I recently read an article on British patients going to other countries for plastic surgery. The same phenomenon happens here as well. I have seen many patients travel to Mexico, South America, or even Middle East for plastic surgery procedures.
I understand the primary reason is the cost. The same procedure in the United States can cost twice as much or perhaps even more. What about safety, quality of work, and adequate follow-up after surgery for any possible complications? Are these included in the price as well…in my opinion, no. For one, the distance becomes an issue. If a patient develops an infection or wound break-down, is he or she willing to travel to the country the surgery was performed and remain there until the issue is resolved? The logistics alone may prevent this.
Is there any method of checking the credentials of the surgeon you have chosen for your surgery? Are there any issues with this physician’s license? Is the physician board certified? Does the country you are travelling to have the infrastructure to provide some level of medical “quality control”? What about the surgical facility and after care? Are they licensed and monitored as they are in the United States?
I recently saw a patient who had a tummy tuck performed in another country. The usual tummy tuck incision was extended and went up all the way to her lateral breast area on both sides. The scar, therefore, looked like a “U”. She wanted to see if I can eliminate the side scars, which of course is impossible. Her surgical cost was significantly less, but at what cost? She was hoping to wear a bikini this summer, and her dream has been shattered.
There are many plastic surgeons outside of the United States who perform excellent surgery. However, in my opinion, it is much more difficult to find the right surgeon when the above mentioned infrastructure does not exist. In my experience, the cost for plastic surgery in countries which do provide high quality care is near or sometimes more than the U.S.
Remember, there is always a chance (although small) of complications after elective surgery. The potential risk to your health (and your wallet) may off-set the discounted price.
Dr. Jazayeri is a board certified plastic surgeon with over 10 years of experience. His office is located in Santa Ana, California. To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call 714-834-0101.