Posted by Dr. Sam Rizk June, 06/26/2014 - 12:00 PM
The risks of going to foreign countries for discounted plastic surgery
Medical tourism is all the rage these days. In recent years, thousands of foreigners have visited the U.S. to have rhinoplasty and other elective procedures, and thousands of Americans have chosen to have surgery abroad. While traveling to the U.S. for plastic surgery is usually good idea, leaving the country for surgery is more problematic.
Going abroad for discounted plastic surgery may sound appealing, but in my opinion it is a bad idea. It can be difficult to verify a foreign surgeon’s credibility, or the cleanliness of the facility. Moreover, each country has different laws pertaining to medicine and surgery. Finally, when having surgery abroad the follow-up becomes problematic, and you increase your risk of complications.
The idea of traveling abroad for rhinoplasty is particularly worrisome, because it is one of the most complex cosmetic surgeries. Complications with rhinoplasty are more common than with certain other procedures.
By remaining in the U.S. and having your nose job with a qualified rhinoplasty specialist, you increase your chances of a positive result. Throughout the country there are top-notch board-certified facial plastic surgeons with proven records of positive results. Instead of going abroad for your procedure, stay here and choose a skilled surgeon who performs rhinoplasty on a regular basis and has access to advanced equipment.
The Potential Dangers of Having Rhinoplasty Abroad
It’s true that going overseas offers a cheaper alternative to having surgery in the U.S. However, the quality of care might be compromised, and finding an equally talented surgeon — not to mention a facility that is clean and safe — can be challenging. You will also need to consider factors such as follow-up, potential complications of your procedure, and travel and lodging costs.
Common complications stemming from plastic surgery abroad include hematoma (pooling of blood beneath the skin), infection, contour abnormalities and even death. Pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis are also relatively common when traveling long distances (for facial plastic surgery or otherwise). If you do have complications, it may end up costing you more than it would have in the U.S., because your follow-up care and any revision procedures will likely be performed at home.
Another factor to consider is the fact that each surgeon has a different aesthetic vision, and perceptions of beauty can vary by country and culture.
Dealing with Recovery and Aftercare Abroad
Aftercare is a very important aspect of achieving a successful rhinoplasty result. Proper aftercare becomes problematic if you never visit the doctor who performed your procedure again. The success of your procedure also depends on your access to top-notch care. You want to be under the watchful eye of a top rhinoplasty specialist with access to state-of-the-art facilities, in case anything go wrong.
Should you suffer from serious complications you may have no choice but to stay in the country where your procedure was performed, until you are stable enough to be transported back to the U.S. — or face the prospect of an extremely expensive flight back home.
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in a nation with state-of-the-art facilities, it may be OK to have your foreign surgeon monitor your progress until it is advisable for you to return to the U.S. Once you get back you will need to see a qualified rhinoplasty specialist immediately, to assess your progress and address your condition as needed. It all depends on your specific situation. This unpredictability is just one more reason to avoid having rhinoplasty abroad.
Will You Need Revision Rhinoplasty?
A significant number of patients who have rhinoplasty in foreign countries end up needing to undergo a second procedure. So long as you are stable and don’t need immediate attention, you can take your time locating an expert rhinoplasty surgeon. Look for a board certified facial plastic surgeon who specializes in rhinoplasty — specifically, revision rhinoplasty — and has access to the best equipment and facilities.
I have extensive experience performing both primary and revision rhinoplasty procedures on all types of patients. In fact, many foreign-based patients visit me to have their nose jobs. To learn more about having rhinoplasty at my practice, contact my office today.
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