How Do You Find a Doctor for Aftercare if You Get the Surgery out of State?

I haven't found a doctor in my area who impressed me with their before and after photos for tummy tuck and most of them are very expensive for less than exceptional results. I found a surgeon out of state would like to go to, but I hear it's impossible to find aftercare if complications arise. How do I find an aftercare doctor?

Doctor Answers 13

Patients who choose to have their surgery out-of-state yield their complications to the emergency room.

If you choose to have your procedure with a remote surgeon and develop a complication at home, you would report to the emergency room and take your chances with the plastic surgeon who is on call at that time.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

No need to leave Ohio

Thank you for your question. There is no need to leave Ohio to have a tummy tuck. There are plenty of qualified plastic surgeons here who are board certified.  It's hard to find someone to do only the follow up because no one likes to take care of another surgeons problems. If Columbus is not too far for you to travel to, I would be happy to see you for a consultation.  

James McMahan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Surgery out of state.

Very few, if any, plastic surgeons will care for you after you undergo a surgical procedure, let alone a cosmetic procedure, by another surgeon.  My advice is to select a surgeon closer to home or to plan on staying in the local area of your plastic surgeon for the perioperative period.  Best of luck.

Out of state surgery

The surgeon you choose from out of state may be able to facilitate after care with a local doctor for you but I would expect you will pay more in the end since your local doctor is taking on a big responsibility and not getting the case.  Your other option is to travel back and forth for your after care. If you do not have any complications this may not be a problem.   However, if you do then that could become an issue.  I recommend staying close to your chosen surgeon for at least 1-2 weeks depending on the procedure. 

Tiffany McCormack, MD
Reno Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

How Do You Find a Doctor for Aftercare if You Get the Surgery out of State?

When medicare calculates fees for surgeons, they calculate that the actual surgery part is 69%^ of the fee, while the other 31% covers the before and after care. I would find it perfectly reasonable to charge a patient who has  had surgery elsewhere 20 to 25% of the surgery fee that I would have charged for that procedure if the patient wanted me to cover the post op care.  If you were to offer that amount, you will probably find it much easier to find someone. 

Best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Plastic Surgeons want to care for their patients!

The outcome a any surgical procedure is combination of many factors, including a comprehensive preoperative assessment, a great surgical plan, excellent technical performance of the surgery, and proper care after the surgery. What you call "aftercare" is not a generic, unskilled commodity, but an integral part of your post op result. A technically skilled surgeon is also skilled in recognizing adverse conditions early, and providing advice or treatments to  avoid major complications down the road. Your final outcome from surgery is a combination of the surgical procedure itself and proper healing afterward. Your healing should happen under the watchful eye of your surgeon. If you commit to have your procedure out of town, you need to commit to the travel involved to have your aftercare out of town as well. 

Robert J. Carpenter, MD
Cumberland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Aftercare PS

You are correct. It is hard if not impossible to find a local PS to take over some one else's work.   Kind of like having a builder put the knobs on the cabinets after a kitchen remodel by another builder or asking a painter to remove the tape around the windows after paying another painter to do the work.  My recommendation is stay close to home for the work or figure out how to stay out of state until you are recovered.

Robert Kearney, MD, FACS
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Traveling for cosmetic surgery

This is always an issue when traveling hundred or thousands of miles from home for cosmetic surgery.   In my practice this is handled on a case by case basis.  I usually request the operative report and information so that I can contact the surgeon especially if there is a complication that requires intense follow up visits.  I certainly would not pick a plastic surgeon based only on before and after photos.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Out of state post operative care

If your preferred surgeon is only an hour or two away that may not be an issue. But if that surgeon is a plane ride or very long car ride away I would have some concern. Yes, most of the time all will be well, but if not you set yourself up for a difficult situation. Just when you might need extra attention you may feel abandoned. 

Do discuss a "back up" plan with the out of state surgeon before you proceed.


Ann F. Reilley, MD (retired)
Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Out of state follow-up care

I have a lot of patients that come from out of state and go home soon after their procedure.  If a patient has a problem and needs to be seen, I personally will call plastic surgeons that I know in the patient's hometown.  If I don't know anyone there, I call whichever PS the patient prefers, to try to see if they will see my patient as a courtesy.   Understandably, most are reluctant to see someone else's complications, but if I call, they usually are OK with it.   I typically cover the costs of that visit.  It's very important that you discuss these issues in advance with your PS before you undergo surgery.

Victor Ferrari, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 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.