If Breast Lift and Implants Are Done Overseas, What Happens If I Encounter Complications?

i have been considering getting my surgery done overseas, and i was wondering if i get breast lift with implants done,and i encounter any complications when i get back will i be able to go to a surgeon in my area for help? or will they deny me because i didn't get it done with them. or what can i do if this does happen

Doctor Answers 18

Overseas Surgical Compllications

In my geographical area I see numerous patients who have had surgery overseas and need assistance with complications after returning home.  I am sure that there are many patients who have successfully undergone their surgery and don't require professional followup. While it may be much less expensive to have surgery overseas, the cost of treating  and correcting complications could prove to be expensive for some patients.  Remember that rules and regulations regarding patient safety are different in every country with the USA having the highest standards.

Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Problems from overseas surgery

Look Suzie, most of the time everything goes well and you heal fine.  The thing you worry aboout is what if there is a problem 1 month down the road.  Are you prepared to fly back to the original surgeon?  If not then you should seriously consider what your cost savings are in case of a problem.  Many plastic surgeons, if they are willing to take you on, will charge you 3-4 times the amount of what the surgery would have cost you in your hometown.  Good luck with your decision.  Dr. Schuster in Boca Raton.

Steven Schuster, MD, FACS
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Surgery In Another Country

If you go to Mexico or elsewhere out of the country, you have no legal protection, probably no medical insurance help, and may have to pay out pocket if problems develop while you are down there. Later, there will be no easy way to see your doctor again if problems or concerns come up with your results.

Few surgeons back in the U.S. are going to be eager to take on issues or problems for a surgery that they did not perform, either.

If you are considering breast implants, I know at least one of the major manufacturers will not honor the free replacement warranty and money you can get towards replacement if the implants were placed outside of the U.S.

It is also more difficult to figure out the certification of your surgeon, or where he operates if your he or she is in another country.

John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 271 reviews

Surgery abroad

While having surgery overseas may seem appealing because it is usually more affordable, you may actually end up paying double should you experience complications that need to be treated once you return home.  Seek a plastic surgeon who is a member of the ASPS, committed to treating you if you experience complications.

Sandra J. Fearrington, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Surgery overseas

It is never a good idea to have surgery away from where you live, for the very reason that if there are complications who will take responsibility for it and help. Most plastic surgeons will accept a referral from a fellow board certified plastic surgeon who is a member of the American society of oh plastic surgery. But even then its up to the surgeon if they want to deal with a complication where the patient did not trust them to perform the original surgery.

Shahriar Mabourakh, MD, FACS
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 211 reviews

Risks of Breast Augmentation Overseas

All of the concerns you brought up - " i encounter any complications when i get back will i be able to go to a surgeon in my area for help? or will they deny me because i didn't get it done with them. or what can i do if this does happen" unfortunately are all possible. The British expression "Penny wise and pound foolish" comes to mind. 

Medical tourism has becoming increasingly popular in recent years; patients have been flying out of the U.S. for plastic surgery, lured by lower prices.
However, a parallel trend has also appeared: plastic surgeons in the United States are finding themselves treating an increasing number of patients who plastic surgery abroad, correcting complications and errors. A survey by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that 80% of the responding doctors had treated American medical tourists for complications including infection, contour abnormalities, and hematoma.
Medical tourists are often led to believe that they will receive the same quality of care for a lower price in a foreign clinic. But while it is true that the cost of plastic surgery in some foreign countries is lower, this is often because the quality of care and surgery is compromised. Such patients also seem to neglect the possibility of complications and the need for a follow-up visit.
In addition to the risks posed by sub-standard medical care abroad, medical tourists must consider the risks of injections and implants in other countries. The recent crisis with French breast implant maker Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) exemplifies this problem. PIP used industrial- rather than medical-grade silicone on their implants in an effort to reduce costs, a measure which probably increased the danger of rupture. PIP implants have not been used in the United States since 2000. Removal of these implants has been recommended by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
It is often the case that medical tourists end up spending more money because they have to pay to treat complications from their overseas surgery.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Overseas surgery, what happens if I encounter complications?

One of the biggest advantages to having surgery at home is that your doctor will be able to oversee your care should any complications arise and more importantly you may be able to avoid complications all together if issues are caught early on. Also many have surgery out of the country to save money only to find that there are significant costs involved should they need to be revised by a surgeon who must essentially start treating them from scratch.

In my opinion it is best to seek out a board certified plastic surgeon who is based in North America and who can be available to you should the need arise.

Be well and good luck!

Morgan E. Norris, III, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Complications Abroad

I frequently encounter patients who have had surgery outside the United States and have come back with complications.  Many times there people went outside the United States because they did not have the funds to pay the U.S. price.  Unfortunately, when they have a complication they do not have the funds to pay for the complication.  U.S. physicians are unable to provide treatment because the patients cannot pay the facility or anesthesia fees.  If your funds are limited and you cannot afford to pay for potentioal complications, you should reconsider doing the procedure.

Best Wishes,

Gary Horndeski, M.D.

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 223 reviews

Breast Augmentation

I often try to advise my patients keeping in mind their life curcumstances and tailor safe medical care within that framework.  While it is possible to have an experienced surgeon perform a good operation overseas, your surgeon is just as important to your postoperative care to be sure you heal well.  When everything goes to plan, you could have your procedure and recover well enjoying the new body change.  However, when some problems with healing arise, that is the most critical time to have your surgeon at your side.  For example, I have had the rare patient who has develped some initial minor wound healing problems that I was able to address immediately and the patient went on to uncomplicated final results.  If I had not been so immediately available I would be concerned that the outcome could have been worse.  You need your surgeon to help monitor your healing.

The other problem is that were you to return home and develop a serious complication you could have significant difficulty finding a qualified surgeon willing to undertake another surgeons complicated result.  I always tell my patients my first job is to make them better and healthy.  If I can do that in the framework of making them happy with their goals then we all win.

Ronald H. Stefani Jr, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Problems with surgery abroad

If you have surgery abroad and encounter complications, you likely will be able to find a local surgeon to help you. But you should not expect anyone to do so for free. Complications and revisional procedures are often time consuming and difficult and are usually charged accordingly. I would highly suggest trying to find a local surgeon to perform your surgical procedure. Doing so will significantly increase your chances of having a safe and worry free experience. 

Wm. Todd Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 84 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.