I Am Considering a 6 Procedure Marathon Surgery in Columbia. Am I Risking Too Much?

I am healthy 23 year -old. I lost 70+ lbs over the last 5 years and have been left with saggy skin on my 5'2" frame. I need a tummy tuck, breast lift/implants, thigh/arm lift and bbl. I am so desperate I don't have the financial means to get this done in the states so I'm thinking of having it done in Columbia. I have spoken with a surgeon there and he says he can do it all at once. I've become so depressed after my weight loss I am willing to take a chance. Is this worth the risk?

Doctor Answers 13

Traveling Out of the Country for 6 Procedures in One Surgery

Many procedures can be #combined during one surgery. Cosmetic procedures such as Brazilian Butt Lift (#BBL), Thigh Lift (#TL) and Mommy Makeover (#MMO), which usually concentrates on the breast and abdomen areas, may be combined together. However, I look at the risk factors such as surgery time greater than 6 hours, or #anesthesia time, increased risks of DVT, prolonged  #healing, #positioning after surgery to name a few, which are a lot to consider. These factors are relative to performing any variety of combinations.  

In addition to a one-on-one consultations with a board certified Plastic Surgeon, patients always need to be seen by their primary care doctor prior to such procedures.  We screen every patient and their medical records for risks of blood clots (DVT) and then take appropriate measure.

Therefore, it may be in your best interest to not #travel out of the country for such procedures. Unless, you know the doctor or facility where the procedures take place well or have a previous experience with them, there is an increased chance of problems, #complications, or #emergencies which may lack the necessary attention as you would acquire easier within the United States. 

Also, your procedures should only be performed by a #PlasticSurgeon who is board-certified and has a great deal of experience specializing in cosmetic #surgery. You will then greatly improve your chances of getting the result you desire, and, without the need for a revision surgery. It is suggested that you look at before and after photos of the surgeons actual patients, and read patient reviews. Gathering all of this information will help you make a well-informed decision.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Marathon surgery abroad

Just because they CAN be done at the same time doesn't mean they SHOULD.  The fact that you are asking these questions tells me that you are concerned that it may be too risky.  Please do not take this lightly!  It would be wise to get an opinion from a board certified plastic surgeon in the United States to see if it is recommended to have all procedures done at the same time.

George John Alexander, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Marathon surgery in Columbia

I concur with my colleagues as well.  Although 6 procedures can be done at the same time technically, it does not mean that they should be done all at once.  They are too much surgery.  As surgical time increases, your risks of complications increase as well.  In addition, if you develop any complication, you will not be able to return to Columbia easily.  Although money is important factor in most patients' decision making, safety of your health should come first.  Please consider dividing up your surgery and visit with board-certified plastic surgeon in the states.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Marathon surgery abroad

Please think twice about surgery abroad.  How would a complication be handled?   The advantage of having your surgery performed locally is that the postoperative care is covered with the procedure.    

If you have surgery abroad and have a complication upon return to the states, you will have to pay out of pocket again to be treated by a plastic surgeon in the united states. It is often difficult to find a private plastic surgeon willing to take on the treatment of a complication on a procedure they did not perform.

I would recommend you consult with an academic plastic surgery program.   Many of the universities have resident plastic surgery clinics which offer discounted procedures with board certified plastic surgeon supervision. 

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Please reconsider

You are in a fragile state and your good judgement is being clouded but your inner voice is telling you this is not a wise idea for so many reasons.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Marathon surgery abroad

I concur with my colleagues here.  Just because something can be done doesn't mean it should.   Your safety needs to be FIRST.   Please start with visiting with a board certified plastic surgeon in your area to learn more about your options.  

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 212 reviews

Marathon Surgery in Columbia is Not Recommended

There are several reasons why it is not a good idea to have such a marathon surgery in Columbia.  Firstly, having so many surgeries at once significantly increases the complication rate, both in terms of healing problems, as well as major complications.  Secondly, in the US, having surgery in an accredited facility by a plastic surgeon board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, assures you that the surgeon has the requisite training and the facility is regularly inspected for patient safety standards, including proper sterility.  In Columbia, you would also need to be assured of the quality of the surgeon and facility.  Thirdly, should you have complications after surgery, you would need to be prepared to remain in Columbia for perhaps several weeks, or even a few months or more, in order for the complications to be addressed and properly treated by the surgeon.  You shouldn't necessarily expect another surgeon in the US to follow you and take care of your complications.  For those reasons, it is not a good idea to have such surgery in Columbia.  

Arnold S. Breitbart, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 149 reviews

Cosmetic surgery abroad

I can not recommend having all those procedures at the same time, here in the US or in Colombia. The risk of a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis) can be too high with that combination of procedures. I would advise you to break these procedures up into at least two separate stages. You should meet with a few board certified plastic surgeons here in the US before going abroad for that type of surgery; it can be very risky.

Do not make your decision based on finances.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 381 reviews

I Am Considering a 6 Procedure Marathon Surgery in Columbia. Am I Risking Too Much?

You ar risking serious and massive complications that include death. Why do you think we don't do that massive surgery in the US? Then, assuming you get back to the states, you will probably not find anyone willing to take care of your complications. The surgical fee includes all necessary post op care so you would have to return to the surgeon who caused the problems to have them cared for. It is much better to do nothing than to do the wrong thing.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Body contouring surgery after significant weight loss

I have seen these south american marathon procedures performed in Brazil where they do this routinely and have a system in place for it. This requires a team of surgeons as it cannot be physically done or done safely by one surgeon alone. Multiple surgeons work at the same time on different body parts. That way the total operating room time is significantly less. It is not the norm for north american surgeons although you may be able to find a couple of north american surgeons who could work together in a mini-marathon. If you consider travel costs, accommodation costs, costs associated with having to recuperate far from home and family Columbia might not seem so cheap an option. If you do not have all of the funds to do the surgery in the US you can consider paying some and financing the rest.

Also if you have medical record documented areas of skin breakdown or rashes the recurred despite medical treatment part of your surgery could be covered by health insurance.

My response to your question/post does not represent formal medical advice or constitute a doctor patient relationship. You need to consult with i.e. personally see a board certified plastic surgeon in order to receive a formal evaluation and develop a doctor patient relationship.

Aaron Stone, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.