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What Are The Dangers Of Plastic Surgery Tourism?

Jenn Fusion | July 27, 2016 | Posted in News

woman peaking out from behind curtainsPlastic surgery tourism is a booming business, with 750,000 Americans going abroad for everything from breast augmentations and butt lifts, to tummy tucks and facelifts. On average, patients save up to 88 percent on the cost of their procedures by learning about overseas clinics from family, friends or online advertisements. Yet, combining a vacation with plastic surgery has risks on top of the usual risks associated with surgery, warns the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

CDC identifies issues with medical tourism

Potential risks of plastic surgery tourism includes:

  • Increased capacity for misunderstandings if you’re going to a facility without fluent English speakers.
  • Doctors who reuse needles between patients, transmitting diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
  • Contact with antibiotic-resistant bacteria that is more prevalent outside the US.
  • Blood supplies from paid donors that lack regulatory oversight and put you at risk of blood infection.
  • Blood clots from flying too soon after surgery.

Serious infections shut down Dominican Republic clinic

TIME Magazine tells the story of a Maryland doctor who treated several women with serious infections after undergoing cosmetic surgery at a Dominican Republic clinic. The surgical sites were infected with drug-resistant mycobacteria, the doctor noted. After launching a probe, the CDC found that there were, in fact, 21 people from six states with the same complication – painful nodules erupting into weepy abscesses, with pain, swelling, scarring and fluid drainage.

Nearly half the patients had to be hospitalized or have subsequent surgeries to treat their infections. “Any breach in sterile technique” can cause infection, says the CDC. The Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Health says the clinic the patients went to is now closed.

Exercise due diligence in choosing a plastic surgery facility and surgeon

Health authorities have not formally advised against medical tourism, but they emphasize the importance of research, rather than just going based on the word of a friend. “You want someone who is licensed to practice in the country that they are in, but know those standards may be different from those that we have in the U.S.,” explains study author Joanna Gaines.

Here are a few other things you can do:

  • Have a written agreement with the health facility you’ll be visiting that explicitly states what is covered.
  • Determine how you will communicate with people who do not speak English.
  • Obtain copies of your medical records, prescriptions, dosages and allergy history to take with you.
  • Obtain copies of all new medical records before returning back home.
  • Arrange follow-up care with a local health care provider before you leave.
  • Find out what vacation activities may interfere with your recovery (flying, alcohol, swimming, sunbathing, etc.)

Dr. Thomas W. Loeb is a world-renowned plastic surgeon — particularly for his expertise in cosmetic eyelid surgery, rhinoplasty, and breast enhancement. Frequently, he helps patients from outside Manhattan and far-off countries get the looks they want with the hand of a skilled, board-certified professional.

Contact him with any questions you may have about arranging a safe plastic surgery experience at (212) 327-3700.

← Year of the Man Butt Dr. Thomas Loeb Announces 2016 Scholarship Winners →

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