Surgery, Hep A shot, Traveling to DR?

I will be traveling to DR for TT BBL Lipo and cannot get Hep A shot until 2 days before my surgery date. Should I just forego the shot all together? Don't want to weaken immune system / cause problems for healing purposes.

Doctor Answers 10

Surgery a bad idea

If the Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended then you should have it completed well before traveling. You are already taking a risk leaving the country to have plastic surgery, and you don't need to add further risk by not being prepared. You should reschedule if possible, or a better idea would be to have it done locally. There are several plastic surgery residency programs in Illinois that I'm sure could do your surgery for a comparable price. These programs would also give you the postoperative care you deserve. Good luck with your decision and God bless.

Rochester Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Medical tourism

I would encourage you to make your decisions carefully; medical tourism although certainly cheaper, may not be the safest way to proceed. Select your plastic surgeon based on the quality/safety record. Ask to see lots of examples of his/her work and preferably communicate with some previous patients as well. Make sure you also consider factors such as follow-up and treatment of complications that may occur, even in the best of hands. Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

TT, lipo, and BBL in Dominican Republic--are you daft?

You need a Hepatitis A vaccination to go to DR? Why are you having surgery where these (and many other) risks exist? I know the answer--to save money, right?

Well, since you probably are unwilling to accept good advice, here's some additional advice to save time:

Jump out of the airplane before landing--you'll get to the ground quicker and beat the rush at customs. What? Does that sound stupid, risky, and something not at all advisable?

That's what we're trying to tell you about surgical tourism in the DR. Click on the link if you don't believe us.

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Surgery, Hep A shot, Traveling to DR?

No, you should not forego the shot but you should definitely forego the surgery. It's obvious you have not done your homework. A great many patients have been coming back from the DR with a serious RGM (mycobacteria) infection from the poor sterile technique seen in many third world countries. Not only has this been all over the medical literature but even daily newspapers. And it is not from a single doctor but many different clinics. The treatment is 3-12 months of Intravenous antibiotics but also several surgical procedures and many tens of thousands or more in medical bills you will be personally responsible for. Insurance almost never covers complications of cosmetic surgery.

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

Surgery in DR Hep A shot

I agree with the other surgeons that patients should stay close to home for their surgery.  Your HepA vaccination should be the least of your concerns.  The problem is not necessarily the training or experience of the surgeon. 

1.  Surgery is safe but not risk-free.  What if you do have problems?  Your medical insurance while outside your country will not work for any complications.  Are you sure that you want to take that risk?

2.  Travel either before or after surgery can increase problems such as blood clots in your legs (DVT or deep vein thrombosis) that can travel to your lung (PE or pulmonary embolus) - which can be fatal. 

3.  All plastic surgeons occasionally have patients who require a revision even when there are not complications.  By the time you find someone who can take care of you later - for whatever reason - you may not have actually saved any money.

4.  You really cannot combine a vacation with surgery - you will not be able to enjoy the area after your surgery.  You should stay home and save the vacation for later. 

Elizabeth Hall-Findlay, MD
Banff Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Hep A vaccine for Travel to DR

The CDC recommends Hepatitis A immunization for anyone traveling to the DR due to the potential of contracting Hepatitis A from food or water. So, you should have the vaccine before you travel there. Two days will not be enough time to confer immunity to you. Generally, it's not a great idea to get your surgery in an offshore facility. Use your own judgement, but understand that from the standpoint of Hepatitis A, you should not go there until you have had appropriate immunization.

Peter D. Geldner, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Traveling for surgery

I recommend that you stay locally for surgery so that you can get appropriate post-op care as well. Best of luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Surgery, Hep A shot, Traveling to DR?

Hep A immunization is not required for surgery in the USA so it is concerning that you need it for surgery in the DR. Two days is not likely to offer immunization. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Surgery, Hep A shot, traveling to DR?

Thank you for sharing your excellent question.  If you have appropriately vetted your DR physician and their facilities and wish to proceed with surgery there, you should follow their instructions on your preoperative and postoperative care.  I would be concerned about the environment of surgery when the need for a Hep A shot is indicated.  Best wishes. 

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Travel for Plastic Surgery

I have been consulted at the local hospital for two patients this week having "travel" plastic surgery (one in DR and one in Mexico). Both struggled with infection after surgery. Hospitalization was only necessary because they didn't have access to their surgeon after they returned home. Interestingly, both would have received a better result and a cheaper price at fellowship clinics in Dallas. 

You are about to undergo the procedure with a high complication rate (see link). I would be remiss if I didn't caution you about traveling outside the US for your surgery. You are going to drive by and fly over 100s of well qualified surgeons on your way to the DR. 

I wouldn't get the hep a shot at this point. Best of luck!

Bradley A. Hubbard, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 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.