The Possible Dangers of Medical Tourism

Because July and the subsequent months are a busy time for travel, Pittsburgh plastic surgeon Dr. Anna Wooten of Beleza Plastic Surgery wants to talk about a trend called medical tourism. This is the process of traveling to a foreign location to undergo medical care such as cosmetic plastic surgery.

Medical tourism lures plastic surgery candidates by promising rock-bottom pricing and an exotic vacation. Although there are qualified plastic surgeons all over the world, medical tourism carries a set of very real risks.

Concerns about Physician’s Credentials

In the U.S., board-certified plastic surgeons must undergo a certain amount of training and pass rigorous examinations testing their knowledge and expertise. Unfortunately, not all countries have the same set of requirements. People traveling to foreign destinations may find themselves at the hands of a doctor that lacks the proper credentials and training to perform plastic surgery. Depending on the country, there may not be laws to protect patients or any legal recourse, even in the case of negligence, if an inexperienced or unqualified doctor botches a procedure.

Facilities and Technology May Be Subpar

In the U.S., we have accreditation boards, which ensure that surgical facilities are up-to-date, safe, and clean. Depending on the locale, a vacation destination may not have these kinds of associations and their facilities may be outdated or unsafe. The instruments and medication may also be subpar.

It’s Not Safe to Travel Soon after Surgery

Taking long flights too soon after surgery significantly increases the risk of serious complications like blood clots and pulmonary embolism. It can also raise the risk of post-operative side effects like swelling and infection. At Beleza Plastic Surgery, we always recommend that our patients schedule their procedure well in advance of any travel plans, to minimize the risks which accompany flying after surgery.

Vacation Activities Aren’t Recommended

After plastic surgery, patients should try to rest as much as possible. It’s generally not recommended that patients swim, sail, hike, bike or participate in any other activities that are popular on vacation. Elevating the heart rate too much could cause a serious complication.

Lack of Follow-Up

Having plastic surgery on vacation makes post-operative follow-up difficult. After a patient returns to the U.S., he or she may have trouble finding a qualified plastic surgeon to monitor their progress. The post-operative protocols at Beleza require multiple follow-ups with our patients. It is unlikely that patients will find the same level of follow-up care following plastic surgery abroad.

Complications Can Require Costly Revision

In the event that a complication occurs after surgery in a foreign country, a patient may require revision surgery that involves additional costs. This may turn what was considered a “bargain” into something much more costly and risky.

Contact Our Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon

Plastic surgery patients in the Pittsburgh area can find top-quality care closer to home at Beleza Plastic Surgery. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Wooten to discuss your plastic surgery goals, please call (724) 759-7777 today.

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