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CDC Warns: Dominican Republic Medical Tourists Suffer Severe Post-Op Infections

Ava Lawson | March 25, 2014 | Posted in Body, Liposuction

Tummy tuck lipoVictims of plastic surgery tourism horror stories have recounted their woes of botched treatments and life-threatening complications following procedures in third world countries, where breast augmentation, nose jobs and weight loss surgery are offered at discount rates.

Now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning patients to avoid cosmetic surgery abroad after a rash of women developed severe infections after undergoing surgery in the Dominican Republic. According to the center’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), at least 19 women have been afflicted with various strains of Mycobacterium – a fast-growing bacterium that has shown high resistance to most antibiotics.

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The women hail from five different states but all traveled to the Dominican Republic for low cost procedures including liposuction, breast enhancement and tummy tucks.  The outbreak has been traced back to two separate plastic surgery clinics in the DR, one of which has been closed.

Infection outbreak another plastic surgery tourism horror story

The CDC has since notified Dominican public health officials of the outbreak investigation and suggested patient follow-up and a thorough assessment of infection control practices at the two clinics. Fourteen of the women required hospitalization along with conjunctive therapeutic and antibiotic treatments. The other five were treated on an outpatient basis upon their return to the U.S. To date, no deaths have been attributed to the mycobacterial (RG-NTM) surgical-site infections, which left victims with high fevers, localized pain, wound abscesses and clear fluid drainage.

The patients had traveled as medical tourists to the Dominican Republic between March and November 2013.  Of the confirmed cases, 81% were Mycobacterium abscessus infections, 12% were M. fortuitum infections and 6% are pending final speciation.

International medical tourism on the rise, but are patients’ lives at risk?

As health care costs in the United States continue to rise, more patients are seeking medical treatment and plastic surgery abroad. But medical tourism is not without risks, as even the most reputable looking clinics may not have the same regulations and safety protocols as the U.S., leaving patients in danger of serious infections and post-op complications. The financial incentives may seem compelling, as most cosmetic surgeries cost 30-60% less than their counterparts in the States, but those who suffer problems or are treated by fraudulent doctors have no options for legal recourse.

Even with due diligence and extensive research on a prospective surgeon, most patients won’t have an opportunity to meet their doctor until they arrive – which is an inherently precarious proposition.

Leading NYC plastic surgeon

This recent infectious outbreak emphasizes the dangers of seeking inexpensive plastic surgery abroad. When it comes to your health and wellbeing, sticking to a reputable, board certified surgeon in your home country is the smartest way to ensure a successful outcome.

Named among the best plastic surgeons in New York City, Dr. Thomas Loeb is recognized for his skill and expertise in all types of body contouring and facial rejuvenation procedures. He boasts more than 25 years experience and a wealth of glowing patient testimonials. If you are thinking about cosmetic surgery in NYC and would like to schedule a private consultation with Dr. Loeb, please call our Fifth Avenue office at 212.327.3700, or complete the online contact form.

+ Resources
- Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)

CNN, ‘I can’t afford surgery in the U.S.,’ says bargain shopper

Before It’s News, The Horror Of Medical Tourism, Victims Tell Their Stories

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