Is your passport ready for plastic surgery abroad?

Is your passport ready for plastic surgery abroad?
Is your passport ready for plastic surgery abroad?

Choosing to have plastic surgery abroad may seem appealing if the prices are lower, but choosing to have cosmetic enhancements across the border may affect more than your health. While there is a wealth of surgeons that are members of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, patients should be sure to consider all the factors before having their surgery in another country. 

In addition to medical considerations - such as paying for room and board or a hospital stay during recovery - people must also consider how plastic surgery may affect their passport photos, as some travelers to South Korea have been denied reentry to their home countries due to discrepancies in their appearances.

People seeking surgery in South Korea have run into several issues when trying to get back home, the International Business Times reported. While cosmetic operations are popular among citizens of the country, South Korea also sees a relatively high amount of medical tourism for cosmetic surgeries. The source noted that people who come to the country for surgery sometimes receive facial procedures that alter their bone structure to the point that they are unrecognizable in their passport photos. Some patients may be pleased with this result, but those who wish to return to their home countries must receive a medical certificate to verify their identities.

China Daily reported that 23 Chinese women were stopped in one day at the Shanghai airport in 2009 when their physical appearances differed drastically from those featured on their passports. Officials had to spend extra time checking identification papers, medical releases and visual exams. 

Some surgeries may not alter one's face to the point that they do not resemble their official IDs, such as passports and licenses, but people who receive plastic surgery are urged to upgrade their papers if the difference is noticeable. Travelers who undergo procedures with ISAPS-member surgeons abroad should be sure to procure a medical certificate, then update their documents upon returning to the U.S.