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Plastic Surgery Abroad: Risks, Corrections, Hi Costs

Maybe not the place for plastic surgery

We’ve often advised against having cosmetic plastic surgery in foreign locales, either East (Asia) or West (Romania.)

Why? Because surgeon training in distant lands and ratings of surgical facilities can be very, very different than what is found in America.

To focus down and take a snapshot of the typical medical tourism plastic surgeryexperienced by real patients, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York studied the records of 42 patients returning home from overseas plastic surgery with after-surgery complications.

                (See some U.S-crafted, face and neck lift before and after pictures.)

Researchers found the most common cosmetic plastic surgery procedures requested in distant lands were:

  • Tummy tuck
  • Liposuction
  • Buttock Augmentation
  • Breast augmentation

Most patients asked for multiple procedures…. resulting in multiple complications for many.

Of the 42 patients:

  • 30 had infections as one complication
  • Eleven had abscesses
  • Eight patients had re-opened incisions
  • A few patients had blood clot complications, kidney infection or other serious medical woes.
  • Twenty were admitted to U.S. hospitals
  • Thirteen required additional surgery

(Look at some nose job before & after pictures.)

The study found the average U.S. cost of treating foreign-caused complications was $18,000. Medicaid paid most.

After crunching all the costs involved in treating problem overseas cosmetic plastic surgery, researchers at the Montefiore Medical Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found:

  • Medicaid pays about $730 million yearly due to medical tourism surgery complications.
  • Commercial Insurance ponys up about $360 million yearly for the same recovery procedures.
  • Medicare pays out about $120 million.
  • Not surprisingly, eight of 18 study patients did not like the results of their plastic surgery and gave thumbs down on further offshore surgery.
  • Interviews revealed that patients overestimated the cost of U.S. surgery by $9000 when compared to actual average costs paid and reported to the American Society of Plastic Surgery.
  • Nonetheless, about 15 million Americans go overseas for medical care yearly. Experts say the figure will probably increase.

The study also revealed the total cost of treating lackluster plastic surgery from overseas may cost the U.S. health care system a whopping $1.3 billion yearly.

Said Oren M. Tepper, M.D., director of craniofacial and aesthetic surgery at the Montefiore Health System and assistant professor of surgery at Albert Einstein:

“Patients who travel to other countries for cosmetic plastic surgery are at risk for serious and costly complications after returning home.”

According to Dr. Tepper, medical tourists may find shoddy care due to different standards in surgeon training and in rating surgical facilities.

(See the before and after pictures of the most popular U.S. facial cosmetic plastic surgeries.)