Approximately 2 years ago, I took care of a woman who went
for surgery. Both implants became infected
and I had to remove them. At this time,
she still does not have implants and has not been able to afford reconstruction
after the disaster. The cost of the trip
and implants was more than twice the cost of implants in the U.S.
Gary Horndeski, M.D.
Medical Tourism - Breast Implants in Thailand?
Having surgery at a reduced rate in a foreign country sounds appealing, but there are many concerns that you should consider. Generally, there is no preoperative direct discussion with the surgeon who is going to perform the surgery in order to establish any reasonable doctor/patient relationship. There are often language barriers that can interfere with your care. Even if your surgeon speaks English, the ancillary personnel like the nurses and the anesthesia provider who are involved in your care, may not. The quality of hospitals outside of the U.S. varies tremendously. Some are accredited and inspected, others are not. Even if the hospital has reasonable facilities and the surgeon has training, which may not be up to the quality of training of a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the quality of the nurses and others involved in your care may be very different from that in the United States. They may have little or no formal medical education, training or credentialing.
There is usually little follow-up care. In addition, the general sanitary conditions often increase the risk of infections, including some that are generally rare in this country.
There are major potential problems that may occur with traveling long distances just before and after surgery, like dehydration and fatigue, but more importantly complications including clots in the legs called deep venous thrombosis and clots to the lung which may be life threatening.
In most countries, if a problem develops, you will have little legal recourse and no ability to file a complaint either against the hospital or about the surgeon. If complications
develop after you return home, it may be difficult or impossible to obtain care from your local physicians. If problems do occur, the cost of subsequent care can be far greater than the reduced cost of the original surgery. While there are well-trained physicians in many other countries, I would suggest that you travel for pleasure or business and have your surgery closer to home.
Robert Singer, MDFACS
La Jolla, California
Travelling to a foreign country for elective surgery is not advised.
You need to review all possible scenarios : if you have a complication related to your breast implant surgery, who will care for you state-side ? Would you have the time and financial resources to fly all the way back to Thailand for your care ?
Do you have comment from women who have gone to Thailand for breast implants?
If you live in the US, I would remain in the US for your breast surgery.
Kenneth Hughes, MD
Los Angeles, CA
Thailand for breast implants?
I understand the cost in Thailand for surgery is much cheaper. But if you have complications or any problems you need to have taken care of or if you are dissatisfied with the results for some reason, it will be necessary to make a return trip. In this country the fees cover all the followup visits, so if you have not paid a local surgeon in your area for the surgery he is not going to be able to see you for complications.
Have your breast augmentation by American board certified plastic surgeon in the USA
Thank you for your question. Traveling internationally for breast augmentation has significant risks. FDA guidelines and American standards for surgery are often not as high or is closely controlled as they are in the USA.
As importantly when having cosmetic surgery and breast implant procedures it is important that you be close to and have access to your operating surgeon for follow-up, especially if you have complications or other issues. I suggest you visit they website of the ASAPS for information on some of the pitfalls of traveling internationally for plastic surgery.