Is it true that you can sometimes travel to have cheaper surgery?

breast reduction highly needed but cannot afford

Doctor Answers 7

There is always someone cheaper...

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but before you pack your bags, make sure the surgeon is a good one and that your surgeon will take care of your problems and you have the time and ability to travel back to the office should anything occur.  I don't blame anyone for pursuing better prices but before you leave, consider checking with the local doctors to see if anyone is willing to match that fee. 

Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Medical tourism

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Traveling might be cheaper but it certainly isn't safer.  Who will take care of you in the event of a complication?  What are those travel expenses and how will the bottom line be affected if you need to fly back to wherever for secondary surgery?  In the United States, physicians are licensed, board certified and operate in regulated facilities.  My office OR is accredited by the Joint Commission, the same body that certifies hospitals throughout the country.  Will an OR, anesthesiologist or surgeon be similarly regulated overseas.  My office receives too many calls from patients who have gone overseas and returned with open wounds, complications and poor results. 

You travel for a cheaper and good quality surgery.

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Sure, you can travel to another country to have a surgery not only cheaper but also a safe and high-quality results surgery. I work in the Dominican Republic and have operated patients from all over the world with very good results. 

Manuel Marte, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon

Medical tourism is high risk

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It is true that you can have discount plastic surgery by traveling overseas especially to the Dominican Republic.

Kevin Tehrani, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

CHEAPER surgery?

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Yes, you can travel to other countries where there are well trained surgeons.  If you have a complication it could cost you a fortune.  Surgery is for a lifetime, it cannot be undone.  My advice: wait until you can afford it and then get it done by the best person possible.  You may be able to buy another car or trip or dress but you cannot buy another body

Jeffrey Ditesheim, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Is it true that you can sometimes travel to have cheaper surgery?

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Yes, but it might not be cheaper in the long run. Surgeons and their facilities are not well regulated in many countries, so you don't really know if you'll be getting a well trained and conscientious doctor or not. Also your xurgery fee includes all follow up care and care of complications. If you have complications, and they can be severe, you will either have to pay local rates for care or fly back and forth to your doctor. We have all seen this far too many times.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Cannot put a price on your body

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I would highly recommend doing extensive research before choosing your surgeon for your procedure.  You never want to look for a "bang for your buck."  There is a lot of questions you should be asking your surgeon to know that you are in the hands of someone who will give you not only the best results but also provide the safest surgery and best pre and post operative care for you! 

Print out this checklist and bring it to your plastic surgeon at the time of your consultation.
  1. What are your credentials? Are you Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
  2. How long have you been practicing plastic surgery?
  3. Does your doctor use a doctor anesthesiologist or a nurse anesthetist?
  4. How many procedures do you perform like this each year?
  5. Are there any exceptions to your license I need to know about? Are there any malpractice claims against you?
  6. What Hospitals do you have privileges at?
  7. Can you give me references of past patients
  8. May I see before and after photos of your work?
  9. Will surgery be performed in the hospital or a surgical Facility, and only by you or will another surgeon assist you?
  10. Is the Surgical Facility Accredited by the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities, or others such as AAAHC or JCAO?
  11. May I see the surgical suite? Or if in a hospital, can I tour?
  12. Explain the type of anesthesia that you will be using. Who will be administering it and what are his or her credentials?
  13. How are emergencies handled if problems occur?
  14. What type of implant do you use and what would you recommend for me?
  15. Does the FDA approve that particular implant or will I be part of a study?
  16. Can you explain the different types of implants and why you feel one will work better than the other in my case, for instance the differences between smooth, textured, round, shaped, high profile, low profile, adjustable, silicone or saline.
  17. Does a warranty cover the implants, and can you explain what that is? Will my surgery be covered by that warrant given the methods you will be using?
  18. Is the breast size I wish to be after surgery attainable and how do you determine how many cc’s will get me to that desired size? Do you use photos, sizers, or just your eye to determine this size?
  19. What about nipple size? Is nipple reduction possible after surgery if I choose to do that?
  20. Will I also need a lift to get my desired result? If so, what type of lift and where will my incisions be?
  21. What type of visible scaring will I expect to have after my surgery?
  22. What type of incision do you prefer to use, Inframammary, Periaerealor (also known as the Areola Incision), Armpit (axillary or transaxillary), or Navel (transumbilical or TUBA) and why?
  23. Do you use drains after surgery – if so, why? If not, why?
  24. How long will the surgery take?
  25. How will I feel when I awake?
  26. How much pain can I expect during the days and weeks after surgery and what medication do you use to control this? Do you recommend a pain pump?
  27. What will I need to buy for recovery, sports bra, ice packs, etc or is there any special garment I will need to wear during recovery such as a strap?
  28. Will I need assistance the first day or so after surgery or will I be able to care for myself?
  29. How long will it take for me to return to my normal activities such as driving, lifting, sex, returning to work, exercise?
  30. How long will it take for me to see the desired result? Will they look unnatural until then?
  31. How will the surgery affect existing stretch marks?
  32. Will the implants interfere with future mammograms?
  33. Will they interfere with pregnancy or nursing?
  34. What will be the long-term result of implants on my breast tissue? Will I have sagging like natural breasts?
  35. What about possible Implant Displacement-Bottoming out? Are you responsible for this and will you correct it and at what cost?
  36. Also address the issue of symmastia or bread loafing. Are you responsible for this? Will you correct it and again at what cost to me?
  37. I am currently taking _____________ (medication) Will there be any problems with the medication? Will my medications interact with anything I will need to take during recovery?
  38. Do you recommend massage after surgery? How is it done, and why?
  39. What are the risks of this surgery that I need to be aware of, such as loss of feeling in breasts or nipple sensitivity?
  40. Please explain capsular contracture to me and how common it is. How is it treated if it happens to me? Can it be avoided and, if so, how?
  41. What is rippling? Do you “overfill” or take other steps to avoid this?
  42. What about Hematoma (accumulation of blood at surgical site after skin incision is closed) or Seroma (collection of clear fluid that weeps into wound several days following surgery) are these common?
  43. How about more serious risks such as infection or skin death (necrosis)? Is this a common problem you see with your patients?
  44. What about granulomas (non-cancerous lumps)? Is this a concern?
  45. I’ve read that my period cycle may be thrown off a month or two? True?
  46. What about deflation and rupture rate? Knowing they will not last forever how long can I realistically expect them to last before needing to replace them?
  47. How much is the surgery and does that include your fee, implants, anesthesia, hospital charges and follow up visits?
  48. When is payment due, at pre-op visit? What is your policy if I chicken out? Refund?
  49. What happens if I am dissatisfied with the results in terms of appearance? Size? Is there a cost to fix or redo? What is your revision policy?
  50. How soon can we do surgery and will my consultation fee be deducted from the cost?

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.