The Dangers of Medical Tourism per Dr. Deutsch

Traveling abroad for plastic surgery is becoming more and more popular as accessibility is increasing and the opportunity to save money is appealing to some. There are several reasons why you might be tempted to catch a flight for a facelift and some people have found that the cost of surgery, travel, food and lodging altogether is cheaper than the price of surgery alone in the United States. 

What you may not know is that there are several downfalls to traveling abroad for plastic surgery. These drawbacks can have a significant impact on your well-being if they are not taken into account when considering your options, so it’s important to know what you might run into. Let’s take a look at four primary reasons why you should not travel abroad for plastic surgery.

Different countries have different standards

There are many requirements to be a plastic surgeon in the United States, and the schooling is quite extensive and intense. This ensures that each surgeon is well prepared for any plastic surgery they perform. However, this standard is not the same in other countries. Requirements to be a plastic surgeon in other countries might not be as rigorous and selective as in the United States. This could potentially mean that a plastic surgeon you choose in a different country might not have an adequate amount of education, experience or skill.  It’s important to do thorough research on a country’s requirements for plastic surgeons before you choose to travel to that specific country for your plastic surgery.

It is also important to do research on the surgeon you are considering so that you can have the assurance that they have gone through the proper training and have extensive experience. Do not completely rely on referrals from others who have traveled abroad for plastic surgery. Just because their experience went well with a surgeon or facility, does not mean that you will have the same experience. If you were to end up having a bad experience abroad, it could be harder to take legal action.

Dr. Deutsch is a board-certified plastic surgeon which means he specializes in Plastic Surgery and completes ongoing continuing education courses so that he can maintain his expertise in state-of-the-art procedures. Board-certified plastic surgeons like Dr. Deutsch are also well-prepared to manage patient outcomes and provide care customized to your needs. 

The facility might not be accredited

Many surgical facilities outside of the United States may not be fully accredited – meaning they may not meet the standards for cleanliness or safety that hospitals and surgery centers here in the U.S. must adhere to. Just in the past year, there have been far too many reports of rampant bacterial and fungal infections reported in some of these facilities outside of the U.S. Furthermore, patients will have a hard time finding an attorney here in the U.S. if they wish to sue these facilities. 

You may not be able to meet your surgeon until the day of surgery

Meeting your plastic surgeon before your scheduled appointment is extremely important as it will allow your Doctor to fully assess your needs and wants. You will be able to ask questions and get to know your doctor so that you feel secure in your decision before your procedure. 

However, if you are traveling to another country for plastic surgery, meeting your surgeon face-to-face before your appointment might not be an option. While you may be able to have a virtual appointment, you won’t have the opportunity to assess the facility and get a true understanding of what the post-op experience will be like in a foreign country where they may or may not speak your language. Most surgeons meet for a consultation before they will take you on as a client, so if you are interested in a surgeon from outside of the United States that does not require a consultation before surgery, this could be a red flag.

Any complications post-operation can be tricky

If you do choose to travel abroad for plastic surgery, the surgery itself might go splendidly. However, what happens when you need care after the surgery? It can be difficult to navigate how long you stay in the country you traveled to in case there are any post-operation complications. It may have been more cost-effective to travel outside of the United States for your plastic surgery appointment, but aftercare can be just as costly – if not more – given the fact that many different countries do not take health insurance from the United States. 

In addition to this, when you do come back to the United States after your surgery, it could be difficult to get in touch with your surgeon if you do have any questions. Another factor to think about is the lack of emergency contacts in foreign countries. If complications should arise while you are still abroad, you might not have anyone with you to help care for you while you recover from surgery. You would not want to stay too long in a foreign country in case you do not have someone to aid you while you rest, but it is also risky to immediately fly back home after surgery.

So, what is the right answer? Should you travel abroad for plastic surgery? While the answer to that is completely up to you, we do not recommend it here at Perimeter Plastic Surgery. We have seen far too many cases where patients have traveled abroad just to come into our office days, weeks or even months later to correct the procedure or deal with complications that arose from seeking care in another country. 

The world of plastic surgery is rapidly evolving and, as it does, the benefits and the risks are constantly changing. As a US board-certified surgeon and the founder of Perimeter Plastic Surgery, Dr. Deutsch offers a wide array of plastic surgery procedures.  Please call our office at (404) 255-0886 or fill out a form to schedule a consultation with Mark Deutsch, MD, FACS to discuss a procedure that best fits your aesthetic needs.