The Red Flags of a Bad Surgery
Posted by Dr. Sam Rizk February, 02/03/2017 - 02:51 PM
It may be tempting to cut corners, but it’s usually a bad idea, right? One area you should never succumb to this temptation is facial plastic surgery, as the consequences can be dire.
Just ask Shauna, a recent guest on the popular cosmetic surgery reality show, Botched. To save money she decided to have surgery in Tijuana, MX — twice! — and now she’s paying for it big time.
In the episode, Drs. Terry Dubrow and Paul Nassif meet with Shauna, who tells them the TJ surgeon charged her $2,500 for her rhinoplasty procedure.
“Wow! That is cheap,” Dr. Dubrow responds.
Unfortunately, Shauna got what she paid for: when she came to following the first procedure, her nasal tip was purple. Predictably, the surgeons of Botched react with horror when hearing this.
“That means decreased blood supply to the skin,” says Dr. Nassif. “If that happens you basically can lose the entire tip of the nose, it can just fall off. Shauna’s very lucky that that didn’t happen.”
But apparently Shauna hadn’t had enough. After discovering that the Tijuana surgeon left a sharp piece of cartilage near the tip of her nose, she decided to go back to the same surgeon for follow-up surgery. Dr. Nassif points out that this is ill-advised because the nasal tip shouldn’t be operated on again for a year or more.
And of course, the second surgery only made things worse. Right after the procedure, Shauna’s nose began to drip, and it hasn’t stopped since.
Dangerous Plastic Surgery Tourism
Shauna’s experience is hardly uncommon. “Plastic surgery tourists” come back to the States with all kinds of problems, some of them much more serious than the ones Shauna experienced.
For one, these patients are at increased risk of contracting dangerous nosocomial infections, which are infections acquired in a hospital or other healthcare facility.
What’s more, traveling a long distance following surgery places these patients at risk for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
U.S.-based plastic surgeons that treat patients from abroad usually take precautions to mitigate such risks, including giving their patients compression stockings, anti-clotting medications and instructions to follow (how much water to drink, leg exercises, etc.) but the same cannot necessarily be said for surgeons abroad that perform surgery on Americans, particularly those doing so in developing countries where facilities and best practices may not be state-of-the-art.
Should things go wrong with your procedure, in the long run, it could easily end up costing you more than you would have paid in the U.S. — not just in terms of money but also your health.
For these and other reasons, you would be well advised to think long and hard about whether it’s really worth it to go abroad for your plastic surgery just to save a few bucks.
How to Interpret Price
The price of a plastic surgery procedure can vary dramatically depending on many factors, including the surgeon, the geographic location, whether the procedure is just one part of a combination treatment, and many other variables.
Note that the price of the surgery is not just a flat price. It usually includes several fees, including the surgeon’s fee, anesthesia costs, and a facility fee. The more complex the procedure, the higher the fees will be.
It can take considerable research for a consumer to accurately determine what the “right” price of a procedure is. And in truth, the price should not be your No. 1 factor anyway. If you’re debating whether to have your rhinoplasty in Los Angeles or Tijuana because of the cost difference, you’re thinking about it the wrong way. Instead consider the training, experience, and skill of the surgeon; how the surgeon will treat you; and of course, safety, including such factors as the quality of facility in which the procedure will be performed.
Advice from Dr. Rizk
The list of countries to which Americans travel to undergo plastic surgery continues to grow. If you are considering this option, it is imperative that you thoroughly cover the bases with the surgeon who will be performing your procedure. Make sure you are aware of any potential complications as well as what can or cannot be done to address them. Also, surgeons and medical facilities operate under a diverse array of standards. Make sure you know the particulars for licensing and certification in the country you plan to travel to.
Better yet, stay at home to avoid any potential complications. The U.S. has more highly skilled surgeons than any other nation on earth. Why go elsewhere?
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