Considering Traveling Abroad for Cosmetic Surgery? Your Medical Tourism Souvenir May Be Serious Complications

In a world full of extreme couponing and closeout sales, many people expect to save in all areas of life, including cosmetic surgery. In recent years, patients have traveled to find deals on breast implants, tummy tucks, and Brazilian butt lifts—but it’s important to understand the dangers of medical tourism before purchasing a plane ticket.

Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital recently published a study taking a hard look at medical tourism, and the results are troubling. So, should you travel for cosmetic surgery? Read on for a few highlights from their findings.

It looks cheap at first, but complications add up

Medical tourism may seem like a great idea when you see before and after results for a lower price in a tropical destination, but it will most likely cost you much more than you ever bargained for—and we’re not just talking about added travel and lodging costs.

In fact, U.S. hospitals are seeing a large number of people coming for treatment of complications after surgery overseas, and these patients often end up in financial distress.

Botched surgeries often require a team of board certified plastic surgeons to repair damage, in addition to attempting to provide the results the patient desired in the first place. Thus a budget-procedure may cost you far more, when you add in the price of corrective surgeries. Even with insurance helping to cover health-related complications, the final price of care can quickly skyrocket (particularly if you want aesthetic corrections which insurance won’t cover).

Why are complications more likely abroad? Many non-US medical facilities don’t follow stringent guidelines for cleanliness, equipment upkeep, and emergency preparedness. In addition to the risk of getting suboptimal results, procedures performed elsewhere are more likely to result in complications like bacterial infections, abnormal pain, and wound-healing issues.

As La Jolla cosmetic surgeons in close proximity to Tijuana, we’ve seen firsthand what can happen with budget cosmetic surgery. Our surgeons have worked with many patients who returned home with poor results and a host of uncomfortable or even dangerous complications. The one thing they all have in common? Wishing they had made a different choice.

Watch LJC’s Dr. Hector Salazar-Reyes share the risks of crossing borders for cosmetic surgery on NBC San Diego:

Bargain pricing should be a red flag whether the surgeon is here or abroad—here’s why, and what to do instead.

While not every patient experiences complications, and there are some renowned plastic surgeons outside the US, there’s a threshold in price when it comes to safety and excellence in surgery. That’s because maintaining facilities to a high standard costs money (specialized equipment can cost even more abroad), and talented surgeons expect fair compensation for their skills. Bargain pricing should be a red flag to you whether it’s a deal in Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, or here in the US.

We understand how hard it is to be patient when you’re ready to make a change—and that budgeting for a procedure can be tough. The good news is you can get fair pricing for safe, successful cosmetic surgery; in fact, LJC has long been known for providing affordable breast augmentation and other popular procedures.

To find the sweet spot where you can get both a fair price and great results, be sure any US-based plastic surgeon you choose is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, operates in an accredited facility, and can show you proof of their experience and results.

One more tip for budget-conscious patients: be sure the quotes you get are all-inclusive. You don’t want to commit to surgery and later find out anesthesia, surgical facility fees, or recovery garments weren’t included. Here at LJC, we always provide all-inclusive pricing and help you arrange financing too.

In sum, don’t bargain on your health

When it comes to your physical and emotional health, the cost of medical tourism is high. While traveling to get a deal on cosmetic surgery can be tempting, added risks mean you are taking a gamble with your money, health, and appearance.

In the end, your happiness and well-being are worth the price of working with an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon who operates in a clean, accredited facility.

LJC has been helping plastic surgery patients in San Diego and beyond look and feel fabulous for 30 years. In addition to providing beautiful results in a safe environment, our superb team of board certified plastic surgeons and highly trained staff work hard to ensure you feel comfortable, welcome, and well-cared for from your first appointment to your last.

While we don’t think you can put a price on feeling happy and confident, we know you can’t ignore your bank account. That’s why we’re happy to walk you through payment and financing options during your free consultation.

Come see why LJC has been named “Best of San Diego” 15x and counting; contact us today to get started!

Get more details on the medical tourism study results here.