Medical tourism continues to be among the leading travel trends in the United States and other parts of the world, but the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and several consumer organizations have issued warnings about getting plastic surgery overseas. Recently, The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) stated that they have documented several horror stories from Britons who have headed overseas to get discounted plastic surgery, and agreed that many people underestimate the risks involved with procedures performed abroad.
Many people head to countries in South America, the Far East and India to cash in on discounted cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures including liposuction, breast augmentation and tummy tucks.
While some doctors overseas have trained in the United States and the United Kingdom, the standards of the facilities they perform operations in may not be the same as they are in Western countries. In addition, many of the complications that arise from these procedures are not covered by health insurance or services such as the NHS, which means the patient must be prepared to pay for any problems out-of-pocket.
The president of the BAAPS, Nigel Mercer, stated that “it was a common misconception [among British patients] that plastic surgery could be a quick and pain-free experience”. (Source: PressandJournal.co.uk)
The Press and Journal also reports on several cases where patients experienced several side effects and had to undergo emergency surgery in order to ‘fix’ what the foreign plastic surgeon had done. In one case, a British woman who had a facelift overseas went back to Britain but developed blood clots in her lungs, resulting in death as soon as she returned home.
All individuals considering plastic surgery abroad must do extensive research about their doctor and the facility, and be certain that they have access to healthcare and insurance coverage should complications arise. More information about the pros and cons of medical tourism can be found here .