Be careful. There have increasing numbers of patients with complications that have had surgery performed outside the country. In addition, if a complication occurs there, the medical care in that country is what will be used to take care of you. Do your research, it is usually recommended to have the surgery and follow up close to where you live, whether in the US or outside it.
Having surgery at a reduced rate in a foreign country
sounds appealing, but there are many concerns that you should consider.
Generally, there is no preoperative direct discussion with the surgeon who is
going to perform the surgery in order to establish any reasonable
doctor/patient relationship. There are often language barriers that can
interfere with your care. Even if your surgeon speaks English, the ancillary
personnel like the nurses and the anesthesia provider who are involved in your
care, may not. The quality of hospitals outside of the Unites States varies
tremendously. Some are accredited and inspected, others are not. Even if the
hospital has reasonable facilities and the surgeon has training, which may not
be up to the quality of training of a plastic surgeon certified by the American
Board of Plastic Surgery, the quality of the nurses and others involved in your
care may be very different from that in the United States. They may have little
or no formal medical education, training or credentialing.
There is usually little follow-up care. In addition, the
general sanitary conditions often increase the risk of infections, including
some that are generally rare in this country. There are major potential
problems that may occur with traveling long distances just before and after
surgery, like dehydration and fatigue, but more importantly complications
including clots in the legs called deep venous thrombosis and clots to the lung
which may be life threatening.
In most countries, if a problem develops, you will
have little legal recourse and no ability to file a complaint either against
the hospital or about the surgeon. If complications develop after you
return home, it may be difficult or impossible to obtain care from your local
physicians. If problems do occur, the cost of subsequent care can be far
greater than the reduced cost of the original surgery. While there are
well-trained physicians in many other countries, I would suggest that you
travel for pleasure or business and have your surgery closer to home.
Robert Singer, MD FACS
La Jolla, California
Hello, thank you for your question. The answer, in sum, is no. Your plastic surgeon has to od all the follow up, and, as a plastic surgeon in Dominican Republic, where I get a lot of patients from the US and Europe, I do a meticulous follow up during your stay in the Dominican Republic, and continue follow up personally through the phone after they leave. No surgeon will be willing to follow up on somebody else's work, which is the reason why I ensure, based on my experience,that you stay long enough so by the time you have to leave, you are well on your way of recovery.
As you can imagine, a plastic surgeon here or anywhere will not want to do the follow up for someone else. I occasionally remove another surgeons sutures as a courtesy since I practice in a resort town. I will occasionally see a patient that was operated elsewhere and, for some reason, cannot return to their surgeon for a problem. Usually the surgeon call me directly to ask for that courtesy. So expect to return to the DR or any place where you had the original work for your follow up care.
Generally speaking, it is best to have
any significant plastic surgery done in or near the city you live. Complications
in plastic surgery are commonly due to wound healing problems, which can take
weeks to heal with many visits. While it may seem less expensive to go abroad,
if you have a complication, even minor, you may get charged by the plastic
surgeon who is taking care of the complication. If you have a
complication and you are in the same city of the plastic surgeon, they will (or
should) take care of the problem as part of your surgical fees.