Cosmetic Surgery

Do the Benefits of Medical Tourism Outweigh the Risks?

two planes in the air

There is no shortage of stories about television stars like 90 Day Fiancé’s Darcey and Stacey Silva who decide to travel to another country for discounted plastic surgery. However, while the idea of scoring cheaper cosmetic treatments while vacationing in another country might sound like a win-win on the surface, there are some serious risks that you need to consider before deciding to hit the road for “medical tourism.”

Medical Standards of Care May Not Be as High 

The United States is known for its excellence in medical technology and availability of highly-skilled medical professionals. It also has one of the highest medical standards of care in the world. Other countries that are popular destinations for medical tourism such as Brazil, Mexico and Panama do not adhere to the same healthcare best practices as the United States and often do not have access to the same level of medical resources.

Thus, although you may pay less for breast implants, liposuction or other plastic surgery procedures in these countries, it is at the expense of medical expertise and high standards of care. If the cost of plastic surgery is an obstacle for you, consider discussing financing and payment options with a board-certified plastic surgeon in the United States to help make a safe procedure as affordable as possible.

Medical Malpractice Laws Can Be Weak at Best

Similarly, the medical malpractice laws in other countries can be very weak compared to those in the United States. This means that if something goes wrong with your procedure due to negligence on the part of your medical provider, you may not have a legal leg to stand on, so to speak.

Before moving forward with any type of medical procedure in another country, be sure that you fully understand all malpractice laws and regulations in that country.

Higher Risk of Infection and Blood-Borne Illnesses  

The risk of infection can be higher in countries with lower standards of care due to improperly sterilized instruments, poor disinfection practices and poor water quality. There may also be a greater risk of contracting bloodborne illnesses when traveling to a foreign country for a medical procedure, whether due to improper sterilization of medical instruments or a lack of inherent resistance to certain diseases that are prevalent in host countries.

Recovery Is More Complicated While Traveling 

Finally, extensive travel and surgery do not typically mix well. After any plastic surgery procedure, there will be a necessary recovery time, during which you will need to rest in bed. If you are in a foreign country, this recovery period will likely take place in a hotel or other similar accommodation before you need to fly back home. This is not an ideal situation for a smooth, stress-free recovery and can therefore lead to complications such as infection, poor wound healing and ultimately subpar results.

Additionally, some people may not tolerate the flight home very well, depending on the type of procedure they’ve had and how long they were able to recover before flying.

Do the Benefits of Medical Tourism Outweigh the Risks?
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Do the Benefits of Medical Tourism Outweigh the Risks?
Is medical tourism safe? The board-certified plastic surgeons at Kaufman & Davis in Sacramento, California emphasize the importance of plastic surgery safety.
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February 6, 2023
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