Weightloss

Urgent warning over cheap weight loss Botox procedure in Turkey


Health officials have issued an urgent warning about a reduced-price “Botox” weight-loss program offered in Turkey.

Sixty-seven patients from across Europe were struck down with botulism after receiving injections at two different clinics. The UK has not reported any cases.

This potentially life-threatening disease is caused by a toxin produced by bacteria.it can Left untreated, it can lead to paralysis.

All patients were treated with gastric or gastric “Botox”, a drug that paralyzes the muscles in the digestive system and slows down digestion, helping them beat the swelling.

A Turkish clinic offers injections commonly used to fight wrinkles for as little as £850 for patients looking to lose weight.

European health authorities have sounded the alarm over a wave of botulism cases believed to have been sparked by Turkey's Botox weight loss program (stock image)

European health authorities have sounded the alarm over a wave of botulism cases believed to have been sparked by Turkey's Botox weight loss program (stock image)

This is a fraction of the price of similar bariatric surgery in the UK and US.

All cases were recorded between February 22 and March 1, 2023.

Botox refers to a product made by US pharmaceutical giant AbbVie. Clinics in Turkey claim they are using the anti-wrinkle injection – but the company says the procedure has nothing to do with its product.

Both Botox and botulism are derived from toxins produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which are very dangerous.

But it's generally safe when used by a trained medical professional to paralyze muscles for a range of treatments.

However, if the toxin is administered incorrectly, it may cause symptoms such as weakness, difficulty breathing and/or difficulty swallowing.

If the condition is severe and left untreated, it can lead to paralysis or even death, and up to one in 10 cases of botulism is fatal.

While most of the known cases are mild, several patients have been taken to hospital, according to European health authorities.

They advise any patient who has undergone “Botox” weight loss surgery in Turkey during the suspicious date to contact a medical professional immediately, especially if they begin to experience symptoms of botulism.

Most cases for which data are known were reported in Turkey itself (53), followed by Germany (12), Austria and Switzerland with 1 each.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, which sounded the alarm, said the exact cause of the botulism was not yet known.

Turkish authorities have traced most of the cases to two clinics, with 60 linked to a private hospital in the capital Istanbul. Three of them linked to a private website in Izmir.

UK surgeon generals are increasingly concerned the NHS is helping to subsidize poor care overseas in a bill that has cost taxpayers around £4.8m over the past four years

UK surgeon generals are increasingly concerned the NHS is helping to subsidize poor care overseas in a bill that has cost taxpayers around £4.8m over the past four years

Here MailOnline details the most notable differences between the UK and Turkey in some of the cosmetic procedures

Here MailOnline details the most notable differences between the UK and Turkey in some of the cosmetic procedures

Cosmetic surgery in Turkey is generally inexpensive compared to its UK counterparts. Prices for Turkey and UK are from multiple sites (models are stock images)

Cosmetic surgery in Turkey is generally inexpensive compared to its UK counterparts. Prices for Turkey and UK are from multiple sites (models are stock images)

They also found that while Botox was licensed for use in clinics, the products were not specifically approved to treat obesity.

They have since suspended all activities in the relevant departments of the hospital, Further investigation will be conducted on all parties involved.

Stomach or stomach “Botox” is touted by Turkish beauty and weight loss clinics as a cheaper and easier weight loss option than full surgery.

The procedure costs just £850, according to the medical tourism booking agency that arranges for Britons to undergo surgery in Turkey.

During the procedure, an endoscope — a long tube with a camera on the end — is inserted into the patient's mouth to reach their stomach.

Botox is then injected into the stomach wall using an endoscopic tool that follows the camera.

The clinic says the procedure takes about 15 to 20 minutes and does not require general anesthesia.

The resulting paralysis of the stomach muscles slows down the digestion of food, making people feel fuller and, in theory, helping them lose weight.

However, like other Botox procedures, it is not permanent and the abdominal muscles return to normal in about four to six months, which means people may start gaining weight again.

British health authorities have yet to issue a similar warning to their EU counterparts.

However, the government's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office urged Britons to use extreme caution when undergoing surgery at home and to research any surgery or procedure carefully.

At least 22 Britons have died since the start of 2019 after traveling on medical tourism in Turkey, the government said.

As well as dying, there are many more Brits suffering health consequences from Turkish surgery for which the NHS and taxpayers have had to foot the bill.

Campaigners have even dubbed Turkey a “genocide capital”, with the cash-strapped NHS estimated to have lost £5m over four years to botched overseas surgeries.



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