Plastic surgery holidays seem to be the new fashionable way to go on a holiday. Going to an exotic location to see palm trees, hear the sound of the ocean, and eat great food is a thing of the past for some, as they consider the opportunity of having all that plus a minor or more considerable alteration of their body through plastic surgery. Everywhere online you can find travel agencies specializing in plastic surgery tourism that offer packages for incredible prices. What could be better than visiting a country you are interested in, relaxing, and coming home with bigger breasts or whatever your desired improvement in the body is? Well, it sounds delightful, and this is the reason why so many people choose plastic surgery abroad. However, this is not all you need to know about undergoing plastic surgery outside the United States. An issue that should be considered is how safe these procedures abroad really are.
The phenomenon of getting plastic surgery abroad
“A room with a view and 500 ccs of implants in my breasts.” These make a great marketing tagline for an exotic holiday. Sun, sand, and a butt lift. This is what many travel agencies specializing in medical tourism propose. Here, the enticing formulas combine the appeal of a foreign country and improving body features such as the breasts, buttocks, and face. Now, you can get a tan while also slimming your legs with lipo, toning the tummy with an abdominoplasty, and getting more curvaceous with an augmentation with implants.
The countries where you can travel to get plastic surgery are numerous; however, many United States citizens prefer to go to Thailand, Mexico, or Brazil. Travelling to find or recover the missing beauty, and the cost is unbeatable. You can get the flights, accommodation, food and plastic surgery for as low as half the price of just the surgical intervention if performed here in the United States by a reputable plastic surgeon.
Plastic surgery tourism has become a small phenomenon on its own, and there is no doubt about it. Look on forums and you will see women looking for travel companions for certain dates and countries. Nobody wants to be alone when undergoing plastic surgery abroad.
Many of the offers for plastic surgery abroad are rather attractive, and the patient doesn’t even have to bother to have the pre-operative consultation as everything is done by email. In other words, you can schedule your breast implant surgery over your smartphone in a few hours. Some travel agencies or medical facilities from abroad will ask the patient to send over her medical file and some photographs. But a vast majority of them, usually those with the lowest prices, don’t bother the patient as much, so they don’t ask for anything and mention that everything will be done after the patient arrives.
Many patients interested in undergoing plastic surgery would look at the prices and feel like they are ripped off in the United States compared to what happens abroad. So how can this price gap be explained? Well, before anything else, medical staff salaries are much smaller in other countries compared to the United States. Often they would use cheaper materials or even materials that shouldn’t be in use at all. For example, abroad you can get a butt or breast augmentation with Macrolane (a type of hyaluronic acid) that is not FDA approved and hence not performed in the United States. Also, the butt and breast implants we use in the United States are completely safe and tested for many years, which can’t be said about the ones used in other countries.
When it comes to plastic surgery, there is the cost of the plastic surgeon and the medical staff, the price of the clinic, anesthetist and the materials or substances used. When choosing to undergo a plastic surgery intervention in the United States, you will start by finding the right surgeon. This is when you will first notice that the price range varies significantly even in our country, and it is only natural for this to be so. A certain plastic surgeon will have more experience compared to another who just started performing interventions. Some are specialized in certain types of procedures and deliver spectacular results. You get to see before and after pictures and even read testimonials from past patients. There is a level of transparency that will not be available to you if you choose to undergo the procedure abroad.
When traveling to get plastic surgery, you often don’t have the opportunity to choose your own plastic surgeon. You will go to a clinic and the surgeon available at that time and date will perform the procedure. The patient-surgeon contact is extremely limited, and this is the reason why patients don’t know much about what is happening to them. For example, we had a patient who had butt augmentation with implants abroad that came for revision surgery, and after starting the procedure, we realized she had breast implants inserted in her buttocks instead of butt implants. Of course, she had no idea. This is always a risk when choosing plastic surgery abroad.
The risks of undergoing aesthetic procedures outside the United States
Before anything else, we need to discuss about potential complications after plastic surgery. When you undergo a surgical procedure, there are always risks such as infection, wound opening, and so on. When undergoing plastic surgery abroad, you will be probably sent home within a week after your procedure is performed. This means that many patients travel back home with surgical wounds that have not healed yet or even with infections. The level of post-operative care is very low as the patient is discharged quite soon and there is no contact with the surgeon after returning home. In other words, there will be no one to monitor your recovery process which is an important stage of the intervention and can negatively impact the aesthetic results.
By undergoing plastic surgery abroad, you are reducing your chances to be seen by a reputable plastic surgeon if complications arise and you need an expert’s opinion. Nobody wants to clean the mess after someone else. Moreover, generally speaking when it comes to plastic surgery, it is much easier to get a good result starting fresh than trying to correct what others did wrong.
Another aspect to be considered is the occurrence of life-threatening complications while you are still abroad. In many cases, patients experiencing complications will need to delay their return home and go to the local hospital to get help. In a vast majority of cases, the public health system in these countries is not at the same level as in the United States.
Common risks associated with undergoing plastic surgery abroad
– It is difficult to verify and check the actual qualifications of the practitioner who will perform the procedure, and his training often does not correspond to the years of studies and practice of plastic surgeons with board certification in the US.
– The surgeon is only met at the last moment when the intervention is already paid for, and the preoperative consultation with the anesthetist is too close to the intervention date, which usually takes place the next day or even during the same day.
– There is no time for reflection or proper assessment.
– Operative suites prevent the enjoyment of a real holiday. Many people never occupy the hotel room sold with the package, and practically nobody can enjoy the sun and the swimming pool right after surgery.
– There are risks of pulmonary embolism in the plane returning home, especially after major interventions.
– The post-operative follow-up with the cosmetic surgeon who has performed the intervention abroad is impossible. In case of complications, no recourse is possible, and you will not benefit from any insurance.
Undergoing plastic surgery abroad is risky, and when it comes to your health, you should avoid it as much as possible.
Certain patients looking for plastic surgery interventions are attracted by the low cost and many promises made by plastic surgery abroad. But the risks entailed by undergoing plastic surgery abroad can be considerable, especially for patients who are not in perfect health condition. There are many reasons why plastic surgery abroad is often not the best idea. Among them include the impossibility to check the qualifications of the medical staff, potential complications that can occur on your journey home, and the lack of quality materials and post-operative care.