Will or Can Another Doctor Provide After Care in the US for Sugery, You May Have Had Done Overseas?

I'm thinking about going to the Dominican Republic for surgery and would like to know if by chance, Being a diabetic type 2 I develope some kind of complication or infection , will a doctor here in the us treat me or will I have to fend for myself?

Doctor Answers 11

Surgical tourism is a bad idea!

You are at slightly increased risk for complications being a diabetic, and traveling after surgery increases your risk of a blot clot, which can sometimes be fatal. I'm not trying to rain on your surgical "vacation" plans, but there is no conceivable reason to travel overseas for "bargain" surgery, return home, and hope there will be someone here to deal with some other surgeon's complications, should they occur.

The supposed savings are not worth the risks, and when you have a complication is NOT the time to be searching for a plastic surgeon who will be willing to care for you, not to mention asking him or her to try to "figure out" exactly what was done and how your surgical course went post-operatively having never seen you until the time of a problem!

There are too many cases of patients who have asked what to do here on RealSelf when a problem develops in exactly the scenario you are contemplating, sometimes serious and potentially life-threatening ones. Please reconsider; there are plenty of good surgeons in your area whose total cost is far less than your surgical trip plus even one return visit or hospitalization for even a "small" complication! A tummy tuck is a "big" operation that needs careful followup, drain care, and recheck visits, even when everything goes perfectly! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Complications from surgery abroad

Many plastic surgeons will help if you develop problems.  I have seen several patients in that situation, and all had poor work done.  It is difficult to do your research well regarding surgeons overseas - patients beware.

David A. Lickstein, MD
Palm Beach Gardens Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Finding A Plastic Surgeon To Take Care Of An Overseas Surgery Problem

If you have surgery overseas and develop a complication back here in the states, you can expect to find a plastic surgeon who will take care of you...but it may not easy and it will be expensive. Most cases I have seen end up in the local emergency room where they will be referred to a plastic surgeon who is willing to take them. While the risk of this happening may be low, depending on the procedure being performed, your costs to take care of a complication will likely exceed any cost savings from overseas. 

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Travel abroad for cosmetic surgery is risky

Traveling abroad to undergo a surgical procedure is risky, and if you have a problem after you return home it may be difficult and expensive to have it taken care of.  Many plastic surgeons, myself included, generally recommend that you get followup care from the surgeon who performed the initial operation.  Your operating surgeon is the best person to manage complications, as he or she knows exactly what was done at the time of surgery.  If you travel abroad for surgery, it may be difficult or impossible to return to your original surgeon for care.  In that case, you may wind up in your local hospital emergency room for treatment of complications, which could wind up costing a lot more than the cosmetic surgery itself! 

Pamela B. Rosen, MD
Coral Springs Plastic Surgeon
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Do your homework before having plastic surgery overseas

Thre are many talented plastic surgeons around the world, and if you are seriously considering having cosmetic surgery overseas I would recommend confirming that your plastic surgeon is a member of ISAPS, the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. This indicates that they adhere to widely recognized standards. Sometimes there are contractual arrangements with a plastic surgeon in the U.S. for follow-up care but this is not common, and you are at risk for significant additional expenses. Given your diabetes you are also at higher risk for complications.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

After Care in the US for Surgery

You are at added risk for complications of your planned surgery, and you will likely find it difficult and expensive to find post-op care. One visit to an emergency room can cost well above the amount of savings you are anticipating. 

You may know something about the doctors and the clinic you are planning to see, most such travellers do not, and have no idea what level of extra risk they are taking. 

Think hard about seeing a plastic surgeon in your area. RealSelf has listings of surgeons in your area. You should consider cross referencing the listings from the The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (plasticsurgery dot org). A listing in the ASPS website assures you that your surgeon is not only board certified,  but also is a member in good standing of the major plastic surgery organization in the U. S.

Thank you for your question, best wishes.

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

Surgery overseas

I would be very cautious prior to having surgery abroad.  That being said, few if any US plastic surgeons will be willing to assist with your post-operative complications following cosmetic surgery abroad.  Your only recourse would be going to a local ER and hoping that there is a plastic surgeon on-call who is willing to assist.  Let the buyer beware!  Best of luck.

Overseas surgery

You are considering undergoing surgery in another country and are already trying to figure out what to do if you have complications when you get back to the US? I have a great idea.  Just have the surgery done in the good old US of A and you won't have to worry about dealing with that issue at all.  I will never understand why people will go to another country and take those risks just to save a little money.  It's not worth it!

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Outside USA surgery and follow up in USA


  Not a smart thing to do.  You will not be able to check credentials accurately and your follow up has higher risk of complications.

  Is it really...REALLY...worth the price?   There will be a plastic surgeon who will follow you but this is not the best introduction to your care in the USA.

               Steven M. Lynch, M.D.

Steven M. Lynch, MD
Albany Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Overseas Tummy Tuck

Bad idea.  Third world country to have surgery and save money.  If you have a complication the expense will likely outweigh any money that you saved.  How can you be sure that they do not cut corners to cut cost.  I suspect most surgeons a gaurded about taking on a problem just after having had surgery by another surgeon because they do not know what or how things were done, at least if it was a US doc they can be contacted for records etc.



John Paletta, MD
Savannah Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 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.