Plastic surgery abroad: Avoid a botched procedure

Plastic surgery abroad: Avoid a botched procedure
Plastic surgery abroad: Avoid a botched procedure

By Ron Robinson

Whenever I hear that someone has gone abroad to receive plastic surgery of any kind (tummy tucks, breast implants, facelift, the works) I automatically cringe. Mainly because those people flocked to another country without doing a large amount of research and decided on their surgeon due to the allure of cheaper rates. Cue horror story; a boat of tears; and sadly, some serious health issues and complications.

You think you’re saving money?
Is something as serious as invasive surgery worth risking your life to save a few bucks? You end up spending even more money to fix the damage that has been done. According to one board-certified physician, what he sees go wrong with many facial surgeries either done poorly here in the states or abroad are various complications including scarring (from hiding an incision poorly placed, most commonly seen in Mexico and South America), issues with symmetry (like the use of silicone or plastic for rhinoplasty in Asian countries), nerve weakness, and more.

But probably the most common plastic surgery mishap abroad has to deal with breast implants (one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures). Whether they were not placed properly or industrial-grade instead of medical-grade silicone was used, the cost of fixing those mistakes can weigh heavy on a person’s wallet and health. Last year, PIP implants from France were found containing lower-grade silicone that could lead to rupture or inflammation. These implants are not FDA-approved and cannot be used in the United States.

What about follow-up care?
According to an Orange County plastic surgeon, people think they are getting a good value for surgery overseas. What people have to keep in mind about plastic surgery is that it isn’t a one day ordeal. There are plenty of post-surgery visits to consider, if you want to heal properly and without infections.

“In my practice, patients are seen one day, one week, one month, and three months after surgery,” he explains. “This allows time for the doctor to assess them and make sure everything is progressing normally. It’s also the time for patients to ask the surgeon questions. This is possible over the phone, but the fact is you get more information when the surgeon is in front of you doing a live assessment.”

Opting for surgery done outside of your country means you won’t be able to follow-up with your surgeon easily, to ask questions, take care of any infections or use your insurance to cover the cost (if at all possible). You’re pretty much left on your own, hoping that nothing goes wrong, or paying more money to fly back and forth to consult with your surgeon. It just doesn’t seem worth it.

DIY is not an option
Botched plastic surgery doesn’t have to deal with just invasive procedures, but can involve non-invasive as well. One show that is bringing to light the dark side of plastic surgery is the Entertainment Channel’s (E!) new reality show, Botched, which gathers cautionary tales of bad plastic surgery and corrects them.

You’ve heard about the monolid, which many women from Asia wish to fix by having double eyelid surgery, but some are using eyelid tape or odd DIY contraptions Well, one woman on the show had a botched “eye westernization” procedure, then went one step further by purchasing fillers off the black market and administering them into her cheeks herself. If you haven’t seen the episode, you can imagine how concerned the doctors were.

Injecting the body with unknown substances can lead to horrifying results These stories are rampant in the US as well as outside the country, but since regulations and sanitary standards may differ from country to country, it’s best to be extra careful abroad.

Safety first
If you do decide to have plastic surgery abroad, remember that not all foreign surgery procedures are bad. You just have to do your research and ask yourself some simple questions before boarding that plane. Smart Beauty Guide has some great Guidelines for Cosmetic Surgery Abroad that can help you plan for a safe procedure and limit your risks.