SLIMMING DOWN: George Christensen, who weighed 175kg before the procedure, has been recovering in Mackay for the past two weeks.
SLIMMING DOWN: George Christensen, who weighed 175kg before the procedure, has been recovering in Mackay for the past two weeks. Tony Martin

George Christensen: Why I had surgery in Malaysia

HE WAS 105kg when he left university, and 130kg when he became a member of parliament.

Suddenly, George Christensen - fast-emerging politician and Mackay lad - was 175kg; double his recommended weight.

His heart and blood pressure was healthy but after advice from his GP, he boarded a flight, to Malaysia, for a life-changing sleeve gastrectomy.

In the end, it was a Chinese-Malaysian surgeon who removed 85% of his stomach.

He travelled with Absolute Beauty Asia; an Australian company that facilitates cosmetic and other medical surgeries at low cost, with no waiting times.

The website promises safe and successful medical surgery overseas "in a setting that they know and trust... in our much loved neighbouring islands of Bali and Phuket and the exciting destination of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia".

Mr Christensen, who has private health insurance, said he found most Australian surgeons were booked for at least "9-12 months".

This company was able to do the operation within two months of initial enquiries at a surgery in KL.

"I wouldn't recommend anyone to get up and go to an overseas hospital," he said. "I went to an Australian-owned company who take on a lot of the liability to do with the whole procedure, they facilitate the entire thing."

The 38-year-old said after deductions from private health and Medicare rebates the cost wasn't going to be much different.

Medical Association Australia vice president Tony Bartone defended this country's medical facilities, arguing it had one of the best and safest health care systems in the world.

"We have world class... surgeons and facilities on our doorstep," Mr Bartone said. The procedure could result in complications, he said, and as such required proper preparation and long-term follow up.

Mr Bartone said potential complications could leave the patient in a foreign country for a prolonged stay and if something were to go wrong in the future, the Australian system would then have to fix the work.



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