Dr. Ravi’s TOP five things Houston should know about Plastic Surgery Tourism
Many patients contemplate having their cosmetic procedures performed foreign countries to take advantage of the cost savings they offer. While there are excellent, well trained board certified plastic surgeons in various countries of the world, the fact remains that having your procedure outside of your home country may be hazardous to your health.
1. Cosmetic surgery is real surgery and has some risks
Patients tend to underestimate how involved their cosmetic surgeries may be. It is the job of board certified plastic surgeons to not only set realistic expectations regarding results but to fully inform prospective patients of all the possible risks of surgery, even minor ones. Every surgery, including cosmetic surgery, has some risks involved. These risks unfortunately increase during vacation-related plastic surgery. It is quite easy to cross the fine line between safe and unsafe when you choose to have your procedure in another country. There are certain situations that may arise where you will need to be seen by your surgeon, but if you live in a far away, foreign country, then you may not get the care that you need.
2. Vacation-related activities may compromise your health after having a procedure
Your recovery after major cosmetic surgery is not anything like a vacation. It requires someone to help you recover and take care of the little things that are normally taken for granted, such as food preparation, walking, going to the bathroom, showering, and making sure to take all medications on a timely basis. Cosmetic surgery trips are marketed as vacations, but vacation activities should be avoided after surgery to ensure proper healing and reduce the risk of complications. Without proper help in place you could buy yourself a trip back to the operating room.
3. Travel + surgery significantly increases risk of complications
Did you know that long flights and surgery can both individually increase the risk of developing pulmonary embolism and blood clots? Major cosmetic procedures do carry a risk, albeit a low risk, of developing blood clots in the legs that can eventually travel to you heart and lungs, sometimes taking a lethal course. Keep in mind that the risk is still general very low and that the risk of being involved in a plane or car crash on any given day is higher. The most important thing to take away, is that being on an airplane to return to your home country too soon after surgery increases the risk of these blood clots. By doing so, you have a higher chance of a lethal event.
4. You may not be legally protected in the U.S.
There are no U.S. laws that protect patients or mandate the training and qualifications of physicians who perform plastic surgery outside the United States. Every country has different standards that they hold their plastic surgeons to. In the United States, every Board Certified Plastic Surgeon undergoes the same strict level of training to successfully complete their board certification requirements. These are standardized. When you venture out of the country, you no longer know exactly what you are getting, and whether the standards of that country’s boards are as strict as the ones in the United States. A simply analogy is that once you have plastic surgery in another country, you are no longer a protected citizen of the United States. When it comes to plastic surgery you have no legal recourse if you suffer any devastating complications from botched surgery. A recent study showed that patients who have their cosmetic procedure in another country have higher complications compared to patients who have their procedure in the United States.
5. Bargain surgery may not be a bargain
Patients have a higher risk of eventually incurring additional costs for flights back to see their surgeon, for revisionary surgeries and to treat complications (maybe even hospital stays) that may occur. Once you are back in the United States, if you suffer any postoperative complications from surgery, very few if any options exist to be seen by plastic surgeons in the United States. You will likely be asked to follow up with your surgeon in that country. Patients can incur large bills including, flight, hotel, transportation costs, etc. These costs may become much greater than having the initial operation performed in the U.S. When you have your surgery in the United States, your surgeon is directly responsible for your postoperative care and safety. Appointments should be scheduled routinely and in a timely fashion based on the urgency of any issues that may arise. All postsurgical follow ups are included with my surgeries and my patients never incur any additional costs to see me. This will not be the case if you have your procedure in another country. Having elective cosmetic surgery in the United States can be the difference between a successful, well executed procedure with attentive postoperative care to get you safe results or a disastrous situation leaving you botched, disfigured or, worst case, even dead.
When doing your research for plastic and cosmetic surgery, cost is not always the most important factor, your safety is. If you are interested in having your surgery performed by a board certified plastic surgeon who is also a member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, please call our Houston, Texas office at 281-242-1061 to meet with Dr. Ravi. An in-person consultation with Dr. Ravi and our patient care coordinator can help you determine what is the right surgery for you. We are conveniently located off I-10 near Spring Valley, Memorial, Katy, and The Heights.