How Far from Home Should I Travel to Find a Dr. for a Tummy Tuck?

and any other type of plastic surgery.

Doctor Answers 15

Plan on staying for 8-10 days for Tummy Tuck out of state

There are good board certified plastic surgeons in every state. However, if you find a surgeon that you prefer who is out of state, that is fine, just plan on staying in the area for 8-10 days.

Patients frequently come to my practice from out of state and out of country. We insist that they fill out a health questionaire ahead of time and have their primary care doctors communicate with me in writing about their health status and whether they are safe to have surgery.

Patients are examined in my office the day before surgery for a complete physical and pre op testing, as I prefer they not fly the day before surgery.

Surgery is done on the second day. My patients either stay in the hospital overnight or at a hotel near my office. We do have nurses that are available to visit the patient in the hotel, but patients also come to my office the day after surgery.

I prefer that tummy tuck patients stay in this area for a week after surgery before they fly home.

Traveling for plastic surgery

Surgeons with national or international reputations treat patients primarily from other states and countries. Generally patients should seek a board certified plastic surgeon in their region as this will be more economical and practical. If however they seek a particular surgeon or a unique technique, they may prefer to travel.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 177 reviews

It isnot hwo far you travel, but how long do you stay near your doctor


Travel ling for a good plastic surgeon is very common, as many patients have limited access to plastic surgeons. What is more important is how long you stay near the plastic surgeon you choose. Complications are more likely to be identified in the first week after surgery, but it does not mean you are free and clear after that.

In our Santa Rosa plastic surgery practice, tummy tuck patients have traveled from as far as Hawaii, which is a 6 hour flight away. Whenever you travel like that, you probably have a slightly higher risk of a venous thrombosis, so we ask that our patients not travel the day before their surgery.

After surgery, it is important that you stay close by. How long a period of time depends on the procedure and i would ask your chosen board-certified plastic surgeon that question. My guess is they would say at least one full week and preferably longer.

Being closer to home has its advantages as friends and family members will be closer to help take care of you. However, if you must travel, plan carefully and discuss it at length with your surgeon of choice. Best of luck.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Distance is not the problem

The most important thing is to find a surgeon that is trustworthy and experienced. Everything else will fall into place. Such a doctor will not want to put you in jeopardy so he will lay downthe ground rules by which he can perform your surgery safely. A reptuable surgeon will not do surgery and then pack you on a plane to fend for yourself. Certainly traveling to a foreign country when there are such well-trained surgeons in the States is irrational.

It depends on the degree of tummy tuck and if you are talking about plane flights or road travel. We have patients from Asia, the Middle East and Europe who come in for various surgeries including body contouring procedures. They invariably stay quite local for about a week post-op and then may recuperate close by for a few more days depending on how they are doing. If they have adequate and experienced surgeons to follow-up with, they may be ready to return within 7-14 days but they all know that if they are not ready to travel and are not stable, they must commit to continued care with me. Obviously, the closer to home the better and the less potential further expense to you.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

It depends on where you live

First of all, I absolutely would not recommend going out of the country for cosmetic surgery. As has been stated many times before, nobody will want to see you or take care of your problems or complications once you come back.

I personally have many patients come from Alaska, Oregon, Eastern Washington and Idaho for cosmetic surgery including tummy tucks because they feel that they will get the best care available. We have always been able to work out the logistics of this nicely. I don't know how many Board Certified Plastic Surgeons are in your nearby vicinity, but if the number is limited and you are not confident in the ones who are there, by all means do travel to one of the major Texas cities and pursue your care there.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

How far to travel for your surgery?

The time frame for major complications is most critical in the first two weeks to assess for bleeding or infection. Therefore it is wise to be in close proximity to your surgeon during this time period.

There are other reasons, you should look for a surgeon closeby. For example, many surgeons still use drains. Sometimes these need to remain in place for an extended period of time. Who will remove it if it needs to remain in place for 3 weeks.

What if you have a wound healing problem with your umbilicus? Will your surgeon be able to manage it from a distance or reassure you without seeing you? Do you have a local surgeon who is willing to take on your care in case of complications?

These are numerous issues to take into consideration especially as medical tourism becomes an ever increasingly more popular option.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Traveling for plastic surgery

We have a number of patients who are from out of state and out of country. However, the one requirement is that they need to stay long enough to provide appropriate postoperative care.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Find a doctor you trust and have good rapport with

The most important thing is to find a doctor that you trust, and have a good rapport with. One who listens to your concerns and performs the technique that you think works best for you. There are a large number of qualified, excellent plastic surgeons in your area. Find the one that is right for you.

My advice as to techniques is to get a High Lateral Tension Abdominoplasty - created by Dr. Ted Lockwood. I find that it makes the best , most natural results.

Good Luck.

Robert M. Freund, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

As far as it takes

Deciding to undergo plastic surgery or any surgery for that matter is a very important decision that should not be taken lightly.

In our practice, we see patients from all over the country. We occasionally even see patients that come from Europe and Asia.

The important thing is to find a qualified surgeon and plan to stay in the local area for a few days after the surgery to make sure everything is healing properly. You may also plan to return for follow-up visits at some point in the future.

Believe it or not, some people travel to third world countries to save money on their surgeries. The problem is that even though they may find a good surgeon, the facilities and technology are far from what we take for granted here in the USA.

Furthermore it may be difficult to verify the credentials of a doctor in another country.

I have seen several patients who had surgery overseas and returned with devastating complications. Sometimes it results from bad surgery, and other times, it is due to the fact that there is no availability of simple things like antibiotics or diagnostic equipment (such as CT scan, etc.)

As mentioned, patients initially go overseas to save money. But when they return, they are willing to spend everything they have to correct the problems. Unfortunately, sometimes the damage is irreversible.

Good luck with your surgery.

A. Peter Salas, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Your community or nearest metro area probably has qualified surgeons.

As a surgeon, I would suggest you do research. Talk to any other patients you know that had plastic surgery. Talk to your primary care doctor. ObGyn doctors often hear and see a lot of results from tummy tucks, breast procedures, etc. They may be very helpful. If you know nurses, ask their opinions. These methods give you personal input.

Other choices include the referral services of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons ( and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons ( These will both provide names of board-certified plastic surgeons. Your county medical society may have a referral service. Ask about experience, credentials, etc.

Some unusual procedures may not be available nearby, but tummy tuck is commonly done by aesthetic plastic surgeons.

Sutton Graham II, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 5 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.