Should You Travel for Your Plastic Surgery Procedure?
If you’re considering plastic surgery, you may have come across various incentives to travel to a different country for your procedure. One such “deal” in South Korea has recently been announced. It allows any non-native person choosing to have plastic surgery in that country to be reimbursed for taxes paid on the procedure. While this might seem an attractive reason to consider traveling outside the U.S. for your surgery, please think twice before packing your bags and hopping on the medical tourism bandwagon.
What Is Medical Tourism?
Previously, medical tourism referred to patients traveling from less-developed countries to highly developed countries in order to obtain medical treatment that would otherwise be unavailable to them. Now, however, the reverse is becoming much more common. Medical tourism in today’s sense more commonly refers to citizens of developed nations who travel to other countries, generally for elective surgeries and in order to pay a lower cost. Additionally, some people may travel to another country to obtain medical services that would be illegal in their homeland. (News Medical)
The Dangers of Medical Tourism
As the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The low cost is appealing, but the dangers of medical tourism can far outweigh the financial benefits. Some of the risks involved in traveling to another part of the world for plastic surgery include:
- Communication. When a language barrier exists between you and your medical professional and caretakers, the likelihood of a misunderstanding concerning your procedure and care significantly increases.
- Poor medical standards. In some less-developed countries, the same medical standards that you would expect in your home country are not necessarily practiced. Reusing needles among patients or using counterfeit or poor quality medications are two of the most dangerous examples.
- Flying after surgery increases your risk of complications. Flying means that you will be at altitude, in close contact with others and required to be immobile for hours. So, flying increases the risk of blood clots, infection, and complications due to changing air pressure. Many doctors recommend avoiding air travel for 4-6 weeks post surgery. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
What to Look for in a Plastic Surgeon
So is a cost incentive really worth putting your safety and the quality of your results at risk? However you answer that for yourself, there are certain qualities you should look for in your plastic surgeon, no matter what country you’re in.
- Board-certification. Plastic surgeons are not required to become board-certified, so this qualification verifies exemplary skill, training, and knowledge in their field. (The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery)
- Experience. If you’re considering a breast augmentation, confirm that your plastic surgeon has ample experience performing breast augmentations. Ask to see before and after photos of the procedure you want. They will help you gauge what to expect from your results.
- Effective communication. You should feel comfortable talking with your plastic surgeon about your needs and goals. Likewise, you should get the sense that he or she is actively listening and has your best interests in mind.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to your safety and satisfaction with your plastic surgery, you do need to be smart about “shopping around.” Choosing the right plastic surgeon is certainly important, but basing your decision solely on the lowest price offered isn’t the safest approach.
At Premier Plastic Surgery & Dermatology in Pittsburgh and Wexford, our board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Heil is ranked as one of Pittsburgh’s top plastic surgeons. Dr. Heil is dedicated to providing the highest quality results and ensuring your comfort and safety. We also offer financing options to make your procedure as affordable as possible.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Heil, please contact us at 724-264-3608, where a member of our friendly team would be happy to assist you.