People traveling for plastic surgery is not as uncommon as you might think. In fact, the numbers are increasing. According to recent plastic surgery statistics, 25% more people are seeking treatment abroad every year.
Medical tourism is a growing phenomenon because it’s cost-effective. There are cheaper options for medical treatment outside the United States. With insurance options becoming more expensive, people seek treatment where it’s affordable.
There are also Americans who travel across the U.S. for a procedure they could have gotten in their hometown. We’re going to dive deep into the reasons why. We’re also going to examine the risks and thrill of good and bad plastic surgery.
Our goal is to keep you safe and well-informed if you’re seeking treatment abroad. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about traveling for surgery!
Types of Cosmetic Surgery
There are various types of cosmetic surgery that can impact a person’s appearance. Some procedures don’t include putting someone under the effects of general anesthesia. General anesthesia is for surgical purposes. But, it is not necessary for all cosmetic or plastic surgery.
An example is lip fillers. They’re minimally invasive, yet are under the category of plastic and cosmetic surgery.
That’s because fillers work with natural structures to enhance beauty. Before making any decisions, it’s important to figure out what your goals are. The idea is to target the best options and to do this, you have to know what you’re looking for.
Here’s a list of several plastic surgery options:
- Tummy Tuck (Includes anything from liposuction, lifts, and excess skin removal.)
- Breast Implants (This could include: augmentation in size, a lift of the natural breast, or reduction.)
- Eyelid reduction (This is to widen the appearance of the eye.)
- “Nose job” or rhinoplasty (For correcting curves or dents in natural nose structure.)
- Septoplasty or septorhinoplasty (Corrects a deviated septum for sinus sufferers. It helps with allergies and breathing difficulty.)
There are many more options for plastic or cosmetic surgery. The big question is how can you tell the difference? And, how do you know what’s right for you?
You may consider a consultation with a local plastic surgeon. This will help you better gauge the type of cosmetic surgery that’s right for you. It will also target the right surgeon abroad that specializes in what you’re looking for.
Does Location Affect Plastic Surgery?
Here is some food for thought. Americans travel within the U.S for surgeries they can get in their hometown. Meaning, popular procedures on the West Coast differ in other locations.
But wait, why would someone from a small U.S. town travel to L.A. for the same procedure?
Several reasons push Americans to travel the nation for surgery. The main reason is expertise. Doctors in L.A. have high-tech equipment and more resources.
They also do breast augmentations on a constant basis. Large cities like L.A. or New York provide top-quality, innovative care. This is harder to come by in smaller towns.
Why People Chooses “Medical Tourism”
Let’s face it, money is the driving force of medical tourism. People traveling for plastic surgery do so because it’s affordable. In fact, plastic surgery procedures can come at a quarter of the price in comparison to the United States.
That’s a huge chunk of change that makes flying to a foreign country seem worth it, right? After all, insurance premiums in the U.S. aren’t known for being easy on the wallet. The price tag on surgeries abroad is a temptation alone.
Any patient needing treatment can find low-cost options in different parts of the globe. The cost looks great, but are there any drawbacks? Let’s take a look at the “not so great” side of medical tourism.
The Risks of Undergoing Plastic Surgery Abroad
There are many things to consider before making the decision to have surgery abroad. Any procedure abroad will be dangerous and risky. Not only do you have to consider the distance, but there are several other issues at play.
The risks can outweigh the benefits, especially without the proper research and preparation. We’re going to take a closer look at each potential risk factor of plastic surgery abroad.
Language and Communication
The most obvious risk factor is having a language barrier. If you’re not able to speak the language of the doctor or nurses, you’re in big trouble. How are you going to speak up if you’re in pain?
You need to consider communication as a potential risk factor. Imagine an emergency situation. Could your abroad physician communicate with your primary care doctor in the States?
