Six Essential Things To Consider Before Getting Plastic Or Cosmetic Surgery Abroad

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The decision to undergo plastic surgery is a significant one that requires careful consideration. With rising costs and inflation concerns, some may be looking to undergo cosmetic procedures outside of the U.S. While medical tourism has been around for a while, it's important to be aware of the potential risks involved. Here Haute Beauty expert Dr. S. Alexander Earle, double board-certified plastic surgeon, outlines six crucial factors to consider before getting plastic surgery abroad.

Dr. Earle is held accountable by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and his surgical clinic in Miami is clean, safe, and up to date with the latest technological advances and accreditation by the Joint Commission, the highest level for an office-based surgical clinic in the U.S. With a low rate of infection for procedures such as the Brazilian Butt Lift, he stresses the importance of researching the qualifications of the surgeon and facility, as well as understanding the healthcare and legal systems of the country where the surgery will take place.

Before making a decision, it's essential to educate yourself on the level of safety and quality of care available in the country you're considering. By considering these factors, you can help ensure a safe and successful surgery, whether at home or abroad.

1. Understanding safety measures

Expect the best, but plan for every possible scenario, including plans and procedures if you encounter any issues as a tourist visiting a foreign country.

Regarding safety, make sure you are aware of any threats to tourists in the country of your choice. There are many recent horror stories of medical tourists being kidnapped or killed when traveling abroad for plastic surgery procedures. Check with the U.S. Embassy and make sure you are aware of any safety threats and how best to avoid negative scenarios and how to navigate if you feel you are in danger.

2. Verifying qualifications and reputation

While being aware of your surroundings is important, you should also vet the surgeon’s practice and credentials. Check to see if they are accredited and the validity of their credentials in their country. Qualifications of the surgeon are as important as their reputation. Ask how many procedures the surgeon will perform on the day of your surgery and where you fall on the day. You want to know how long you may have to wait and where you will wait. In some countries, surgeons can perform more procedures on a patient at once, remove more fat, or perform surgery on patients who may not qualify in the U.S. Complex procedures or combination procedures that exceed 6 hours, may increase the risk of complications and you should be aware of the risks. It is important to know how many deaths, rates of infection, and complications have occurred as a result of procedures performed by the surgeon or staff. These are numbers to consider as you choose your surgeon.

Each country has various qualifications and standards for medical practitioners in addition to organizations that hold them and their facilities accountable. You need to know what they are, how they work, and how they may advocate for you or the surgeon.

Another piece to the verifying puzzle is the hospital, operating room (OR), or aftercare facility where you may receive treatment or care. Make sure you understand safety codes and standards and what will be included in your services. When you are researching aftercare facilities, your due diligence should cover the facility and all associated doctors and workers.

3. Preparing for emergencies

In case of an emergency, you want to understand the protocols and the steps taken if something goes wrong. Find out if you will need supplemental insurance and the costs associated with possible emergencies and complications. In some cases, the overseas location may not have adequate hospitals, which could require being transported by ground or air ambulance to a nearby city. If this happens, you need to know what they are willing to do and how far they are willing to take you for the best care possible.

4. Language barriers

Surgery is a complex process, and it's essential to have clear communication between patients and their surgical teams. Even when everything goes as planned, there are many important factors to discuss with your surgeon and their staff. One factor that can complicate communication is a language barrier. In such cases, patients may struggle to convey their thoughts, feelings, and levels of pain to their surgical team.

It's crucial to understand if there will be any language barriers during any part of your care and whether you'll need to hire an interpreter. This is a key component of planning for any surgery. The ability to communicate effectively with your surgical team can impact the outcome of your surgery and your overall recovery.

As a patient, it's important to inform your surgical team if you have any concerns about language barriers or if you need an interpreter. Your surgeon and their staff can work with you to ensure that you have access to the communication support you need. By addressing potential language barriers beforehand, you can help ensure a successful surgery and a smoother recovery process.

5. Hotel amenities

If you opt out of an aftercare facility and choose to stay at a hotel instead, make sure the pictures you see online are indicative of what you will experience in real-time.

6. Recourse for malpractice

If anything were to go wrong, you want to be aware of your recourse for medical malpractice and contacts for agencies who may advocate on your behalf.

For more information, visit Dr. S. Alexander Earle's social media: