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Thomas P. Sterry, MD

Cheap Plastic Surgery Abroad

Cheap plastic surgery abroad is an increasingly more common and an option that can seem very inviting to many patients.  It is amazing how inexpensive it can be to travel to a tropical country, enjoy your stay, and get cosmetic surgery performed all at the same time.  It must make one feel like a movie star.

But

What if something goes wrong?  Let’s not even get into what the cosmetic results will be.  Who exactly are the doctors that are willing to perform surgery for so little, and if they are so good, then why don’t they perform it here in the US for a higher fee?  Why is it so cheap elsewhere?  Oh, yes I know many of the doctors in these far away lands claim to have been trained here in the US at major institutions…are they Board Certified?  Why wouldn’t they choose to stay here and practice?  Can you verify their credentials the way you would before visiting a plastic surgeon in the United States?  Is it really just a matter of American doctors being “greedy” while these other folks are performing surgery as charity?  There is a lot to consider when you stop to think about it.

The truth is that performing surgery of any kind “the right way” is costly.  The US federal and state governments have a myriad of protections in place to be sure that patients are not hurt during their operations.  This includes an excessive number of regulations, licenses, inspections, and need for insurance – to the point where most physicians think we’ve become unreasonable.  However, safeguards are in place, and doctors are on the lookout for complications.  When a patient flies off for cheap plastic surgery abroad there are very few safeguards or assurances.  Even in the best of circumstances, if an unfortunate event occurs, who is going to take care of them?

I recently answered a question on a local blog site regarding a patient who had a tummy tuck performed in another country.  She developed a significant problem and now is looking for help here in the US.  This is going to be difficult.  She feels lost, and with few options.  It’s a terrible situation.

 

Cheap Plastic Surgery Abroad

Cheap Plastic Surgery Abroad

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the original surgeon would like to help her through this awful time, but she is apparently a plane ride away from whatever island or country this was done in.   And this problem happened weeks after the procedure.  So how long should she have stayed?  Even if the original operation was done exquisitely well, problems can happen.  If such a thing would have happened in the US with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon (which is unlikely), she would have a doctor and a hospital (as is required) to take care of her.  In this scenario, I had to tell her to do dressing changes and go try to find Dr. Arthur Shektman for help.  To make matters worse, physicians in America will be hesitant to get involved because she is prone to more trouble like infections, and they won’t want to be held responsible for the resulting issues.  But let’s say she gets help, and the wound heals.  She will be left with a fairly unfavorable scar that will be in need of revision.  So, the revision is going to have an expense as well.

Cheap plastic surgery abroad may not be so cheap after all.  It could also be more dangerous, even in the best of hands.

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Dr. Thomas P. Sterry

Thomas Sterry, MD, is a board-certified New York City plastic surgeon with over a decade of experience. At his inviting, boutique-style practice in Manhattan, he focuses on each patient's unique needs and aesthetic goals so that he can provide the most attractive and natural-looking outcomes possible.

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