The Many Risks of Cosmetic Surgery Tourism

We’ve all heard the saying “you get what you pay for.” This is true in many instances, including in the world of cosmetic surgery. In recent years, many Americans have traveled abroad in search of more affordable plastic surgery. This pursuit of less expensive cosmetic surgery can lead patients to countries as close as Mexico and Costa Rica or nations across the globe like Singapore. Some patients see the opportunity to pay cheaper prices for their procedures combined with the appeal of staying at a lovely beach resort as too good to pass up. However, I believe it is important to warn patients that there can be considerable (even potentially life-threatening) risks associated with undergoing a cosmetic surgery procedure overseas.

The Many Risks of Cosmetic Surgery Tourism

Safety Standards May Be Lower in Certain Countries

Regardless of what procedure you intend to undergo, it’s essential to find an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your surgery. Certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery, as well as membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgery and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, ensure rigorous training requirements as well as advanced medical education, hospital privileges, and more. Certain destinations for cosmetic surgery tourism may have more lax standards for the surgeons performing your procedure and safety protocols in the operating room like unsterile equipment or surgical tools. You may also be exposed to certain bacteria in a foreign country that your body does not have the necessary antibodies to fight, leaving yourself more vulnerable to post-surgery complications.

Difficulty with Follow-Up Care

After cosmetic surgery, follow-up appointments with your surgeon are crucial to make sure you are healing smoothly and working to promote the best possible aesthetic results. If your surgery is performed in another country, it can be difficult for your surgeon back home to know exactly what was done in order to provide the necessary follow-up care.

Travel Can Affect Your Recovery

While the idea of recovering while lying on the beach at your resort sounds nice, the truth is that a healthy and full recovery from cosmetic surgery will require you to stay out of the sun immediately following your procedure. Additionally, long-distance air travel soon after your surgery can affect blood flow and increase your risk of complications like the break down of fresh incisions and the development of dangerous blood clots.

“Cheaper” Surgery Can Cost You More in the Long-Run

Although the goal of many people who consider cosmetic surgery tourism is to cut costs, this approach can often become more expensive for patients. The additional costs associated with potential revision surgeries and complications can sometimes outweigh the costs of just undergoing the same procedure back home. Not to mention the cost of traveling. The truth is that plastic surgery here in the US is often far more affordable than many patients realize.

I know the appeal of cosmetic surgery tourism can seem tempting, but in my opinion, the significant risk far outweighs the potential benefits in this situation. Although it is certainly possible to find a skilled, qualified plastic surgeon overseas, the lack of safety standards, follow-up opportunities and coverage if a complication should occur would personally make me think twice about traveling abroad for any surgical procedure. At Southern Plastic Surgery, we offer affordable plastic surgery plans to help patients who seek cosmetic rejuvenation, but are concerned about the potential cost. To learn more, please contact me, Dr. David Whiteman, at Southern Plastic Surgery for more details or to schedule a complimentary plastic surgery consultation today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram for the latest plastic surgery news, tips, and photos.