“...I’ve no regrets. I did me research, so knew what I was getting into. It’s important to look at the hospital, find out about the surgeons, and meet the people you’re dealing with. You’ve got to go into it with open eyes."

Carrie Wells

Company Magazine


August 2002



Written by: Jenny Wood


Trip Organized by: Surgeon & Safari

Low prices and recuperation in the sun – South Africa is one of many countries offering plastic surgery packages holidays, Company followed Carrie Wells to see how safe they really are

DAY 1:

When we meet at Heathrow, Carrie Wells doesn’t look like a girl who’s about to have major surgery over 6,000 miles from her home in Sunburg-on-Thames. In fact Carrie, 26, is so unflustered; she nearly misses her plane to Cape Town as she spent too long browsing in duty-free.

"I’ve been saving to have a breast augmentation for the past 18 months," she says, once we’ve settled down for the 12 hour flight to South Africa. Carrie is a pretty blonde, a size 12 -14, and doesn’t look in need of surgery. She’s enthusiastic and chatty, with a killer smile that lights up her face as she talks. "All the time I was growing up, I was fairly heavy – 17st at one point – but when I went to university, the weight just dropped off."

Gradually, Carrie, who works in sales, lost over 7st. "Now my top half looks deflated – there’s very little left," she says. "I want to tidy it up and get my boobs back. Cosmetic surgery is the only way to do that."

South Africa wasn’t Carries first choice for surgery. "My friend had the same operation in a London clinic, so I made an appointment there," she says. "However, I felt they were rushing me into a decision and weren’t very forthcoming with information. I also couldn’t face recovering at home – I’d go mad with boredom." The, Carrie saw a newspaper article about a company called Surgeon & Safari. Which arranges surgery packages tours to Cape town and Johannesburg in South Africa. Run by South African businesswoman Loraine Melville the company organizes every aspect of your trip – from surgery to sightseeing trips while you recover.

"Of course, I was skeptical at first – anyone would be," says Carrie. "It’s so far away and the prices they quote are so low – how it can be that cheap and still be a high standard ?" So, Carrie investigated further. "I visited the company’s website and read everything thoroughly. I researched the surgeon’s background and the private hospital in Cape Town where the operations take place. I was really impressed." In February this year, Carrie made an appointment to see the surgeon, Lionel Jedeikin , on one of his regular visit to the UK. "Lionel’s qualifications were excellent and, while he was professional, he was relaxed. I asked him loads of questions, like how I’d feel after the op, how much pain I could expect and wither I’d still be able to breastfeed when the time came. He didn’t rush me."

Her mind made up, Carrie set about saving the money needed for her breast augmentation package. She has decided to stay fro 12 nights, which will cost her £ 33502, although the normal stay for a breast operation is seven nights, costing around £ 3 070(The operation alone costs approximately £ 3 800in the UK) This price covers flights, food and the guesthouse accommodation, the cost of surgery and two nights in hospital, plus the service of Judy, her "personal; assistant" for the 12 days trip. Over the next few months, Carrie communicated with Lionel and Judy by email, asking questions, organizing her accommodation and ironing out the details pf her stay. "I’ve told a few colleagues, my sister and my best friend, Vic about the trip and am surprised how supportive they’ve been." She sys, "My boyfriend, Martin, is understanding, but he’s more nervous than I am. He’s worried I’ll come back looking out of his league!" Like many who travel to South Africa fro surgery, Carrie is making the trip alone. "Martin wanted to come, but it was hard for him to get time off work. Also, he wouldn’t have had much of a holiday, sitting around while I’m in bed and I’d have worried about him being bored. It’s better to do this alone." When asked if she’s nervous, Carrie laughs and says she’s too excited to worry, though she admits to a few panicky moments the day before. "I got stressed over silly things, like buying a pair of slippers to take with me – it was my way of coping, but now I can’t wait to get there and have the op!"

