Imagine that you could have your cosmetic surgery of choice at a discount and recuperate poolside at a luxury hotel or on a white sandy beach on a resort island. Does it sound like the ideal way to have your surgery and pamper yourself at the same time? Yes. Is it a good idea? Not necessarily.
Medical tourism is the newest cottage industry to develop as an offshoot of cosmetic surgery. At first glance, we would all be tempted even if it does sound too good to be true, but the old adage of "look before you leap" should be diligently applied to medical tourism. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recommends that you research any offer for cosmetic surgery in a "luxury locale" outside the United States very carefully and ask the following questions:
Is the physician qualified?
Are the medical facility and equipment safe?
How will my post-operative care and any complications be handled?
Are travel and vacation activities compatible with surgery?
There are qualified plastic surgeons practicing all over the world but how do you know you will be getting one of them? You can never be sure but consider selecting an ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons) Member Surgeon Abroad or an International Corresponding Member Surgeon because they have submitted to the scrutiny of on of the pre-eminent plastic surgery societies in the United States.
The safety of the surgical facility is an important issue because not all countries have the rigorous standards we are accustomed to in the United States. The question of who will take care of you back home for routine care or if you have a complication should be resolved ahead of time. And don't forget about the risks of flying after surgery. Some procedures, such as Rhinoplasty (Surgery of the Nose) are not compatible with flying for weeks because the pressure changes can cause sinus pain and infection. Other procedures, such as Tummy Tuck and Liposuction, have an increased risk of blood clots after long flights.
Cosmetic surgery abroad can be done safely and expertly but you as a consumer are assuming all of the burden of finding a qualified plastic surgeon and safe surgical facility without the benefit of a face-to-face encounter. If you choose this path, proceed with caution. If you get there and it doesn't feel right or look safe, turn around and go home while you are still healthy.