Considering a trip abroad for plastic surgery? If you’ve looked into plastic surgery tourism, you aren’t alone. Over 750,000 Americans travel overseas for medical care and plastic surgery each year. Typically, they’re seeking to restore and reshape their appearance while saving money on their desired procedures.
Plastic surgery tourism at first glance seems appealing. Travel to a far-off location and come back looking fabulous. Popular procedures for plastic surgery tourism include Brazilian butt lifts, tummy tucks, (abdominoplasty) liposuction, labiaplasty, rhinoplasty, and breast augmentation. But it’s important to have a full understanding of plastic surgery tourism.
The Popularity of Plastic Surgery Tourism
But like most “too good to be true” ideas, plastic surgery tourism has its complications. Many US health professionals are reporting returning patients seeking care for infections and other complications they encountered after having plastic surgery overseas.
Plastic surgery tourism has become very popular in the last decade. There’s no universal data collection on plastic surgery and medical data abroad isn’t well documented. The number of patients traveling outside of the US could be higher. Americans are traveling to Thailand, South Korea and Costa Rica for these procedures. There’s no sign of this trend slowing down. And this fact is creating concern throughout the medical community.
The price for plastic surgery in other countries can be much lower. This may make plastic surgery tourism sound like a good idea but there are several risks when traveling abroad for plastic surgery. To help raise awareness about the risks involved with traveling abroad for plastic surgery, we’ll explain some of these dangers.
Cosmetic Surgery Is Real Surgery
Even at the highest level of healthcare, every surgical procedure has some risk. These risks can increase when surgery is performed abroad. The most common complication reported by patients is infection. But hematomas, scarring, and overall unsatisfactory results have also occurred. Combining surgery with traveling long distances increases these risks. Some patients have developed life-threatening pulmonary embolisms and deep venous thrombosis (DVT) from the added complication of air travel. Inflight cabin pressure increases the risk for DVT, particularly for post-operative patients. Beyond just swelling and infection, these can be potentially fatal consequences. Every surgeon has their own post-op instructions after surgery depending on the procedures done, so it’s important to clarify with the surgeon beforehand when it is safe to return home after surgery.
Plastic Surgery Tourism isn’t a Vacation
Overseas cosmetic surgery often gets marketed as a vacation getaway. Exotic images of lush tropical forests and welcoming beaches can create a misleading message that doesn’t match the harsh realities. It’s important to remember that after surgery, rest is crucial to healing properly. However, it’s important to avoid all vacation activities post-surgery. The body needs time to rest and heal properly. Patients shouldn’t exercise, take long walking tours, parasail, jet ski, snorkel, water ski, sunbathe or drink alcohol after surgery. That covers many activities people want to do while on vacation. Instead, expect rest and lots of TV watching, reading and napping.
Plastic Surgery Tourism is a Price-Driven Phenomenon
Many companies are popping up on the internet offering all-inclusive packages that include cosmetic surgery as part of a vacation package. Cosmetic surgery procedures typically aren’t covered by insurance. With the vast majority of patients paying out-of-pocket, price can become the biggest selling point for these types of vacations. These “deals” include “credentialed” or “highly trained” medical professionals that operate out of private clinics. People look at these ads for a vacation and surgery package that’s lower in price than just the procedure in the US and think they’ve hit on the deal of a lifetime. However, it’s essential to separate marketing from medical reality.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) warns that it may be difficult to verify the medical credentials of many of these surgeons outside of the US. It’s a huge risk to choose a cosmetic surgery vacation in a foreign country. Of course, there are plenty of qualified physicians practicing medicine around the world. But it can be much more challenging to verify credentials. Patients could be choosing to have surgery done by unqualified doctors in non-accredited facilities. The ASPS wants patients to think about the risks of unsatisfactory results and health complications that could occur once they’ve left the country. It’s important to factor into any perceived savings, the cost for corrective surgery or treatment of complications if something goes wrong. These costs can be much more extensive than the initial plastic surgery.
Tummy Tucks, Rhinoplasty and Other Cosmetic Procedures Need Professional Verification
Most cosmetic surgeries require anesthesia. Anesthesiologists in the U.S. are highly trained medical professionals who use precision measurements to safely anesthetize patients. The most modern instrumentation, sterilization techniques and properly trained surgeons are all vital to a successful procedure. Vacation plastic surgery spots may not have this same level of patient care and procedure. The country may not even have medical accreditation boards to certify their surgeons or the facilities where they work. Many plastic surgery tourism clinics are privately owned, making it more difficult to verify credentials. Where your health and your life are concerned, you want to make sure your doctors, anesthesiologists and medical staff are highly trained and certified.
