WORTH THE RISK?
One of the latest trends in cosmetic surgery are cosmetic surgery vacations in glamorous locations such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Thailand or Brazil. Numerous companies offering these all-inclusive vacation packages are popping up all over the world and can be easily located via the Internet. The offers generally include private hospital services and “highly trained” and “credentialed” medical staff.
Since elective cosmetic surgery procedures are not covered by insurance, price is the major selling point of cosmetic surgery tourism, with entire vacation/surgical packages costing less than individual procedures in the United States. Offshore procedures can be cheaper, but danger and complications may lurk. Overseas cosmetic surgery has become a dangerous trend, and can ultimately end up costing patients their lives.
It’s important to think seriously about a sun, sand, surf and surgery vacation. Do you really want to sign up for water skiing, volleyball or parasailing with fresh stitches? Most surgeries involve restrictions on normal activities including exercise. You can also forget about “catching rays.” Many procedures require you to stay out of the sun until you are fully healed. Moreover, some antibiotics react badly with sunlight. Airplane travel combined with surgery can also significantly increase the risk of complications.
There are excellent surgeons in many countries, but it’s hard to evaluate training and credentials outside the U.S. because there is no single international standard for quality in medicine. The foreign facility may not offer the same safeguards for equipment, personnel and emergency procedures.
In addition, cosmetic surgery vacation packages provide limited follow-up care, if any, once the patient returns home. Patients who have traveled abroad for cosmetic surgery and experience complications may find it hard to find a surgeon to treat the problem or make revisions, as local doctors may not know what surgical techniques were used in the initial operation. Revision surgeries can be more complicated than the initial operation and patients may not get their desired results.
Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Bargain surgery of any type can be very costly. Patients can incur additional costs for revision surgeries and complications that may total more than the cost of the initial operation if originally performed in the United States. Take your vacation when you can enjoy the full benefits—after undergoing your cosmetic procedure here at home and receiving the “okay” from the doctor.