Medical tourism, the practice of combining a vacation abroad with medical treatment, is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 750,000 Americans travel abroad annually for medical care — many of them seeking plastic surgery.
Medical tourism is popular for several reasons, most notably that treatment costs are lower and waiting lists are shorter. However, is saving a little bit of money and time worth the risks?
Dr. Himansu Shah, a Las Vegas plastic surgeon at Signature Institute of Aesthetic Sculpting, does not think so. He urges anyone considering medical tourism to consider the possible risks.
Quality Of Care Cannot Be Guaranteed
Every surgical procedure, including plastic surgery, presents some risks. One of the ways to minimize these risks is to work with a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon with many years of real-world experience. Unfortunately, plastic surgeons in other countries are not held to the same stringent professional standards as surgeons in the U.S. Also, the surgical facilities may not be up to code, and, as the CDC warns, medications dispensed after surgery could be counterfeit or of poor quality.
Potential Barriers To Communication
Clear communication between doctor and patient is critical to a safe, successful surgical experience, especially when discussing pre- and post-operative instructions and patient allergies. If the patient is not fluent in the doctor’s language, or vice versa, and there is not a staff member available to translate, important pieces of information could get lost in translation.
The Realities Of Recovery
Some patients imagine they will recover while sunning themselves on a beautiful beach with a tropical cocktail in hand. The reality is that a patient’s energy levels and range of motion are initially limited right after a surgical procedure. The treated area is usually wrapped in bandages and possibly supportive compression garments. The treated area should not be exposed to the sun for several weeks, or it could scar. Sunbathing, sightseeing and tourist activities are generally discouraged during recovery.
Traveling Raises Post-Surgical Risks
Taking a long flight soon after surgery could raise the risk of developing pulmonary embolism or blood clots, both of which are potentially life-threatening conditions. When a patient suffers a post-operative medical emergency while traveling or once back home, he or she must find a new doctor to coordinate care and address any complications.
Experience World-Class Care At Signature Institute Of Aesthetic Sculpting
Safe, affordable plastic surgery care can be found much closer to home. The Signature Institute of Aesthetic Sculpting is one of Las Vegas’s leading plastic surgery practices, and the home of renowned board certified plastic surgeon Himansu Shah. Dr. Shah is known not only for the quality of his surgical results, but also for his compassionate, attentive approach to patient care.
Browse Dr. Shah’s gallery of before-and-after photos to see examples of his work, or read his patient testimonials to get a better idea of his approach.