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By Katie Perry
American women seeking breast augmentation are often tempted by overseas cosmetic surgery packages, which promise inexpensive surgical fees and the opportunity to recuperate in a tropical paradise. As a result, medical tourism has become a booming business in countries like Thailand, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, and India. While the allure of cheap surgery and exotic locales may be enticing to women seeking breast augmentation, there are a number of potential dangers to consider, including:
— Scheduling a procedure with an unqualified surgeon – Some surgeons in other parts of the world are not required to have specialized training to perform certain procedures. This can be problematic for patients seeking breast augmentation, and more so for patients who plan to undergo additional procedures, such as tummy tucks, thigh lifts, or liposuction. Additionally, there is a risk that poor quality breast implants will be used. In the U.S., implant manufacturing and usage are closely monitored by the Food and Drug Administration and only the safest implant models are approved for breast augmentation purposes.
— Recuperating far from home for an extended period of time – Most American plastic surgeons recommend that patients avoid strenuous activity, bending, and lifting for at least five days or more following breast augmentation. Additionally, some surgeons suggest that patients wait at least 10 days after surgery before flying. This means a patient undergoing a procedure overseas must budget enough time to recuperate properly, which may be difficult when considering work and other obligations at home. Furthermore, should complications arise during this time, a patient could incur additional out-of-pocket expenses for treatment.
— Determining a course of action if complications develop at home – If complications occur once a patient has returned home, she may have difficulty funding an additional trip back to the country where the original breast augmentation was performed. Additionally, finding a local doctor willing to treat complications caused by an overseas operation may be even more difficult, largely for legal reasons. In cases where a patient is able to secure the help of a local surgeon and corrective breast augmentation is required, the final overall cost will likely be much higher than the cost of having an American surgeon perform the augmentation in the first place.
Additional concerns include dealing with language barriers, risking poor wound healing due to excessive sun and alcohol exposure, and having little to no legal recourse in foreign countries. Patients should also consider that the risk for complications such as infection, excessive bleeding, and deformity may be heightened when cosmetic procedures are performed abroad. Additionally, the chance of fully recovering from those complications may be slimmer, depending on the skill, experience, and availability of medical personnel in that location.
Health & Safety Comes First
Based on the high level of risk for developing complications and the potential to pay exorbitant out-of-pocket costs to treat those issues, patients should avoid seeking breast augmentation procedures in other countries. To ensure the least amount of risk and for the best overall results, patients should seek out a highly experienced plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Board certified surgeons are held to stringent educational, medical, ethical, and moral standards and promise to provide a high level of patient care.
About the Author: Katie Perry is an online content editor in the Tampa Bay area. She posts articles about plastic surgery topics and procedures including
, breast implants, and more.