If you are considering having plastic surgery, you have many choices. The variety and popularity of cosmetic procedures is growing, and there are more providers and facilities than ever before to choose from. A new trend finds some even offering low-cost “medical tourism” packages in exotic locales like Mexico, India, or Thailand. But are they safe?

The first thing to keep in mind is that plastic surgery is real surgery. You need to find out as much as possible about your doctor, the facility they operate in and how you will manage post-operative issues. Take your time. Do your research.

Kenneth Bermudez, MD, of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) based here in San Francisco Bay Area is dedicated to making sure consumers have the safest plastic surgery possible, and offers you the following Questions to Consider When Debating Having Surgery Abroad:

1) Is the physician qualified? Are the medical facility and equipment safe? Although there are many qualified physicians practicing all over the world in excellent facilities, many countries have no credible process for verifying physician training, or the standards of medical facilities and equipment. Patients can significantly decrease the dangers of plastic surgery by thoroughly researching both doctor and facility, or simply staying in the United States and selecting an ASPS Member Surgeon. All ASPS Member Surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and put patient safety first.

2) How will my post-operative care and any complications be handled? Patients should consider that even routine post-op care (such as changing dressings and monitoring healing) can be necessary for several weeks—long after your “vacation” is over. And patients should also determine if they have insurance for complications resulting from cosmetic procedures abroad.

3) Are travel and vacation activities compatible with surgery? Although enticing, most vacation activities should be avoided after surgery, and a long return flight increases the risk of developing a pulmonary embolism and blood clots. Your surgeon should discuss what you can expect during recovery, and what you can do to minimize risk

Dr. Bermudez and ASPS strongly urge you to become an educated consumer and have many online tools to help you make a safe decision.

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San Francisco Plastic Surgeon