Recently, I was interviewed for the Plastic Surgery Channel about the dangers of medical tourism. I think the topic is an important one, so I wanted to share my thoughts with you. The appeal of traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery is rooted in cheaper price tags coupled with the lure of an exotic vacation. It’s estimated that this year alone, more than one million people will travel to places like Brazil, Thailand and Cuba for medical procedures. This will result in a boost of over $40 billion dollars in the economy for those countries. However, prospective patients may not take into account some important risk factors. It’s imperative to consider the following should you be thinking about medical tourism for yourself:
• While the cost of procedures can sometimes be 40 percent less expensive in other countries, you might forget to include the cost of airfare, hotels, meals, transportation and even insurance having an impact on your budget. When you add these things into the equation, the cost of your procedure can be nearly equal to what you might pay in America.
• The follow-up after any surgery is extremely important. Flying can cause blood clots, which can lead to strokes and even death. In addition, contracting infectious diseases from a host country is one of the most frequent complications. Should you contract an infection, or other complication, it can be difficult to find a physician in the states who will treat you. In addition, most of these types of surgeries require more recovery time than a typical vacation week or two.
• It is not always easy to check the qualifications of doctors in another country. The protection laws in other countries are often different than those in America, and there may be no legal recourse for you should something go wrong. In fact, many times, the reason for the lower cost of these procedures is that physicians abroad do not have to pay for malpractice insurance. For that reason, you should always be sure to at least look for a reputable facility that is internationally certified by the Joint Commission International.
If you are considering medical tourism for any plastic surgery, I would strongly advise you to do your research thoroughly and reconsider a physician in the states where you will be sure to receive the follow-up care, attention and support you’ll need for as long as you need it following surgery.
For more information, connect with us at Is Medical Tourism Worth the Risk?