I've scheduled a Tummy tuck, BBL and full back Lipo with Dr Hungria in the Dominican in June and I smoke and drink. Advice?

How long should I be nicotine and alcohol free to have a successful recovery and minimal complications? I'm also wondering how the bbl and tummy tuck recovery will occur? Do you lay on your side, sleep in a recliner, get a body pillow? I'll also be flying back to the US 5 days after the surgery, what do I need to do specifically to maintain the BBL?

Doctor Answers 9

Tummy tuck, BBL and back lipo

I recommend my patients stop smoking at least 1 month before surgery but the longer it is from when you stop smoking to your surgery the better! Smoking affects the blood vessels and therefore can really complicate the healing process. It is also important to note that nicotine patches cannot be used either.

Alcohol can thin the blood and increase the risk of bleeding. I tell my patients to avoid alcohol for at least 2 weeks before surgery, but the longer the better.

For my patients that are having tummy tuck and fat injection to the butt at the same time I recommend that they sleep on their sides. They must switch from side to side frequently to keep things even.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Ankur Mehta MD


Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Plastic Surgery, Travel, and Risks

I would hope your surgeon has given you a detailed explanation of the serious problems that smoking can have on your healing and overall health after surgery.   You should abide by his directions.  If you have not been cautioned about smoking and alcohol use before surgery, I would take that as a sign of your surgeon's low concern for your safety and the best results.  

I will reiterate what the other doctors here have already said...you have no insurance protection, no legal protection, and no easy followup if you travel to another country for surgery. You also have no way of assuring the quality or safety record of the facility where your surgery will be done.  This is simply the nature of the most systems outside of the U.S.

John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 256 reviews

Tummy tuck and BBL in the Dominican

I recommend that my patients stop smoking at least 6weeks prior to a tummy tuck. I will not do surgery if they have not because the risks are just too great. As for having surgery in the Dominican, that is my greatest concern of all. What will you do if you are unhappy with your results or even worse if you have a complication. This is real surgery with real risks and serious potential complications. Flying home that soon after those two surgeries is extremely dangerous as well and could definitely compromise your results especially from the BBL.

Foreign surgery

I'm sorry, I would not get my car fixed outside the US, much less my body.  

What if there is gross malpractice?Are you going to go down and fight it out in the Dominican courts?  What if you get real sick 2 weeks later.  Are you going to fly down to get taken care of?  What if you heal up and everything looks terrible--you had a safe surgery, but a not-so-good result.  Are you going to fly back and forth to talk to the surgeon about it?

I assume you are trying to save money.  Please consider saving up a little more and doing it somewhere closer to you in the US.  There are systems in place that help protect you from a disaster scenario.

Michael E. Decherd, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Tummy tuck, liposution and butt lift scheduled, advice to a smoker

Smoking brings a significant risk of cancer, stroke, heat attack, etc. From a Plastic Surgery standpoint it is a vasoconstrictor. Wound healing is all about getting oxygen and needed entities to the wound. It is well known that patients who smoke have a tremendous increase in their rate of serious complications, (infections, wounds falling apart, etc.). Nicotine is the main vasoconstrictor, so getting a patch or lozenge of nicotine won't help the vasoconstriction. Best to be off the tobacco/nicotine entirely before surgery. Please be honest with your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Together you can make a plan to quit and proceed with surgery. The amount of time between quitting and surgery will depend on the Plastic Surgeon and the procedure.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Should I have plastic surgery in the Dominican Republic?

There seem to be a number of American patients on real self seeking plastic surgery on a "medical tourism" basis in developing countries.  Presumably, this is because of significant cost savings.  Please realize, there is also presumably a significantly lower barrier to practicing medicine in a developing country.

First, I will admit I know nothing about specific doctors in developing countries; HOWEVER, more importantly, I don't know anything about licensing in those countries, hospital privileges or board certification (if any); do you?

In the United States, a physician successfully completes a major in an accredited college, is accepted to medical school and successfully graduates, is admitted to a residency program which he or she also completes.  I use the verb to complete, but to get into plastic surgery, your doctor had to excel in college, medical school and residency.  To achieve board certification, he or she has had to complete all of the above and successfully pass both written and oral examinations some of which were based on their initial medical practice experience.

When you have surgery is the United States, with a board certified surgeon, he or she has met all of these hurdles.  He or she also has leased or owns office space in or near your city; employs an office staff of people who live in or near you; pays annual license premiums, participates in regular CME (continuing medical education),  and pays malpractice premiums.  Your surgeon is setting fees to cover all of these expenses and still earn a reasonable living.

For the fees you pay to your American surgeon, your  Board Certified Plastic Surgeon will take care of you to the best of his or her abilities, and more importantly, will be there to take care of any potential complications that you may experience.  No one wants to have complications; the reality is that you should anticipate at least the possibility of a 5-10% chance of minor complication (and there is a smaller chance of serious complication with many procedures).

Mark A. Deuber, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Advice?

I agree with the doctors on this board.  Based on what you are describing, with your smoking history already putting you at risk for healing problems, and an early flight back to the US, you are setting yourself up for potentially very serious problems.

If you search this site, you will find many examples of complications and horror stories from people who did the "medical tourism" route.  Beware.

Daniel Krochmal, MD
Chicago General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

I've scheduled a Tummy tuck, BBL and full back Lipo with Dr Hungria in the Dominican in June and I smoke and drink. Advice?

Most ethical plastic surgeons would feel that being a smoker and flying back 5 days after the combination of procedures that you describe are a set up for potential dire complications.

Robert Singer, MD FACS

La Jolla, California

Robert Singer, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Surgery

You are making some very dangerous decisions with your health and even your life. With the information you have given us you are at very high risk for vascular complications and soft tissue necrosis. The plane flight puts you at high risk for DVT and PE which can be fatal. Have you researched all the disastrous complications in patients who have been to the DR. It's a simple Google search. If any complications occur you will need to fly back to the DR and try to get them cared for which could take weeks or even months or wind up spending many times what you have saved getting cared for by a local surgeon. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 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.