With the rising trend of cosmetic surgeries, there is also a rising trend of traveling abroad to save money on potentially dangerous cosmetic procedures done outside the United States. Some patients book flights to outside countries to save some money on surgical procedures. Patients invest time researching countries that provide the medical attention they seek. They book flights, they set aside money for the procedure, often surprisingly small amounts, which should be a red flag. Some medical treatments may need to be done abroad, but others are not required to be done outside the United States. Regardless, patients risk complications when traveling to undergo medical procedures.
What is Medical/Cosmetic Tourism?
Medical tourism is the term used to describe people traveling outside their home country for medical treatment or cosmetic procedures. Cosmetic tourism is the same notion: People willing to travel to undergo cosmetic surgeries, such as facelifts and tummy tucks. People typically will undergo cosmetic or medical tourism for the sole purpose of saving money or in rare cases, to get procedures not offered in their country.
Dangers Involved in Cosmetic Tourism
You do not know the qualifications of the surgeon performing the surgery.
Physicians in the United States who are Board Certified must complete a certified residency and have performed a minimum number of procedures in order to obtain certification. Though this does not guarantee the quality of the surgeon, it is a starting point to research the qualifications of the surgeon. In foreign countries, board certification is not always required, and doctors who do the surgery may not have the proper training or experience to do the operations the patients seek.
You may not be insured
There have been times when patients who have undergone a cosmetic surgery procedure in another country have returned home with surgical complications, which then require patients to be admitted to hospitals to address their complications, due to lack of post-surgical care from the country where the surgery was done. In an effort to save money on their cosmetic surgery procedures abroad, these patients may be facing more charges by returning home to have the proper post-surgery care provided. Insurance will most likely not cover costs associated with surgery done abroad.
Flying can increase blood clot formation, and atypical infections can occur
For those looking to get their treatments done abroad, flying may be the only form of transportation to reach the desired location. Long flights make it easier for blood clots to form, which can result in severe complications. Additionally, atypical infections can occur. Mycobacterium abscessus, or M abscessus, is a species related to the bacterium that is responsible for tuberculosis and leprosy diseases in humans. M abscessus belongs to a family of bacterium that is known for the ability to resist and survive environmental extremes, as well as being resistant to antibiotics. This species has been found to be the most common rapid-growing Mycobacterium in human infection, and can spread within just a few days. This species has been found in areas of soft skin and tissue infections, similar to facial tissue and skin because of the delicateness of that area. Those who don’t have a strong immune system are more likely to risk facing this kind of species when undergoing cosmetic surgery in risky locations.
Post-surgery care may not be administered properly
Patients undergoing surgery typically need to remain under supervision by trained professionals in after-care. Travel constraints may interfere with postoperative care. This means that the after-care, if there has been any at all, may not be complete, and the health of the patient may become more at risk once the patient has returned home. Furthermore, if a patient who has had surgery in a different country has a problem in the United States, they may have difficulty finding someone qualified who will take care of their complication: many US doctors won’t care for a patient who had surgery elsewhere since they don’t know exactly what or how the surgery was performed.
The bottom line for those traveling overseas for cosmetic surgery is the price may be less, but so may be the results.