Travel and Recovery
You’ll be undergoing surgery which means you won’t be able to bounce right out of bed and hop on a plane to get home. You will need ample time to recover and heal from any invasive surgery.
With this comes a high cost of accommodations. Think about asking a friend or family member to join you for comfort in your recovery process. Surgery is a very serious venture.
Education and Qualifications
Plastic surgery overseas may seem like an awesome choice because of the cost, but there’s a huge snag. Other countries don’t require their surgeons to perform at certain standards. Surgeons in the U.S. have to get certification from a board of directors.
Without certification, U.S. surgeons cannot practice. Allure Plastic Surgery in New York, for example, feature their board-certified surgeons. This kind of certification is top-notch and these surgeons are cutting-edge.
Do everything to ensure your surgeon has the proper education and experience. Even nice-looking facilities can harbor secrets. It’s important to ask for proof.
Look for a diploma that proves the surgeon has the skill set to care and manage any surprises that may come along. Don’t be afraid to ask all the questions you need to feel comfortable.
Any surgery that occurs at any time or place will run the risk of complication. This is the natural danger of surgery. For this reason, the U.S. has waivers patients sign in case of injury or damage.
In foreign countries, the policies or standards of care may differ. That means that the quality of care will not equal the United States. Again, this plays into researching education and qualifications.
There was a recent news story of a Texas woman who went to Mexico for a simple plastic surgery procedure. There were complications that left her in a coma. Avoid these plastic surgery nightmares by doing your research.
You may find it’s not worth it and try biting the bullet to get your surgery here at home.
People Traveling Need to Prepare for “Worst Case Scenarios”
No one wants to think about having an emergency outside of their home country. It spells disaster when you’re in need of help, but you’re miles or oceans away from home. That’s why you need to consider the worse case scenarios that can arise.
We’re going to break up and discuss what you should consider. Don’t overlook the importance of these elements when seeking surgery abroad. Getting your business and personal matters together will spare you a lot of trouble in the future.
Make Your Family Aware of Your Plans
The best thing you can do is make your friends and family aware of your plans. Invite a close member to join you for the procedure and recovery process. Since you’ll be recovering, it’s good to have an extra pair of hands to do the heavy lifting.
Letting your family and friends know where you are can keep you safe. If there are any complications, everyone will be ready to act fast. When there are complications with surgeries abroad, fast and good decision-making could save a life.
It’s also a great idea to share any medical information like medication allergies and blood type with your family.
Complete a Will
This is a sensitive and difficult idea to think about, but it’s a definite reality many families live. It’s important to cover all your bases. It’s not unheard of that a surgery abroad went wrong.
There have been patients that have died because of malpractice or incompetence. Again, we can’t stress enough the importance of verifying accreditation! Still, you need to think about yourself and consider the risks.
Sometimes things happen that are out of a doctor’s control, no matter who operates. A surgeon abroad could execute a surgery perfect. But a patient could have a bad reaction with medications or develop an infection.
While it is unlikely, it’s important to set up preparations for a worst-case scenario. Think about notarizing a living will.
Seeing the World in a Different Way and Through a Better Light
People traveling for plastic surgery are looking to snag a good deal on medical treatments. For those looking within the states, they’re in search of innovative quality and a variety of products or procedures. Although we’ve given you several warnings, keep in mind there are many highly-skilled surgeons throughout the world.
Europe is a great example of a strong healthcare system and a wonderful recovery place. There is so much to see in Europe that your recovery days will past you by without a hint of pain. Take a train to Italy for an epic Italian vacation or an irresistible adventure in the “City of Love!”
There are many decisions to consider before venturing abroad for surgery. You might find that experiencing the destination of your choice eases your fears. Get in contact with the surgeon you’ll be working with and start from there.
Remember to do your research and check for accreditation. Go the extra mile to ensure that your health and safety are the top priority throughout your medical journey. Never step into something that makes you feel uneasy.
Trust your gut, always. Happy travels and safe journeys!