Over the past few decades, plastic surgery procedures have become more popular and more widely available throughout the world. People pursue hundreds of individual surgeries and combinations of these procedures every day in many of the world’s most populated countries.
The 2010 ISAPS Global Survey revealed the countries with the most surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures being done were the United States, followed by China, Brazil, India and Mexico, with the top 25 countries on 6 of 7 continents.
Procedures are available worldwide, but are they priced the same?
No. In fact, you can find many procedures at a lower cost outside of the United States. Brazil has more licensed cosmetic surgeons per capita than the rest of the world, and procedures there are two-thirds the price you might find in the United States. Other places, such as Thailand, India, Costa Rica and Singapore cater to tourists visiting for plastic surgery procedures.
But is it safe?
Complications of Medical Tourism
There are many responsible, educated doctors worldwide who take good care of their patients and offer sanitary surgical facilities, trained nurses and proper procedures and resources to deal with emergency circumstances.
Unfortunately, there are many people who promise those – but do not deliver. For people sitting in their kitchen researching doctors across the world, website findings cannot replace the in-person consultation and evaluation.
When Capital Region residents visit The Plastic Surgery Group for the first time, they enter our office for a free consultation. They see our other patients waiting to be seen, interacting with our nurses and doctors, scheduling their next appointments and leaving. Our potential patients can examine the Art de Cure artwork around our office, and feel whether or not they wish to return to our office. And of course, they have lengthy conversations with our doctors about what they want to do, and what our doctors think is best for them.
With medical tourism, there is much less preparatory interaction – and a lot more risks post-procedure. You often can’t confirm that the overseas doctor uses sanitized, up-to-date equipment, or that they have studied how to do the procedure safely thanks to a recognized medical education program. If there are complications, your health insurance might not cover overseas procedures, and there is often no legal recourse. Should serious complications occur after the surgery, either immediately or after you’ve returned to the United States, medical malpractice suits in many parts of the world are largely ignored, difficult to pursue or take years to conclude.
The Steps to Take When Choosing a Doctor
We understand that the costs of plastic surgery procedures are often far less when you leave the United States. We also know that your health is important not only to you, but to your family and friends, and that the surgery and recovery process is strained when massive, stressful travel itineraries bookend the week your procedure is scheduled.
If you’re beginning your search online, we recommend seeking sources of doctor credentials, photos and real patient reviews. When you identify an Albany plastic surgeon you think might be a good fit for the procedure and results you’re seeking, we strongly encourage you to meet them in-person before committing to any procedure. Make sure your primary physician is in touch with your plastic surgeon so that any medical history requiring customized procedures is properly discussed and proceeded with.