Island Getaway (to your next cosmetic procedure...?)

The Truth About Plastic Surgery Tourism

The number of people traveling to have plastic surgery has increased dramatically over the past decade. Cost-conscious "shoppers" are looking to get a good deal on surgery; unfortunately this can often come at an unforeseen price. I've also had patients tell me their friends said not to have surgery in the US because doctors here do not care about their patients...WOW!

The truth is, there are "good" and "bad" doctors everywhere. And I believe that there is a right surgeon for each patient...I may not be it for you! In fact, I am more than happy to refer patients for a second or third opinion: this is YOUR face/breasts/body! You only get one. And if you don’t like your surgeon, you are less likely to like your result (even if they did a great job). However, I DO NOT condone traveling to a vacation destination to get your nip and tuck for a few very important reasons.

1. You are not going to be able to enjoy vacation-related activities while at your vacation destination.

Sure, the thought of recovering from your procedure sounds lovelier if you can be staring at the ocean with a cool glass in your hand. But if you can’t actually go swimming, sunbathing, or exploring, is that really going to be much fun?!

2. Cosmetic surgery is real surgery, and there are risks involved

Lots of patients ask me about Kanye’s mom when they come for consultation for a cosmetic procedure. She did not die from surgical or anesthesia-related complications, for the record. If you are a healthy person, elective surgery can be overwhelmingly safe when the proper precautions are taken. But this is real surgery. And real surgery can have real complications, from minor ones I can manage in my office, to catastrophic ones that require lengthy hospitalizations, more surgeries and procedures, etc.

3. Traveling for surgery can increase your risk for complications.

The most likely fatal complication after a tummy tuck is a blood clot. Do you know what also increases your chances of getting a blood clot in your legs? Flying. Enough said.

4. Bargain basement surgery prices abroad may lead to steep medical bills back home.

You may save a few thousand dollars on your surgery in the Caribbean; however if you have a complication after you come home, your insurance will likely not cover this. Also, some patients may need small or occasionally large revisions after the initial procedure. Many before-and-after gallery photos are not just the result of one single surgery, but may represent the entire journey from start to finish, which often may include tweaks and secondary procedures down the road. Most surgeons here have a free revision policy for something reasonable within the first year of the surgery that they performed. If you had this done abroad, where do you go for that secondary procedure? In the end you could end up spending much more than originally budgeted.

5. Safety Standards are not created equal.

We have very stringent rules here (sometimes to the point of being oppressive) when it comes to not only a) the quality of physician and surgical training, but also b) the standards by which surgical centers and hospitals are held to in order to ensure you are not exposed to unsanitary or unsafe conditions while you are under the knife. This is a huge uncertainty in third world countries. For an elective procedure, why risk your safety?

Questions? Comments? Feel free to reach out or share!

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copyright 2017 Meredith Vandegrift