Medical Tourism and Plastic Surgery: A Concerning Combination
By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the term “medical tourism” thrown around. In short, medical tourism is a term for those who travel to a developing nation for a dual-purpose vacation. In part, people go to see new, exotic parts of the world that they’ve never been exposed to before – such as Costa Rica, India, and the Dominican Republic. Their ulterior motive, however, is to get discounted medical procedures – including plastic surgery.
There have certainly been cases where medical tourism has provided results for patients. But there have also been a lot of cases that resulted in even more problems for the patients in the first place. NBC News recently reported about 19 women who traveled to the Dominican Republic from the United States, all seeing discounts on plastic surgery procedures. After their trip, they brought home more than souvenirs – they came back with hard-to-treat infections, which required hospitalization, corrective surgeries and long courses of antibiotics. Each of the women had common surgical procedures, including tummy tucks, liposuction, and breast implants.
While the temptation of discounted plastic surgery might have you considering packing your bags, the possibility of things ending poorly should make you think twice. First off, medical “certifications” in developing nations are varying, and can mean many different things. Just because your provider of choice says they are “certified” on a website, it might not be worth the words on your screen.
Different parts of the world have varying standards for practicing medicine, and performing plastic surgery procedures. This can include education and residency minimums, sterilization practices, and recovery care. The Centers for Disease Control strongly recommend verifying a provider is licensed and accredited by an internationally acknowledged organization.
In the United States, in addition to the state licenses, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon is required to adhere to standards set for Plastic Surgeons and their facilities. Because of the high level of oversight, you can be assured that when you’re in the hands of a surgeon that is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, you’re getting the highest standard of treatment.
Paying a lower price might be a temptation when it comes to having a cosmetic procedure done. However, the physical and emotional toll of recovery from a procedure done poorly can quickly outweigh the ease on your pocketbook. Even worse such a risk can lead to permanent health problems and job loss due to prolonged illness. When considering your plastic surgery procedure, make sure you trust the experts in your own community.