Low Cost Plastic Surgery Abroad, What's the Real Cost?


Google searches often turn up advertisements for low cost plastic surgery in far away places. How appealing! You can have an international vacation and come home a new and beautiful you for the same cost as plastic surgery in the United States. Medical tourism often forgets that the U. S. has patient protections that are not found in much of the world.

I have recently had several patients in my office who sought surgery in places with lower standards and discovered that the real cost was a lot more than the dollars spent.

Maria, a 35 year old Mexican  has lived in the United States for 15 years. After her first child, she decided to go to Tiajuana for a "Mommy  Make-Over" so that she could save several thousand dollars on the cost of surgery. Her tummy tuck and breast augmentation showed both technical and judgement errors on the part of her surgeon that may not be correctable. She was given huge breast implants that looked unnatural on her petite frame. The pockets for the implants had been over dissected in the middle resulting in her two breasts merging in the midline over her sternum. This "synmastia" is very dfficult to fix and may be a permanent deformity. Her belly button was made too large and her scars suggested amateur technique. Maria felt tricked and she felt that she had disfigured herself in order to save two thousand dollars.

Evangie was a 50 year old Filipino who had lived most of her adult life in the U.S. She chose to return to the Phillipines for her blepheroplasty. She was left with a large visible scar in the middle of her lower eyelids, a good centimeter lower than it should have been placed. There was no way to eliminate or hide this scar placement. She accepted substandard care without realizing it in order to save money. 

A third patiet I saw in consultation, Eva went to Thailand to combine exotic travel with her rhinoplasty. She got the oportunity to visit a far away place, but came home with a nose that was overdone, unnatural and difficult to restore. 

There was a very wide gap between  these final results and what might have been a typical outcome with a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. It will cost time, regret and more money to deal with the consequences of these ill considered choices.

Plastic surgery and vacation do not mix well. A plastic surgery procedure is an important undertaking and should be entered into thoughtfully. A well credentialed surgeon whose experience you can verify is important. Having your surgeon available for follow-up is important. Bargain shopping for your body may have some unhappy results. The United States is still the standard bearer in quality of medical care. Why would you choose any thing less?

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Seattle Plastic Surgeon