There are plenty of reasons why you might want to avoid plastic surgery tourism? So why is the practice so popular? On some level, it’s likely because people love to feel as though they’re saving a buck or two (people love a good bargain). But there are big risks that might come with any of the short term savings you might experience.

A Look at Why You Might Want to Avoid Plastic Surgery Tourism in the Future

On its face, plastic surgery tourism seems like a good idea. You get to go somewhere warm or with beaches. You get to enjoy a little vacation. And then you undergo your procedure, rest up a bit, and fly home. When you return, you’ll look just the way you’ve always wanted and it will have been rather cost efficient.

The main appeal of plastic surgery tourism is usually that it’s relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to plastic surgery in the United States. But plastic surgery tourism is inherently dangerous and should really be avoided at every turn.

It’s understandable, of course, that plastic surgery tourism seems tempting. But there are many reasons why you might want to avoid plastic surgery tourism, and your safety and comfort are at the top of the list. Nearly every plastic surgeon will come out against the idea of this type of plastic surgery tourism. (Of course, this article is not intended to replace medical advice–simply to transmit some fairly well established warnings and cautions.) If you’re thinking about going abroad to get your facelift or your tummy tuck, you might want to think twice. There are many reasons to avoid plastic surgery tourism.

Systems for Safety

Plastic surgery tends to be less expensive abroad, although that truism will vary from nation to nation. So maybe it’s more accurate to say that elective plastic surgery in the United States tends to be, well, rather expensive. But a significant portion of that expense is dedicated to safety.

Generally speaking, surgeons in the United States go through a very rigorous training process. Plastic and cosmetic surgeons, then, go through additional training and schooling as they specialize. Once they’re able to become licensed, most plastic and cosmetic surgeons become members of various boards, which then go on to mandate further training and experienced.

Let’s put it this way: when you go see a surgeon who is “board certified” in the United States, you can be reasonably sure that you’re meeting with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon. That’s not necessarily the case when you’re traveling.

Mandated Safety

It’s not that surgeons are universally subpar when you travel to a different country. Indeed, there are many countries around the world that have amazing aesthetic surgery centers. The problem is that because the institutional checks and balances aren’t there, it’s difficult for you as a patient to tell the good plastic surgery centers from the not-so-great ones.

And without those institutional checks in place, plastic surgery becomes much more hazardous. When you’re in the United States, there are various systems in place to ensure patient safety. When you’re abroad, it is much more difficult to accurately assess the experience and expertise of your surgeon (and, thus, your safety and risks).

Other Issues with Traveling Abroad

Of course, even if you were to find the best surgeon abroad, there are still going to be issues with plastic surgery tourism that can make it riskier than other surgical options. For example:

  • When undergoing plastic surgery, recovery can take weeks. It’s always nice to be able to recover in a familiar area. You might be tempted, then, to rush your recovery in order to get home sooner (and rushing your recovery is not always a great idea).
  • Complications can arise fairly late in the recovery process. It’s one of the reasons that you tend to meet with your surgeon periodically after your procedure. But if your surgeon is abroad and you’re home, it’s difficult to receive cohesive follow up care. Patients usually get the best results when they receive follow up care from the surgeon who performed the procedure.
  • Medical devices are not always as well regulated (and thus, as well constructed) as they are in the United States. A patient who undergoes a breast augmentation, then, might suffer because her implants are not up to the best of quality.

Calculating all of the variables involved with plastic surgery tourism can be incredibly difficult. This list, for example, is rather truncated. That’s why most surgeons simply recommend that you stay within the United States for your plastic surgery procedure.

There is going to be an inherent risk to any surgical procedure. In the U.S., surgeons have done an incredible amount of work to lower that risk as much as possible. In no small part that’s because surgeons in the U.S. rely on a complex web of checks and balances to ensure and prioritize patient safety as much as possible.

If you have questions about where or when you should get your plastic surgery procedure, the best way to get answers–and answers that are applicable to you individually–is to talk to your plastic surgeon about your options. You might want to avoid plastic surgery tourism, but that’s only so you can feel more confident in the results you’ll receive.


About the Author: Nick Engebretson has been writing about plastic and cosmetic surgery for over twenty years. This article was written in conjunction with the staff at Ogilvie Plastic Surgery, in Chicago.

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