Tummy tuck medical tourism

Cosmetic tourism isn’t worth it.

Why would you travel out of your region? You have an array of excellent plastic surgeons in your community. Should you decide to get your procedure elsewhere, if anything were to go wrong with your procedure that would require the services of a local plastic surgeon, rest assured you will be charged full price for their care, as they did not cause the problem.

If you had the procedure done locally anything requiring attention would likely be included in the original price, or at a fraction of the regular cost. So too, if you needed to go to the emergency room, there is the possibility insurance wouldn’t cover the visit, as the cosmetic procedure was not considered “medically necessary” (William A. Wallace, MD, FACS, Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon)

Hidden Costs of Medical Tourism

Tummy tuck out of US medical tourism picture

While there are competent Plastic Surgeons outside the U.S. offering attractively priced vacation packages, there are often hidden considerations that an informed consumer must be aware of.

It is very difficult for the average consumer to accurately the best surgeon for them when travelling. A lack of knowledge about credentialing bodies and standards that are not uniform is one issue.

Standards of care can vary from country to country as well as regulatory oversight even though standards are well established. Travel in and of itself is a risk factor for deep venous thrombosis which can be a serious consideration when having more extensive body contouring procedures.

Most complications after surgery such as infections, seromas, or healing problems tend to become an issue about two weeks after surgery.

Image of tummy tuck surgery cosmetic tourism

Most package programs do not keep their patients around beyond that point. This can lead to patients having to deal with complications without a trained Plastic Surgeon to care for them. You may be tempted to go to the ER or primary care physician so that your insurance will cover the costs of your complication, but that may not be in your best interests. Specialty training is important when managing complications of cosmetic surgery. Some insurance companies may also deny coverage for the complication because it stemmed from a cosmetic operation leaving you with a large hospital bill. All of these costs tend to add up making that great package deal not so attractive. Consider consulting with a couple of surgeons in your area until you find someone you have a good rapport with. Check their credentials and their experience delivering the kind of care you are seeking. Also consider purchasing insurance such as Cosmetassure which covers postop complications up to 30 days after a cosmetic procedure. The old adage “buyer beware” definitely applies in this case. (Robert F. Centeno, MD, FACS, Columbus Plastic Surgeon)

What is normal procedure for aftercare of surgery out of state/country?

Abdominoplasty medical tourism aftercare

Traveling to other countries for plastic surgery can be risky. Please consult with board certified plastic surgeons in the US before leaving the country. You must do thorough research on the surgeon’s websites. (German Newall, MD, Houston Plastic Surgeon)

I urge you to reconsider your plans. What you are describing is medical tourism, and it is becoming a real problem here in the United States. Medical tourism is when you leave the country to go have Plastic Surgery (tummy tuck, etc) because you have found a surgeon who will perform your surgery at a much cheaper rate.Two major problems here:

  1. You have no idea the level of training of the surgeon who will be performing your surgery, which can easily result in horrible results and more importantly, devastating complications
  2. You will need to travel home and you will have no guidance or postoperative follow up appointments, which is absolutely essential to you achieving optimal aesthetic results

Photo of tummy tuck cosmetic tourism

No, your insurance will NOT cover complications, hospitalizations, ER visits, or the fees a Plastic Surgeon in the United States will charge in order to take you on as a patient. If you have a complication that needs surgery, you are paying out of pocket for that as well. Plus, you might find it exceedingly difficult to find a Plastic Surgeon that is even willing to see you due to legal ramifications. My advice to you is to find a Plastic Surgeon close to your home. There are many excellent board certified Plastic Surgeons in Columbus, Ohio. There really is no reason why you should even need to leave the state of Ohio for your surgery. Patient safety and surgical expertise is key here. Don’t sacrifice that for a bargain, you very well might regret it! I hope this sheds some light on things for you.  (Jason M. Petrungaro, MD, FACS, Munster Plastic Surgeon)

That is the problem with going out of the country. Follow up can be tricky. Be sure to see some plastic surgeons in the US before deciding to head out of the country. I hope this helps. (Bryson G. Richards, MD, Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon)