year but after they made mistakes they offered me a better discount on an operation to fix it.
I really want to warn others about going abroad for cheaper surgery.
"I don't know what I would do if I lost my leg. I have two boys, a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old, and they are having to be independent because I am keeping my leg elevated and can't help them anymore."
Sian had fat removed from five areas of her body in August, and paid £3,000 to have the surgery done in Istanbul, Turkey.
But she claims the surgeons "messed up" her legs during the operation leaving saggy skin on her inner thighs, so she booked another operation at the same hospital on October 13.
"They took me downstairs into a freezing room and began injecting my arms with anaesthetic," she said.
"There were about 13 people in the room – including men – and they made me take off my gown. I still don’t know why.
"When I woke up I was moved to a hospital bed straight away and was bed-bound for three days."
Sian said she then began to question the treatment she was receiving – but had to download an app to translate what the doctors were saying.
She said: "I was shocked because I was supposed to have compression socks after surgery but my legs were only bandaged.
"I had in a catheter but it would leak all over the bed and no one would help change my garments so I had to stay in them and stank of p***!
"No one would respond when I pressed the buzzer so I had to drag my IV around the hospital with me to get help."
After three days in hospital she stayed in a hotel to recover before her flight back to the UK on October 19 and said she felt terrible.
Sian added: "When I tried to stand up to go back to the hotel, I felt dizzy and threw up, but I was still only prescribed with painkillers.
"They also gave me some dressings which I had to change myself after I had been discharged.
"They didn’t give me a wheelchair so I was literally hopping around the hotel, and eventually, the airport too!
"When the plane took off my legs swelled up with fluid and the stitches started to break so fluid leaked out during the flight."
Sian WhatsApped the Turkish surgery from home but claims they reassured her the weeping wound was a normal response to air travel.
But she quickly ran out of dressings and painkillers, and unable to go to her GP due to her Covid travel isolation period, she took herself to A&E at Whittington hospital where she works as a domestic.
How to have surgery safely abroad
Surgery abroad often costs less than here in the UK, but you need to weigh up the risks.
No surgery is risk free, but overseas clinics may not provide the same follow-up treatments as here in Britain. Aftercare is an important part of the treatment.
The NHS advise being especially cautious of websites selling cosmetic surgery as part of a holiday.
If you do get a holiday package, make sure you have your consultation with the surgeon, not a sales rep, and don't pay for a hospital you haven't seen or a doctor you haven't met.
Do your research, find out what insurance the clinic has and if it will cover you if something goes wrong.
You should have two consultations before the op, and a two-week 'cooling off' period to think it through.
Air travel and major surgery increases your risk of a blood clot. Do not fly for 5-7 days after surgery like boob jobs or lipo, and for 7-10 days after facial ops or tummy tucks.
In agony and unable to walk on both legs she said she was diagnosed with anaemia and stayed in for four days for a blood transfusion, but after she was discharged Sian was informed that the wounds would continue to heal on their own.
She returned home but she noticed a disgusting smell coming from the wounds – a sign the skin was dying.
"I had holes on both sides of my leg, and when I was at home the skin started dying which gave a foul smell that you could smell through my clothes'" she said.
"I've never smelt anything like it, it smelt like a dead body!
And just four weeks after the surgery abroad, she was taken to the Royal Free Hospital for an emergency appointment where surgeons removed the dying skin.
I've never smelt anything like it, it smelt like a dead body!
"The nurse said that it was the worst wound she had ever seen!"
Now recovering from her ordeal at home, she has been signed off work at Whittington Hospital for seven weeks.
Sian added: "I haven't complained to the hospital because they don't want to talk to you.
"They were so nice before you handed the money over, and after that they completely changed. I didn't even meet my surgeon!"
The Turkish hospital has not responded to a request for comment.
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