U.S. laws do not have the power to protect individuals against malpractice in other countries. There are no U.S. verifications for the training and credentials of physicians performing plastic surgery outside of the U.S. This means that if there is any negligence that occurs as a result of a surgery or procedure, the patient may have no legal recourse against the doctor or the institution.
Post-op Monitoring and Follow Up is Key to Cosmetic Surgery Success
Postoperative care is a crucial element of any surgical procedure. In most instances, cosmetic surgery tourism packages offer little to no follow-up care. If a patient chooses to travel outside of the U.S. for cosmetic surgery, they may find themselves at a disadvantage if they require any additional surgery or care if complications develop.
Upon their return to the U.S., the patient may need subsequent treatment. This is where things get extremely complicated. How will a physician know the details of a procedure performed overseas? This makes follow-up treatment extremely difficult. Revisions to cosmetic surgical procedures are normally more delicate and complicated than the original surgery. Sadly, many patients end up unsatisfied because they can’t afford revision surgery. These surgeries can sometimes total more than the cost of the initial surgery performed overseas. What began as a savings can quickly spiral into costing more than if the patient had chosen a U.S. physician for the procedure in the first place.
The Quality of Plastic Surgery Products and Devices Matters
Products and devices used by physicians overseas may not be tested and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All products and devices used in medical procedures in the U.S. must meet a certain level of quality standards. They must be safe and effective. This is a process that is heavily regulated by the FDA here in the U.S. Unfortunately, in the countries where patients have chosen to for cosmetic surgery vacations, they may not have the same regulations or standards that we have in the U.S. This can lead to health complications and the need for replacement surgery to remove inferior items like implants. You may have even seen the headlines and horror stories of non-medical grade materials being used by overseas cosmetic surgery clinics.
Safety Starts At Home
When a patient decides to travel overseas for cosmetic surgery they’re opening themselves up to more risk. In most instances, they never get to consult with the physician or tour the facility beforehand. They probably don’t know anything about the country’s healthcare, legal system, customs, or language. On top of all of that, they’re far from the comfort of home.
There’s always a risk when it comes to any surgical procedure. But by choosing to work with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon here in the U.S, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re safe. You’ll have the opportunity to review all the information you need from an accredited physician in an approved facility. This will help you to choose the right surgery for you that minimizes much of the risk and offers a better patient experience.
Looking for Plastic Surgery in Los Angeles? You’re In The Best Hands With Dr. Cat
With all of the drawbacks of plastic surgery tourism, it’s easy to see why patients would opt to prioritize their health and safety. By choosing a top-rated, certified, and experienced U.S.-based plastic surgeon, you’re investing in getting the results you’ve dreamed of.
Dr. Cat’s passion for women’s transformation through plastic surgery has led her to be a top medical professional. She’s earned over 1.2 million followers on her social media platform thanks to her empowering approach. Her meticulous techniques are gentle and leave nearly invisible scars and minimal bruising. She’s renowned for pioneering vaginal rejuvenation and cosmetic surgery as well as her signature “natural-looking tummy tuck.” Dr. Cat is a perfectionist who demands an unparalleled patient experience and the very best results.
Dr. Cat’s ambition brought her from Harvard to California where she attended UCLA medical school. There, she completed two surgery residencies, one in Plastic Surgery and the other in Head and Neck Cancer Reconstructive Surgery. She’s not only a wife and mother, she’s the creator of MD GLAM and Dr. 90210 on the E! network.
Find Out Why People Travel for Plastic Surgery to Beverly Hills
Dr. Cat is a unique cosmetic surgeon in Beverly Hills. She listens and cares for her patients and has an impeccable track record of results. These are some of the reasons why she’s one of the most sought-after cosmetic surgeons in the world. She not only caters to patients for plastic surgery in Los Angeles, but people also fly into Beverly Hills from around the globe to meet with her to get the plastic surgery results they want.
Every procedure that she performs is customized to the unique needs of each individual patient, taking into account their vision and lifestyle. With her experience in cosmetic surgery and commitment to serving patients for many years, there’s no need for you to travel abroad for the results you deserve.