Is Dominican Republic too risky for a plastic surgery? Considering tummy tuck and breast augmentation.

I am 29yo from Australia , I booked with dr Almonte in Dominican Republic on 21 Nov 2016 for a TT & BA, I paid the deposit , but now I am panicking to go ahead as I have been reading stories of women died in the Dominican while doing same surgery, everyone is warning me because they say they don't care that much about medical higene and stirlisation and lots of HIV and hepatitis infection over there. I am looking for advice please should I forget about it and do it somewhere safer or what?

Doctor Answers 7

Medical tourism

Overseas, particularly in Central America, there is no accountability and standards are considerably lower. In the US, we are highly regulated, are held to incredibly high standards, and are mandated by law and our professional organizations. Additionally, once you return home, who will you turn to for continuing care?  Both procedures require ongoing followup.  

Surgery in the D.R.

I never understand why people would want to travel to a third-world country with reduced medical quality standards compared to their home country, to have an elective surgery, and be treated by doctors and nurses that may not speak your language, then abandoned with a bare minimum of post-operative care.  

Doesn't sound like a winning recipe to me.  Surely your safety is worth staying closer to home, having your surgery done by a board-certified plastic surgeon, licensed anesthesia provider, in an accredited facility.

Surgery Overseas

Thank you for your question.  Surgery overseas can be an excellent option for results, experience, and value. That said, you definitely have to choose your surgeon correctly and make sure that he/she has the training and experience to meet your goals with absolute safety. In addition to finding the right surgeon you should look into the hospital and the rest of the medical team. Is the hospital accredited? Do they have modern facilities and supplies? Are the anesthesiologists licensed and accredited? Do they speak English well enough for you to communicate your concerns and needs?  Although I can't answer specifically about Dominican Republic, I can say that cosmetic surgery in Colombia represents an increasingly attractive option for consumers looking for the ultimate combination of quality, price, availability, service, enjoyment, and value. Prices for plastic surgery procedures can be very affordable, and often 30-50% less than in the United States and Europe. When done with a board certified surgeon, patients can save thousands of dollars on cosmetic procedures while providing all of the safety and quality that they would receive in top U.S. and European centers.  

Numerous factors help providers in medical tourist destinations reduce the costs of treatment. These include lower employee costs, less cost associated with malpractice litigation and insurance, decreased overhead and facility fees, and limited involvement of third party payers. These care alternatives can encompass a mini-vacation as well, and the superior value to healthcare consumers. The overall price is remarkably lower for a variety of cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in Colombia, even after including airfare, accommodation in a resort hotel, and 24-hour personal service. 

That said, you definitely have to choose your surgeon correctly and make sure that he/she has the training and experience to meet your goals with absolute safety.  Please don't settle for less than a Board Certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. 

I hope this was helpful. Thank you and best of luck!

Surgery abroad

Thank you for your question.

I would highly recommend that you have your surgery done in the US by a board certified plastic surgeon. This will reduce your chance of complications and health risks. If you go to a doctor in a foreign country such as the Dominican Republic, the quality of care and medical standards are lower. If you develop some type of complication after surgery you may not be able to travel all the way back to be examined by your original plastic surgeon. When it comes down to it, your health is more important than the cost. If cost is an issue, there are financing options that most practices offer such as Care Credit and you can apply easily online and set up monthly payment plans. Best of luck.
Sincerely,

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Board Certified ENT
Board Certified Plastic Surgery
Member of ASPS, ASAPS, ISAPS, The Rhinoplasty Society, AAFPRS, OTO/HNS, ASLMS, International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics & Science

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Bad idea.

Without making any specific commentary on your surgeon or facility in the Dominican Republic in the absence of first hand knowledge, your concerns are legitimate and well founded. Itinerant surgery is generally strongly discouraged, as it is discouraged to pick your surgeon based on cost. 

There are highly qualified plastic surgeons closer to your home, where there are state of the art facilities and standards that are followed by hospitals, etc. If cost is the issue, delay your surgery until you have saved enough to afford it. You cannot assign a price to your safety. Try to get your deposit back. Make up a good excuse.

Best of luck to you. 

Ram Kalus, MD
Mount Pleasant Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Tummy Tuck Surgery in Dominican Republic

There are many considerations other than what you mention for having surgery so far from home. Flying too soon after surgery increases chances of blood clots, and if you have a complication are you going to travel back to the DR or can you find a surgeon near you for follow up care? Will someone be traveling with you so that you do not need to carry heavy luggage? Medical tourism is popular, but saving money may come at a price! Good luck.

Miguel Delgado, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Is Dominican Republic too risky for a plastic surgery? Considering tummy tuck and breast augmentation.

Choose a board certified plastic surgeon who has done a ton of Tummy Tuck and has privileges to do this surgery at a local university hospital. This says his credentials have been checked out by fellow Drs. All surgeries carry risk, talk to your plastic surgeon and choose one wisely.


Many surgeons, including myself, offer online virtual consultations where you send us your photos and we can estimate the cost. I, like many surgeons, also offer free consultations so that you can be examined and given the most accurate quote possible. Please be mindful that the in person physical exam is the most important and could potentially alter your treatment plan.


tummy tuck and a vertical abdominoplasty. The appropriate procedure depends the amount and location of the excess skin. That's what your plastic surgeon will have to determine after the actual physical exam.


    The recommended BMI is less than 30. This is the recommendation of the American society of plastic surgery. The reason simply, is increased chance of complications. These include but limited to, pulmonary embolus, deep venous thrombosis, delayed wound healing and increase infection rate.




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.