Medical Tourism is a big issue today in the world of cosmetic surgery. Even though it is a very popular trend – it indeed raises a lot of questions and concerns. Here I’ll discuss some of the pros and cons of getting your cosmetic surgery done in a country or area -other than – where you predominantly live.
- What is Medical Tourism?
“Medical tourism” involves traveling to a “destination” for medical care. Cosmetic surgery is one of the top medical procedures today, along side dentistry and heart surgery – for which people travel globally to have their procedures done. Some of the positive reasons someone would consider traveling for a major medical procedure are:
- Getting a cheaper price… often the main motivating factor
Going back home… resident immigrants travel back to their homeland for a medical procedure – due to familiarity with the system or the government subsidizing the medical care for its citizens.
- Specialty doctor or facility… choosing a particular doctor who specializes in a procedure – or a facility that offers resort style recovery accommodations.
- Being near family… Family can help care for the patient during recovery. When they lives a great distance away, and family can’t travel to the patient – often the patient travels to them.
- Surgery vacation… There is the perception that a vacation can be combined with the recovery process, so a surgeon is chosen based on the appeal of their location – as a destination vacation spot.
What are the risks of Medical Tourism?
While the benefits can sound appealing, there are serious risks that need to be considered. There are risks specific to certain areas of the world and the particular procedures performed there, but these are some of the general issues:
Language barrier and cultural expectations… can cause miscommunication. In my practice our communication during the consultation is crucial to get an accurate feel for what my patients want and for me to manage expectations. If you and your doctor don’t speak the same language – fluently, this significantly increases the chances of misunderstandings about the care, surgical expectations, and recovery. It can also be very frustrating and scary if complications occur.
Less oversight and stringency of medical standards… The medical industry isn’t well scrutinized in some countries. For example, disease transmission is a concern if doctors reuse needles between patients or have other unsanitary injection practices. Also, medications may be poor quality, old or even counterfeit.
Medical care during complications… If a complication arises requiring a blood transfusion, the blood supply in some countries comes primarily from paid donors – who may not be thoroughly screened. This puts patients at a higher risk for HIV or other blood transmitted diseases.
Rushing recovery… Some surgeries require weeks of recovery. Traveling can be difficult and stressful and it’s not wise to do so within the first weeks after an operation – since it can ruin the cosmetic surgery, disrupt recovery and cause complications. Also, travel by air after surgery increases the risk for blood clots.
It is so important to consider all things when deciding to whom you will trust your face and body. Please consider speaking to a Board Certified, highly credentialed and experienced surgeon like myself. To schedule a consultation, please visit our newly updated website www.davinciplastic.com.
Steven Davison, M.D.
Board Certified Plastic/Reconstructive Surgeon