DAY 2:

Judy, Carrie’s personal assistant, is waiting when we touch down at Cape Town airport at 9-30 am next morning. Judy’s job is to act as counselor, taxi driver, nurse and friend throughout Carrie’s stay. Carrie had been concerned that having someone on call 24 hours a day would be stifling, but her fears are unfounded. Judy is in her late 30’s, softly spoken with a sharp sense of humor, and Carrie instantly warms to her.

Carrie’s first stop in Constantia, in the wine farm district of Cape Town. Carrie had the option of staying in five-star luxury at the Mount Nelson in the city centre, but chose the more informal family-run guesthouse. After freshening up, it’s back into Judy’s people carrier for Carrie’s pre op consultation, AS we sweep towards Dr. Lionel Jediekin’s office we see Table Mountain, the famous flat-topped mountain that dominates the city. It certainly beats Surrey.

Dr. Jedeikin’s office is as laid-back as he is. Zebra-printed cushions, family photos and woven wall-hangings give the impression of someone’s living room rather than a consulting room. Carrie has to complete some paperwork – medical consent forms, hospital admission forms and a form to allow Dr. Jedeikin to use her before and after photos fro journals and teaching talks.

Dr. Jedeikin goes over some of the things he discussed with Carrie in London. He recommends implants of 300cc, which would give her a late C or early D, while keeping them in proportion with the rest of her body. He asks her if she has read documents covering the possible compilations of breast augmentation and goes through the main ones with her – such as hardening of the implants (known as capsular contracture) and haematoma (internal bleeding_. He than takes Carrie into an examining room and draws on her breast with a marker, as a visual guide fro surgery. That night, Carrie enjoys a traditional South African meal and sips two glasses of Champagne in front of the living-room fire before falling fast asleep at 9pm, excited but exhausted.

DAY 3:

Judy picks Carrie up at 6am and drives her to the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in the centre of Cape Town. Carrie reveals she’s never had an operation or even visited a hospital before, but she still isn’t nervous. I’ve done my research, there are no surprises," she says. "I know what’s involved and I know the risk, but I’m not particularly worried. I just want to get it over with!"

At 7-45am, dressed in a hospital gown, Carrie is wheeled down to meet the anesthetist. He explains she will be under "conscious sedation" during the operation, which means she’s knocked out, but it’s kinder to the body that a Full-on general anesthetic. Then, it’s time for the op. Robbie Williams’ Swing When You’re Winning plays in the background as Dr Jedeikin works.

When Carrie wakes up, she has the shakes. The anesthetist assures her this is a normal reaction, as her body realizes something has happened to it. At first, Carries claims she can hardly feel her implants – but her first night in hospital is uncomfortable. The sleeves attached to her legs to keep her circulation going and prevent deep vein thrombosis are making her hot. She also finds the glass water jug on her bedside table heavy, and leaning out of bed to lift it strains her chest muscles. However, the nurses look after her well. "They took my leg cuffs off, washed my face , brushed my hair and gave me a back massage – I could hear all the knots of tension cracking out, it was brilliant."

DAY 4:

The day after the operation Carrie rings her friends and family at home to tell them she’s okay. "I phoned Martin who says he’d been sick with worry," she says. "Then, when I called my sister, she says she’d had the worst day of her life, not knowing how I was. They were imaging all sorts of things – that I’d been cut open and left on my own. It’s difficult fro them – they can’t see I’m being well looked after."

DAY 5:

Carrie spends toady in bed, watching TV, reading magazines and taking trail walks around the room. I’d never know I’d had a boob job unless I look down," she says. "My chest’s swollen, but the support bra holds it all in. On a pain scale of one to ten, it’s about a two – and a six at the most." Judy visits Carrie regularly. "Carrie is typical of a lot of the girls whom come over from the UK – a career girl who wants value for money and had a high expectations, "says Judy. "My job is to do whatever is needed to make Carrie’s time here as comfortable as possible. "Judy goes to all of her clients medical appointments, takes them to surgery and organizes their recuperation time. This should be anything from a visit to the cinema to a safari. "My job is to be a connection between the patient, the nurses, the doctors, the people who run the Guesthouses and even the patient’s family, if they want me to."

