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Plastic Surgery Tourism: How to Avoid Risks Abroad

Plastic Surgery Tourism is a New Phenomenon Driven By Lower Prices Abroad 

"It’ll be cheaper across the border.” “Dentists cost a third as much down there!” “You don’t even need insurance.” We’ve all heard these phrases before. The desire to receive cheap medical care abroad is nothing new. Medical tourism has long been a price-driven fad where people decide to plan mini-vacations around certain treatments. In Southern California, this phenomenon is all the more palpable as we're so close to the Mexican border. And it’s true, many medical treatments do cost a fraction of the price down there. These days, this price-shopping trend has begun to encompass the realm of cosmetic enhancements, and plastic surgery tourism is consequently on the rise. 

It almost goes without saying that these plastic surgery tourism adventures come with their fair share of risks. Sure, many third world countries can offer first-class medical care with top-of-line facilities and expertly trained doctors. However, cosmetic enhancement tourists are far less likely to experience the extent of rules and regulations that are upheld by regulatory agencies in the States. That entails more opportunities for improperly trained doctors and staff, unsterile or ineffective equipment and facilities, and the inability for patients to hold their surgeons truly accountable. This last point is of great concern, especially when considering how limited your time would be with your chosen "vacation doctor”.

At CosmetiCare, we are all for the concept of receiving plastic surgery or cosmetic enhancements prior to going on a trip. That being said, we also understand the inclination to receive surgery during your vacation. If you live in the Orange County area, you might want to consider the option of taking time off within the area. Spend your holiday receiving expert care at our Newport Beach plastic surgery center while relaxing and recovering on the gorgeous Southern California beaches close to home. 

Or, if you live out of town and strongly desire to take part in plastic surgery tourism, you could try coming to the beautiful Orange County area for your cosmetic enhancement vacation. We offer incredible financing options that make our quality care as affordable as any third-world surgical center, all without the risks. You can also click here to find low priced vacation rentals and activities in Newport Beach. 

If you still insist on traveling abroad for your plastic surgery needs, please take a look at the following risks involved. As much as we’d like for you to stay in the U.S. to receive your cosmetic enhancements, we want you to be prepared and educated on all of the possibilities regardless of your ultimate decision. Take a look at some of the dangers and your alternative options below. 

 

The Real Risks of Plastic Surgery Tourism 

Limited Communication

One crucial factor that plastic surgery tourism continuously neglects is the inevitable barriers of communication that will be faced when abroad. While most qualified surgeons will likely know enough English to start moderately involved dialogues, there will almost certainly be important inferences that are lost in translation. Clear, open, and unfiltered doctor-to-patient communication is essential for determining proper treatment plans and for understanding the patient’s true needs and desires. Even if your foreign surgeon is fluent in English, that doesn’t guarantee that his or her staff and medical team is. This might seem humorous or inconsequential at first, but can very well lead to larger problems down the line.

At CosmetiCare, we believe that proper communication is the key to positive results and successful treatment outcomes. It is the jumping-off point for every cosmetic enhancement journey that sets the foundation and precedent for where our patients will eventually end up. Without the ability to thoroughly and easily communicate with your doctor and the medical staff, you put yourself at a much greater risk for dissatisfying or even harmful results. 

Lack of Accountability

As we mentioned above, plastic surgery tourism packages are enticing for their low costs. Often times, patient travelers can find highly qualified surgeons abroad for a fraction of the average U.S. prices. Unfortunately, even the best facilities in third world countries are not monitored by the same kinds of advanced regulatory systems that the U.S. government has put in place. While self-regulation can work out from time to time, the risks are always much higher when medical centers are only accountable to themselves. plastic surgery tourism

Regardless of the regulations involved, the accountability of your foreign surgical center rests largely on your ability to stick around and determine the quality of your results. Often times, issues with plastic surgery procedures don’t pop up until several weeks after the initial treatment. Most people traveling abroad for cosmetic enhancements aren’t able to stay in these locations for more than a couple of weeks or less. That leads to several situations where patients receive less than ideal care and have to leave before they can really understand their post-surgical issues. Their foreign doctors remain abroad, safe from any lambasting or ridicule, while these patient travelers return home disappointed, discouraged, or worse. 

More Risk for Infection 

This is one of the more obvious issues with plastic surgery tourism. In any scenario where you’re traveling to a abroad, your risk of getting sick or acquiring some type of foreign infection is always increased. Do a quick search and you’ll find millions of horror stories of travelers getting gangrene or staph infections from relatively minor scratches while on vacation. And, so, obviously going under the knife while abroad opens up your opportunity to get an infection tenfold. 

plastic surgery tourism

Even in some of the cleanest facilities in the U.S., the risk for infection during a hospitalization can be astoundingly high. There are just too many potential entry points for harmful bacteria to maintain 100% sterility in any circumstance. Sure, it’s not impossible to find plastic surgery centers abroad that rival those in the U.S. in terms of sterility and cleanliness. However, you will eventually have to leave these facilities with a not-fully healed surgical incision that acts as a hotbed for foreign bacteria and diseases. These risks are then heightened as you travel back home via long car rides, several hour flights, and amongst a flurry of disease spreading tourists. This is far from the ideal recovery scenario.

Just last year over 20 people who traveled abroad for cosmetic surgeries were later discovered to have a harmful mycobacterial infection known as RGM. This mycobacteria causes “painful nodules that develop into persistent, discharging abscesses,” and can be serious enough to require hospitalization. While this particular instance is definitely frightening, these traveling patients are actual fairly lucky when considering how much worse it could have been. The risk for infection feels completely avoidable until it happens to you or someone you know. 

plastic surgery tourism

More Risk for Botched Surgery and High Likelihood of Returning to U.S. in Need of Revisions 

Most of the price-hunting involved in plastic surgery tourism leads to patients finding deals with non-board certified, inexperienced, and potentially dangerous surgeons. While the lack of zeros following the dollar sign on the price tag might seem enticing, you should always contemplate the amount of money you’ll end up spending if or when some part of your surgery goes wrong. Revision rates for patients who have traveled abroad for surgery are much higher than those who stay within the States. That means that your cosmetic enhancements could end up costing you more than double what you would’ve paid had you received proper care in the U.S. from the beginning. 

As is the case with the purchase of anything that is low cost and lower quality, you need to consider how your investment will pay off in the long run. Buying a beat-up old junker of a car is cheap and will likely get you from point A to point B for a short while. Yet, investing in a nicer and newer car will guarantee more reliability, a longer lifespan, and ultimately less cost over time. The same principles can be applied to plastic surgery investments. 

Of course, your body is not a car. It is much more valuable and fragile. That’s why investments made toward your aesthetic enhancement goals need to be taken seriously. Saving a few dollars for a “quick fix” will almost always end with dissatisfying and disheartening results. 

And that brings us back to our earlier mentioning of financing options. We wholeheartedly believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to receive high quality care at affordable prices. At CosmetiCare, we offer three incredible financing solutions that can turn any plastic surgery treatment into an affordable decision for patients at either end of the financial spectrum. Don’t travel abroad just to save money on your cosmetic enhancement journey. Escape the risk of plastic surgery tourism and click here to learn just how affordable quality care at CosmetiCare can be for you. 

Or call (949) 415-5965 to schedule a consultation today! 

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