Plastic Surgery Domestically or Overseas?

I am considering rhinoplasty and a bit of facial contouring. I am based out of new york where prices are at a premium for these services, hence that is why i cam considering going to asia for the procedures. I am just concerned about the followup and post op. what would be the best option

Doctor Answers 10

Plastic Surgery Overseas

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Thank you for your question!  One must think twice before traveling abroad for plastic surgery.  Here are some reasons why you should think twice about traveling for your cosmetic surgery:
•Follow-up care may be unavailable. Problems, most often minor, which require surgical revisions or other treatment, are always a possibility, so it is important that your surgeon is accessible. Most doctors are reluctant to handle problems, even minor ones, of surgeries they did not perform, particularly if they are unsure what techniques were used initially.
•Both air travel and major surgery increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a pulmonary embolism. Flying soon, before or after your operation abroad, combines and compounds these risks, particularly if your overseas flight is long.
•Further, it’s not easy to evaluate your doctor’s credentials abroad, the surgical facility may not be safe, you may not be comfortable with a doctor you haven’t met, it’s hard to evaluate the standards for anesthesia and nursing care and key personnel may not be English speaking.
Hope this helps!

Maitland Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Best to have it at home

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It's always best to have your surgery performed by someone in your area, since you can then see them easily if a complication occurs. There's also less stress involved and medical standards are those that you're familiar with. I usually recommend patients stay at least 2 weeks after their surgery if they do come from out of town, then find a trusted PS in their area when they return to their town.

Medical Tourism Should Be Carefully Considered

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Thank you for your question.  You are correct in raising concerns regarding medical tourism. While there are qualified surgeons throughout the world, it is virtually impossible for someone from another country to fully vet the surgeon's credentials, experience and facility/practices. The lure of cosmetic surgery at low prices abroad has many hidden costs that are not always obvious.  Complications typically occur very early or late.  There will be an adittional cost and stress of finding someone to manage a complication once you return home.  There is also the cost of travel, food and lodging.  The lack of social support is another consideration.  Once all of these costs and considerations are added up, the cost of a rhinoplasty domestically is quite competitive.  It is also possible to have surgery in a neighboring city where costs may be more competitive than NYC.  Consider all of your options. Best wishes.

George Bitar, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Be very cautious - money is not everything!

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It seems the price is a major factor for many patients in choosing plastic surgeon for their procedures. I hear all the time about patients traveling overseas to seek help for a lower price. The problem is how we know after all about quality of care you will receive over there. Here in US you can go and meet with a surgeon, easily check the credentials, board certifications, accreditations of facilities where procedures take place. There are so many reviews on line about surgeons, their before and after photos and patients referrals. There must be a surgeon here at home who you are going to feel comfortable with to have your procedure done. After all it should be all at the end about receiving great results that suit your expectations. It is all about your body.  Do not forget about the follow up appointments and staying in touch with your surgeon while you need help and guidance through your recovery time. It is much harder to follow up with someone outside the country. It is really hard to answer many questions without being seen. And of course you have to add a cost of traveling overseas and spending some time there to be comfortable to go back home. With rhinoplasty procedure it takes one week to remove the external splint off your nose. On the other hand if you know a great surgeon oversees with lots of experience and you absolutely have the best recommendations, safe place to stay and time to recover why not. I have lots of patients coming to see me from overseas here in the United States.

Plastic surgery

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I think that you are always better off staying locally so that you can have proper post-op care.  Sometimes the extra cost is worth it.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Be Wary of Plastic Surgery Tourism

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Dear Aznrhino,

I would be very careful about traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery or any other medical procedure, for the following reasons:

1. The practice of cosmetic medicine is loosely regulated in most parts of the world, including the US. Standards for safety, cleanliness, and competence can be lacking. Although there are many highly qualified surgeons in other parts of the world, I have seen a significant number of patients with nightmare outcomes after traveling to Mexico, Asia, and South America in search of "cheap" plastic surgery. This is why choosing a qualified provider (Board Certified Plastic Surgeon or Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon) working in a safe, accredited facility (Hospital or Surgery Center certified by AAAASF, AAAHC, or JCAHO) is critical!

2. Successful surgery requires a close doctor-patient relationship. This includes proper preoperative counseling, a successful surgery experience, and meticulous postoperative care. Although the risk of complications is generally low, you will want to have access to your surgeon after surgery.

3. Price is always a real consideration, but cheaper is usually not better. Plastic surgery is a permanent, life altering activity. Do you want to put your life and your appearance in the hands of the "bargain basement?"

I hope this helps.

Warmest wishes,

Larry Fan, MD

Larry Fan, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Be very careful

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While it may be very tempting to go overseas (or even another part of the US) in an effort to find the best or lowest price, you are considering an invasive and life changing surgery on yourself.  Surgery is also just a part of the process and experience, and you should understand the relationship that you build with your physician throughout the process.  Although risk of complications are small, the operating surgeon is generally the best person to see you through that.  It is not like buying a car or a sofa overseas.  It is your life and you should not underestimate the importance of that.  Ultimately, go with your instincts and do your research.

Tito Vasquez, MD, FACS
Southport Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Medical tourism

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Traveling for surgery (medical tourism) is never a good idea, especially when it's overseas.  Unless you live in a remote area where the specific procedure you require is not available, I never recommend patients travel for surgery.  The travel costs can add up and if/when you have a complication, you will have to make frequent visits to your original surgeon, or find a new one who will undoubtedly charge you a pretty penny.  In addition, and more importantly, your safety could be at risk.  The United States has very stringent regulations and policies that all physicians must follow in order to ensure the highest quality of care.  Many countries do not have such policies in place that protect patients.  Therefore, you are entering into "unchartered territory" so to speak when you get on a plane in the hopes of saving a few bucks.  In the end, cheap is expensive and medical tourism is a prime example.

Elan B. Singer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Plastic Surgery Overseas is not recommended

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Dear Aznrhino,

I would highly recommend that you stay in the United States for your procedure. While there are some surgeons highly skilled throughout the world this is not something I advise. Being in Southern California I have had to fix my share of nightmare situations with patients who go across the San Diego border to Mexico for plastic surgery. I have a saying that "I  treat my patients as I do my family" and I would not let my family go abroad!!! Best regards, Michael V. Elam, M.D.

Michael Elam, MD
Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 218 reviews

Plastic Surgery Tourism

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Medical tourism for plastic surgery is never something I recommend, unless the patient is sure of the reputation of the surgeon and can spend part of the recovery period close to the surgeon.  Getting the best price should never be the primary focus.   If something happens in followup, and you are not close to your surgeon then you have a real problem.

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.