DAY 6 :

Back at the Guesthouse 2 days after her operation, Carrie is in good spirits. "My boobs have gone down a bit, but they’re still swollen. Dr. Jedeikin came in to see me before I left hospital, and was pleased with my progress. I had a peek at them and they look so good. It’s like another person looking back at me in the mirror – I can’t believe it’s me. I can’t wait to get back and show everyone."

Judy is more cautious. "We’ve noticed a pattern with most patients that three or four days after surgery, they hit a low. They have a bit of discomfort and get impatient for the stitches to come out. They often start questioning whether they’ve been vain having surgery or whether it was with LL THE TROUBLE. That’s when I try to get them out and about, doing something – even if that’s just going fro a cup of coffee. Everyone recuperates differently."

DAY 7-8:

Carries takes it easy for the next few days, reading, ringing friends, hanging out at the Guesthouse and eating her host’s home cooking. I’m glad I choose to stay here – I like the fact I can chill in front of the televisions. I can just relax and enjoy myself." However, Carrie’s finding it frustrating nit being able to do everything she’s used to. Opening car doors, pulling on a jumper or washing her hair put a strain on her chest. She felt sorry fro herself yesterday and had a five-minute cry. "But I pulled myself together – I know it’s just a matter of time before I’m healed, so. I’m focusing on next week when I can go sightseeing."

Carrie is unfazed by the thought of any compilations, such as infections or capsular contraction, when she returns to the UK. I’ll try and get an upgrade on the flight back, but I’m not worried – it’s a week away and my breasts will have settled by then. Besides, I’ve read an article that says no implants have ever exploded on a plane. Then, if I get home and have problems, I’ll see my GP, call Judy or see Dr. Jedeikin when he comes over. But, the implants seem to be settling down fine."

Carrie’s recovery period in Cape Town is not as busy as she’d hoped. She sees Dr/ Jedeikin for a final check-up, visits Table Mountain and has lunch at a traditional South African wine farm. But by the end of her first day out, she’s exhausted. I was so kankered. I nearly cried. You don’t realize how tired you are. I’ll take it easy tomorrow," she says. Her breasts have come down, but she still can’t sleep on her side.

DAYS 9 -11:

Carrie spends the rest of her time relaxing in the guesthouse and going on shorter shopping and sightseeing trips, she decides against a safari – It’s only an hour and a half’s journey out of Cape Town, but she thinks she’d get too tired. For her last day in South Africa, Judy organizes a leg wax, full body massage and facial from Carrie, so that she can go home feeling pampered and relaxed, "all for the bargain process of £ 30 "laughs Carrie.

DAY 12:

At the end of her stay Carrie has mixed emotions. "I’m excited to go home. I can’t wait," she says. "Martin’s just been paid, so a big shopping trip for underwear for my new boobs is on the cards! But I’m sad to leave – I’ve felt like a member of the family at the guesthouse. Now several of my friends are thinking of doing the same! I’ve felt less lonely than I expected and I’ve no regrets. I did me research, so knew what I was getting into. It’s important to look at the hospital, find out about the surgeons, and meet the people you’re dealing with. You’ve got to go into it with open eyes."

Unfortunately Carrie did not get her upgrade on the flight back to England.


Carrie takes a couple of days off work. Back at work Carrie’s work mates are curious to see the results of her surgery, "They all knew – well, they couldn’t miss it really !" she laughs. But they’ve been great – even giving me lift to work."

Would Carrie consider coming back for more surgery in the future? "I’m definitely coming back with Martin in a few months’ time, but only for a holiday," she laughs. "But I never say never – perhaps I’ll be back fro a facelift in 20 years’ time!"


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