4 Reasons the US is a Popular Medical Tourism Destination

dronelmd on 3 Jan 2011 at 10:50am

New Mexico may not be the first place that comes to mind when the subject of “medical tourism” comes up, but I have seen patients fly in for extended, relaxing stays from Italy to Dubai. For those who are doing their cosmetic surgery research, stateside medical tourism is coming out on top.

Patients across the globe have come to realize that bad surgery outcomes can happen to good people. The well-informed, in selecting their plastic surgeon, also realize that the surgical facilities, the anesthesiologists, and the medical devices used are just as important.

Guest Post
by Daniel Ronel, MD
Dr. Ronel is a New Mexico Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Ronel is a board certified plastic surgeon practicing in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This is exactly what makes the United States so enticing to patients abroad. Consider these reasons:

1. FDA Standards

Products and procedures have to be rigorously tested to prove them safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Outside the U.S., countries may not have as strict regulations, and patients may not feel that the same procedure is as safe as it would be in the U.S. Breast implants, for example, are made extremely well here. I have removed defective implants from South American patients who had significant problems.

2. Board Certified Medical Professionals

A plastic surgery board certification in the United States by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) covers everything in terms of cosmetic procedures. Other certifications, especially outside the U.S., may not have the same training and continuing education requirements. This becomes particularly apparent if a complication develops, which can occur even in the best of hands. What the physician does to treat the complication is where skill and training are critical.

3. 5-star resorts are near 5-star medical facilities

Booking a plastic surgery procedure that is followed by cushy resort stay outside the U.S. may seem like a great bargain package, but it could be risky if the medical facilities are not up to par with the quality of the resort. Vacation destinations may not be close to qualified medical professionals and facilities. It could result in even greater cost to get something corrected, so spending a little more for post-procedure spa resort stays in the United States may be the wise thing to do. For instance, a woman came to my office after her abdominoplasty incision became infected overseas, and what should have been a straightforward course of treatment turned into a prolonged recovery requiring several skin grafts.

4. Natural-looking facelifts

Whereas South America (especially Brazil) has a reputation for being on the forefront of new plastic surgery procedures, it is in the United States where these new procedures are typically reviewed by scientific (and sometimes anecdotal, as in RealSelf.com) methods. One surgery that seems to be drawing patients, at least to New Mexico, is the “modern” facelift. There is not one specific method, but the different techniques share two main characteristics: a vertical, rather than oblique pull, and an avoidance of deep, extensive dissection under the connective tissues of the face. The result is natural, subtle, and fresh, and the recovery is easier than the traditional deep plane facelift.

The main message is that when it comes to comprehensive research of the plastic surgery procedure, surgeon, medical facilities, and recovery facilities, the selection in the United States is often unsurpassed in the eyes of the world.

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