Some savvy internet users may be able to find what seems like a low rate for a plastic surgery procedure abroad when compared to prices domestically, according to plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Yaremchuk. Still, there are problems with medical tourism, he says. Even if the price is cheaper, the old adage is true, he says—you get what you pay for.
While there are, of course, exceptions to the rule, going to a cheaper plastic surgeon will not always yield the results you would want. Often with a surgeon who charges less and is able to practice overseas, the training, expertise and experience are not what you would get with a board certified plastic surgeon.
While Yaremchuk admits only anecdotal evidence is available about patients who travel overseas for plastic surgery, it’s not all good news. In his own experience over the a three month period, Yaremchuk saw patients who had complications from previous plastic surgery procedures. Almost universally, he says, the patients did not know the qualifications of their original surgeon or of the facility where the procedure took place. This a one of the key problems with medical tourism—lax enforcement of qualifications.
In one recent study, over a two year period, eight American patients were infected with Mycobacterium abscessus after undergoing liposuction procedures in a Dominican Republic clinic. Conversely, over a five year period at a New York hospital, more than 230,000 patients underwent surgeries and no cases of the bacteria were reported.
While still just anecdotal evidence, these cases do present some of the problems with medical tourism being selected without proper research.
In order to make sure you are choosing the best practitioner for your plastic surgery, Yaremchuk offers a quick tip—make sure your plastic surgeon is certified by the ASPS or ASAPS. With proper training, experience and credentials, you can be assured you will come out of the surgery healthy and having met your aesthetic goals.