5 Reasons to Avoid Plastic Surgery Tourism
Travelling abroad in search of deals on plastic surgery procedures has become a more common practice in recent years. The internet is flush with google search results advertising surgical clinics in countries throughout Central and South America, in South-East Asia and beyond. While there are certainly highly-trained and experienced surgeons in these far-off destinations, Canadians should think twice before booking their cosmetic surgery tourism ‘vacation’.
Dr. Karl Schwarz, founder and lead surgeon at Clinique K, shares his top 5 reasons you should be wary of cosmetic surgery tourism.
1/ Believing is seeing
The internet may be full of legitimate businesses, but it is also full of professionally-designed websites with polished photography, hard-selling copy and glowing testimonials. While the clinics you are researching may appear credible at first glance, it is imperative that you speak to the surgeon directly and ask for references.
“The best thing you can do is ask for references. In other words, speak to someone in your own city or country who has made the trip and had your intended procedure at that particular clinic,” says Dr. Schwarz. “Ask for before and after photos of your specific surgical procedure. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
2/ Varying standards
You may find a better price for procedures abroad, but at what cost? Many men and women learn the hard way about varying standards in cosmetic surgery. There may be significant variations in the qualifications of your surgeon and nursing staff at your desired destination, along with disparities in the type of equipment, implants and medications used. What’s more, some foreign surgeons may offer ‘cookie cutter’ results, meaning that the outcome of your surgery may not suit your unique body or face.
Dr. Schwarz explains, “Canadian cosmetic surgical standards are exceptionally high. I myself am a certified member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. I train future plastic surgeons in advanced techniques. My staff have gone through countless hours of training and certification. This may not be the case in some countries that advertise heavily in the cosmetic surgery tourism space.”
He adds, “Our patients’ comfort and trust is our number one priority at Clinique K. We want our patients to look as natural as possible, or in other words, a better version of themselves.”
3/ Post-operative care
Your breast implant or tummy tuck may go well within the four walls of the operating room, but what happens to you and your body post-surgery is equally important. You might experience pain or discomfort after surgery, foreign clinic staff may not speak your language fluently, and/or recovery care may not be at the same high standard as in Canada.
“Continuity of care is also an important part of the cosmetic surgery experience,” explains Dr. Schwarz. “Consultations before surgery and post-operative care are integral to my practice. It is important that my patients are well-cared for and well-informed for a successful recovery. It is possible to coordinate after-care with a plastic surgeon when you return at home, but you can risk important gaps in information.”
4/ Post-operative travel
The average patient cannot afford to stay abroad for a lengthy recovery period after undergoing cosmetic surgery. What’s more, most popular plastic surgery destinations are in far-off places that requires long flights and multiple stopovers. Traveling can be stressful and uncomfortable on a good day. Imagine getting on a plane with bandages or soreness in the surgical area.
“There is a risk of developing serious complications like blood clots or infections on long flights,” explains Dr. Schwarz. “Why put your body through that stress? Cosmetic surgery is like any other surgery, you need time to heal, so I would advise my patients to avoid travelling too soon after the procedure.”
5/ Legal protection
Did you know that in most cases, foreign patients have no legal recourse if any major complications arise as a result of a cosmetic procedure? This also applies to cases of negligence. In Canada, there are strict malpractice laws that protect patients should something go wrong during your surgery or at a future point in time.
“You may save some money on your procedure, but if something goes wrong, you are responsible for any associated medical bills. This is more money out of pocket that most insurers won’t cover,” explains Dr. Schwarz.
“Don’t bargain hunt when it comes to your body or face,” advises Dr. Schwarz.
For those considering a cosmetic surgery procedure, we invite you to book a consultation at Clinique K to answer questions and discuss your options.