Medical tourism has become increasingly popular among Americans, especially when it comes to plastic surgery.

Breast augmentation, liposuction, and face lifts are the most commonly sought out surgeries to have performed abroad in places like Central and South America, the Caribbean, or Europe.

Lower price tags are often the driving factor in this trend, but there are certain risks involved. Severe complications, serious illness, and even death have been reported as a result.

Here are some things to consider before committing:

  1. The risk for infection can be high.

Other countries do not always share the same standards for sterilization in hospitals and operating rooms that we have in the U.S. In addition, your body may be susceptible to the different strains of foreign germs and viruses outside our country.

  1. Vacation-type activities may be difficult after a procedure.

If you are looking to soak up the sun, swim, and enjoy a festive cocktail alongside your surgery, think again. All of these things can lead to complications negatively affecting incision sites, bandaging/dressings, and follow-up pain or antibiotic medications.

  1. Air travel afterwards can be dangerous.

Long flights and the change in altitude aboard a plane can contribute to pulmonary embolisms and blood clots, especially when your body is already in a weakened state following surgery.

  1. You may not be legally protected if something goes wrong.

The are no U.S. laws currently in place to protect patients receiving medical care outside this country. If surgical complications arise, or there is negligence on the part of a foreign doctor, you will be left to deal with any financial or legal repercussions on your own.

While it may seem like a great bargain, along with a fun adventure, to travel internationally for a plastic surgery procedure, make sure to do your homework ahead of time and consider the options offered by a local, board-certified plastic surgeon first.

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(Courtesy of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons)