Because I practice in Central Florida, I am FREQUENTLY contacted by women who have gone to Central or South America for Plastic Surgery...
Why am I hearing from them? Because after returning, they have problems requiring attention. That's bad....
Here's what you should know:
- While I am convinced there are many very good plastic surgeons outside of the US, I am not convinced that the standard of care is as high in some locations.
- The quality of materials used is not always as high as what we are used to in the US. I have noted on several occasions when I have needed to remove implants from patients for infection that the implants used were of poorer quality and not approved by the US FDA.
- Your surgeon is NOT the only important variable- who is to say the quality of the anesthesia personnel, nursing staff, and facility are as high as what we are used to in the US?
- When you do return, any care you require for unforeseen problems will be at your expense. Your insurance company will not care that your problem may be life threatening- as soon as it is clear it resulted from cosmetic surgery, and that the surgery was outside the US, they will remove themselves immediately.
- Many of these women I have met end up spending a LOT more money for me to fix their problems than they would have spent if they had had their surgery with me in the first place.
- On more than one occasion, the problem was not possible to correct- leaving the patient with permanent deformity.
Furthermore, finding a US plastic surgeon to help you if you do have a problem may become a lot more difficult soon-
- I am aware of at least one case here in Florida where a patient returned from abroad with a postoperative complication
- A well-meaning Good Samaritan US plastic surgeon intervened on her behalf and did the best he could to help her, but the outcome was poor despite his best efforts, due to what had been done before his meeting the patient, and her condition at the time of his involvement.
- Despite her own responsibility for her outcome and safety, and for the decisions she made that resulted in her poor outcome, and despite the fact that the American Plastic Surgeon was doing his best to help her through a difficult problem that was not his responsibility, the patient sought and found an attorney.
- The attorney advised her that the foreign plastic surgeon was beyond their reach, but that the American plastic surgeon was not.
- Guess what happened.... Yup- the poor American plastic surgeon who played the Good Samaritan got sued.
At the very least, I am changing the informed consent procedure for patients like this in my own practice, and won't be surprised if most surgeons outright refuse to see patients with problems after surgery abroad.
I understand the urge to save money if possible, but don't understand how doing so at the possible risk of health and happiness makes any sense.
There are many excellent plastic surgeons in your area. I would be very careful about this.