Is traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery worth the risk?
Can you imagine going on a destination vacation and coming back home with a better body or refined face for a fraction of the price? Sounds like a great deal right? But is it? People travel to places like Mexico, South America, and Asia to get plastic surgery at a cheaper price. Tourism for plastic surgery is a growing industry for those parts of the world. Not everyone does their research and end up with more than they bargained for. The lower costs upfront can lead to a costly revision. You’ve probably heard the horror stories of tourism plastic surgery where women and men returning to their home countries with infections or botched surgeries that require more medical attention or worse.
Considering cosmetic surgery overseas? First consider:
Are you getting your money’s worth?
You need to be sure you know who will perform your procedure and the exact procedure you are requesting. Does your plastic surgeon speak your language fluently? Do they understand your goals and expectations? Therefore, you need to do your research and set up a consultation.
Consultation – Meet with the surgeon and their team to get to know who will take care of you from start to finish. Have the surgeon explain the process of the procedure and what you should expect during the recovery. See the plastic surgeon’s before and after photos to get to know their work. Ask for references of past patients if available. Look at reviews from patients they’ve worked on.
Planning – Once you decide on a plastic surgeon you will need to plan out the finances and the time needed to recover. Most cosmetic surgeries require at least a full week or two of recovery. Make the right accommodations to have the time off. Have the household, work, and kids or pets taken care of for that time.
Follow-up Care – Figure out where will you be recovering. You need to be close to your plastic surgeon during the initial recovery. They will address any complications like infections that may occur.
Follow-up care is not always easy to get once you leave the country where you had your procedure. When your procedure is complete, you may or may not get the full care, you need post-op. Patients may fly out days after their procedures to return home because they cannot afford to stay in the country longer than a few days or a week.
Note, it’s not advisable to travel for long periods after surgery because there is a potential risk of developing pulmonary embolisms and blood clots.
- What qualifications does the plastic surgeon have?
For example, in the United States, plastic surgeons have a standard set of qualifications and requirements they must finish before becoming board certified.
American Board of Plastic Surgery® (ABPS) requirements:
- Graduate from an accredited medical school.
- Complete 6 years of surgical training following medical school with a minimum of 3 years of plastic surgery residency training.
- Pass comprehensive oral and written exams.
- Complete continuing medical education, including patient safety each year.
- Adhere to a strict code of Ethics.
- Perform surgery in an accredited, state-licensed, or Medicare-certified surgical facilities.
- Did you get the results you wanted?
If you’re unhappy with your results can you go back to your plastic surgeon for revision surgery? Can you afford to return to the country and pay for revisions? If you are “botched” would you return to the same doctor for revisions or would you find a doctor in your home country? Some plastic surgeons are cautious to perform revisions on “botched” patients because they know surgical negligence occurs. A common “botched” issue plastic surgeons encounter when people seek help after their destination surgery is the use of unsafe practice for buttocks augmentation. Instead of fat grafting to the buttocks or using implants, unknown materials are being injected into the buttocks that cause damage making it hard to repair.
There are no laws to protect you from surgical negligence outside the United States. What this means is that no legal action can take place if you receive a complication that occurs during or after surgery when it results from poor-quality care or negligence, you and your family will not receive compensation from a surgical negligence claim like you might in the United States.
- ASAPS warning