Every day, the media bombards us with images of the perfect body. There’s increasing pressure to have Kim Kardashian’s impressive booty, Eva Mendez’s breasts and Megan Fox’s 22-inch waist. Getting the perfect face and figure can be expensive, so it’s no surprise that many women—and even men— are combining business with pleasure and setting sail for cheap plastic-surgery hotspots, like Thailand and the Dominican Republic.
If you’re seriously considering cut-price surgery, it’s important that you’re fully aware of the risks involved. Let’s take a look at just a few of the hidden risks of plastic surgery tourism.
- Overseas surgery is not as stringently regulated
Plastic surgery is never completely risk free. Even routine procedures like tummy tucks and liposuction can be dangerous if not done properly. As you’ll see in this article by a Seattle-based tummy tuck specialist, the procedure needs to be customized and involves many steps, beginning with a thorough consultation. The U.S. has strict regulations, ensuring that surgeons practice due diligence and are accountable for any unexpected complications. If you’re getting your surgery done overseas, the health and safety practices may be significantly more lax, putting you at risk of infection.
- Compensation for botched surgery is a legislative nightmare
If you choose to get plastic surgery done overseas and (as is commonly the case!) it doesn’t work out the way you’d like it to, getting compensation can be a nightmare. Be aware that your travel insurance will not shell out money for elective surgery complications. Additionally, even if the clinic you used offers to do a free revision, you may be expected to pay for rescheduled flights and extra nights in a hospital bed. Before you know it, you’ll be out hundreds of dollars with nothing to show for it.
- Aftercare and complications cannot be addressed by your surgeon
Even if your plastic surgery is completed without a hitch, you need to consider what you’re going to do if complications arise once you return home. If your new breast implants rupture, shift or become infected, it will be up to you to pay for treatment and revisions. This treatment may be covered by your medical insurance, but will probably cause your premiums to skyrocket as a result.
Also, keep in mind that no two doctors complete an operation exactly the same way. Your U.S. physician doesn’t know exactly what processes your previous doctor undertook, which will make it more difficult for him or her to treat you safely.
- You cannot build a rapport with your surgeon before surgery
A big part of getting a good result from plastic surgery is finding a surgeon you have a rapport with. Your surgeon should make you feel comfortable, be able to explain the risks and guide you through the decision-making process. When you choose to get an operation from an overseas clinic, it’s not uncommon to meet your surgeon for the first time on the day of the procedure. Worse still, language barriers can make it challenging to communicate the results you’re looking for. You could ask for a Keira Knightley nose and end up with a Barbra Streisand!
- Long plane trips post-surgery can be deadly
One risk that many plastic surgery tourists forget about is the trip home. If you’re traveling to Thailand or even the Dominican Republic, you can expect a long-haul plane ride home. For patients who’ve just had surgery, there is generally an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis. This risk is doubled for overweight patients and smokers. Complications of DVT include leg ulcers and potentially fatal pulmonary embolisms.
In some cases, you really do get what you pay for. Plastic surgery tourism is still a dangerously unregulated area that may leave your gambling with your life. For safer, more effective results, find a local plastic surgeon with a good reputation and a bedside manner you’re comfortable with.