Many people travel abroad to enjoy a bit of vacation time or to conduct business. Since the US is a country full of highly trained medical professionals, you might not think that overseas travel for surgical procedures, such as a facelift, would hold much appeal. But medical tourism, or traveling to another country to have a procedure performed, has been a popular option for many years now.
Despite warnings from doctors and medical boards, people still travel for surgery every year. The big draw is often the lower price in the other countries. In some cases, the procedure can be as much as 75 percent cheaper, meaning a patient can save quite a bit, even after the cost of airfare and accommodations are factored in. Saving money may be attractive, but in many cases, the money you save on the surgery will quickly become costly when you consider the risks involved.
Standards Are Different
When it comes to plastic surgery and medical treatments, every country has slightly different standards. In the US, for example, you’re always encouraged to choose a surgeon who is board certified and who has plenty of experience performing the surgery you’ve decided to have. You can easily verify that a surgeon is who he or she claims to be by checking his or her credentials with the appropriate medical board and by confirming with the medical school or residency program. It’s a bit more difficult confirm the qualifications of overseas doctors, as you might not know what they are or know if a board actually operates in that country.
In Person Consultation Is Less Likely
Before any plastic surgery, you should consult with the surgeon to discuss what you want and whether or not the surgeon can provide it. During the first consultation, the surgeon will also confirm that you’re in good enough health for surgery and go over anything you need to do to prepare for it.
If you decide to travel internationally, you will likely miss out on that first consultation, or if you do have one, it will take place very close to the time of surgery. You might feel less inclined to back out, even if alarm bells go off in your head, as you’ve already taken the time to travel there.
Post-Surgery Can Be Problematic
When you have plastic surgery performed in your home state or at least your home country, your surgeon is right there to provide assistance should you have any questions or complications afterwards. Even if you feel great after the procedure, it’s usually recommended that you see the doctor for a follow-up appointment a week afterwards and then again a few months later
Follow-up can be tricky when you travel internationally. Unless you can afford to fly back, you may never see that doctor again. You can arrange for follow-up appointments over the phone or using something like Skype, but they won’t be as in-depth or as personal as an in-person visit. The surgeon won’t be able to clearly see the thing that concerns you and won’t be able to provide the best recommendations.
Getting Back Home Can Be Risky
After surgery, it’s usually recommended that you wait a few weeks before flying again. That can mean you’ll need to spend two weeks or more in the country where you had surgery. While that can be relaxing, you’ll also need to pay for a hotel or rest facility during your recovery. Since you shouldn’t be on your own right after surgery, you’ll also want to have a loved one stay with you during that time.
Flying after a facelift can put you at risk for pulmonary embolism or leg clots. You can reduce these risks by waiting to fly and by walking around the airplane every few hours during the flight.
Financing Domestic Surgery
If the cost of surgery is the main reason you are considering leaving the country, keep in mind that many domestic plastic surgery practices give you the option of financing the procedure. Financing options often include interest-free payment plans. If you are able to pay the balance within a certain amount of time, you don’t have to pay any interest.
When thinking about a facelift, safety should be your most important consideration. Don’t put your life in danger to save a few dollars.
With practices in Maryland and Virginia, specialist Dr. Jessica Kulak is happy to answer any questions you have about the facelift procedure, the cost and safety concerns. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kulak, call (703) 481-0002 in Virginia or (301) 222-2020 in Maryland.