Learn why More People are Traveling Abroad for Cosmetic Surgery

Posted November 07, 2019
Why more people are traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery

The effects of the aging process show up on the face as the years go by for a person. Thankfully, patients have a variety of options available to them to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles and to achieve a refreshed and rejuvenated appearance to the facial features. In addition, patients like to address stubborn fat on the body using cosmetic surgery procedures such as fat transfer and liposuction. Even through there are many choices for cosmetic surgery available to patients, not everyone is in a financial position to afford their procedure of choice. One alternative method of achieving the results they desire is medical tourism which the process of travelling abroad to have a cosmetic procedure performed at a much lower price than the United States.

Medical Tourism Continues to Grow in Popularity

According to statistics released in 2017 from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, cosmetic surgery is a $16-billion dollar industry in the United States. It was reported that 17.5-million cosmetic and minimally invasive procedures were performed in 2017. While the United States has more cosmetic surgery procedures performed than any other country, the cost of visiting plastic surgeons and hospitals for cosmetic surgery in the United States is also the most expensive.

Patients that travel abroad for cosmetic surgery can save anywhere from 40\\\%-80\\\% on their plastic surgery of choice. The final discounted price depends on the procedure that is performed as well as the country where the cosmetic surgery is performed. Some of the most popular destinations for traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery include Brazil, Italy, India, Turkey, Mexico and France (according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery).

Medial tourism can include all types of procedures and this includes elective plastic surgery procedures, According to Patients Beyond Borders, medical tourism is growing at a worldwide rate of 15\\\%-25\\\%. In addition, the organization estimates that approximately 1.4-million American annually travel to other countries to have some type of cosmetic surgery performed to enhance or improve certain areas of their body.

Medical Tourism Drawbacks

Even through medical tourism continues to rise in popularity; there are some drawbacks to travelling abroad for plastic surgery.

A study in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery showed that some patients needed to return home after suffering from complications such as infections and wound healing problems after their surgery.

In addition, the cost of postoperative care is often not covered by the insurance of the patient which can turn into a financial issue for the person. In order to avoid post-op issues, patients need to perform research about their surgeon of choice to make sure the person is reputable and has a record of successful surgeries.

Popular Medical Tourism Procedures

When it comes to female patients and medical tourism, they most often travel abroad for breast augmentation as this is considered to be the most popular cosmetic procedure in the world according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS). Female patients also travel overseas to undergo:

Male patients that decide to use medical tourism to undergo cosmetic surgery have eyelid surgery performed the most followed by gynecomastia (male breast reduction), rhinoplasty, liposuction and hair transplant.

Preparing for Medical Tourism

Here are some of the most important steps patients should follow when preparing for a cosmetic procedure through medical tourism:

  • Before any patients decide to undergo a cosmetic procedure outside of the United States, they should look at the website of the ISAPS to make sure the cosmetic surgeon is listed on the website as a board-certified plastic surgeon. The members of the ISAPS have extensive training in both surgical and nonsurgical procedures and their surgical facilities are certified or accredited so patients can feel safe about their choice of facility.
  • In addition, Patients Beyond Borders has complied a booklet that is over 200 pages long in order to cover and answer the majority of questions patients have about undergoing cosmetic surgery overseas.
  • For any type of medical procedure, patients should prepare a list of questions to ask their cosmetic surgeon of choice about the procedure. The questions can be asked face to face as well as by email, over the phone or on a Skype call. It is vitally important that the patient understand all of the steps of the procedure including pre-surgery preparation, the actual procedure steps and any post-op instructions to help facilitate the healing process. In addition, patients should ask about any risks or side effects and how available the doctor will be to answer any additional questions or to help treat any post-op issues.
  • Patients should be aware that long airplane flights can increase the risk of blood clots in the legs or the lungs so they should be certain how long they need to wait before traveling back to their home country.
  • Depending on the procedure, health insurance might cover some of the cost if the procedure is determined to be medically necessary. Patients should check with their insurance provider before they have the cosmetic procedure so they will know how much they will have to pay out-of-pocket.



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