Category Archives: Medical Tourism

Plastic Surgery Tourism Trend: Good Idea, Bad Idea?

girl with suitcaseAmidst all the media headlines that seem to continually offer conflicting messages, is traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery a good idea or a bad idea? On the one hand, headlines proclaim safety issues that have negatively affected some American patients who travel for well-known “discount” surgeries in less regulated countries. On the other, they hail international travel as a growing trend in the industry, with instances of good, if not stellar, surgical outcomes. Budget-conscious consumers want to know: Is there risk, or not?

The fact is, when it comes to plastic surgery procedures, there is always risk, and the right answer is, regardless of where you choose to have yours, smart patients take the time and effort required to know what they’re doing in order to mitigate that risk. That’s according to a recent article in Metro New York, “Surgeons Predict Seasonal Spike in Americans Seeking Plastic Surgery Abroad,” published in their December 10, 2013, edition. Patient Irina Gonzalez told Metro that her surgical trip abroad to Colombia was inspired by a friend who recommended a specific doctor there for a combination of post-gastric bypass surgeries, including liposuction, breast augmentation, upper- and lower body lifts, and arm lift. According to the article, Irina considers her plastic surgery tourism experience and results a success.

At the same time, Metro spoke with a New York-based and American Board of Plastic Surgery-certified surgeon Stephen Greenberg, MD, who pointed out that he sees many patients for corrective work who return from abroad with botched surgeries. “It’s common for someone to go and have cheap surgery and their breasts are uneven or they have a scar they don’t like,” Dr. Greenberg told the news source.

While one issue is safety, and a lack of strict regulations, which may lead to the procedure-related complications he sees, Dr. Greenberg told Metro that more frequently the issue is that US patients simply aren’t happy with their results.

The two most popular plastic surgery spots lately? Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, said Dr. Greenberg, and perhaps the two countries to avoid, if that’s where these unhappy patients have traveled for their surgeries abroad.

As for Irina, “ …I don’t have any regrets,” she told Metro, who also claims that most of the local and US patients who go to South America for plastic surgery are satisfied customers, with this caveat: “It’s safe for the people who know what they are doing,” she told the news source. “I felt like I did because I speak Spanish and I had this family connection. I had a lot of advantages I feel the typical American might not have.”

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