Know the Risks of Medical Tourism: Could Saving Money Cost You Your Life?

28 Apr 2015 at 12:30am

Dominican Republic

Written by RealSelf Top Doctor Darryl J. Blinski, MD

Here on RealSelf, we see the positive effect that plastic surgery can have on a person's life. There are hundreds of stories of transformation shared on a daily basis, yet despite this, there will always be tales of cosmetic procedures gone tragically wrong. From illegal fillers to extreme plastic surgery, making an unsafe, uneducated choice about a treatment can have costly and life-altering results.

Sadly, many continue to put themselves at risk for the sake of saving money, and we see this happen often with people choosing to have their procedures performed outside the United States. Common countries for medical tourism include Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Colombia, mainly because they’re easy to get to and offer deeply discounted rates. The initial boom of this trend began in the early 2000s, but we saw these numbers grow at an even faster rate following the economic downturn in 2008.

But here’s the thing: While a procedure might seem more affordable upfront, medical tourism often costs a lot more than its initial price tag. These popular locations lack safeguards for their operating facilities, which have standards that are nothing compared to those in the United States. And while the U.S. has trusted organizations like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (both of which make it easy to check a doctor’s qualifications), international certifications are unreliable at best. We’ve seen noticeably higher complication rates — and even death — in those who’ve chosen to go under the knife across U.S. borders. The wrong decision could save you money, but end up costing you your life.

Read the rest of the article on Avvo's NakedLaw blog.

Do Your Research Before Booking a Flight

Read: Medical Tourism: 4 Steps to Guarantee a Safe Cosmetic Procedure
Watch: How Can You Tell If an Operating Facility Is Safe? Here's What to Look For
From the RealSelf Community: Here's Why I Chose to Do My Plastic Surgery in the United States

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