The dangers of plastic surgery tourism

The dangers of plastic surgery tourism

02nd Oct 2017

The concept of medical tourism is becoming more popular with each year, with more and more people travelling overseas looking for cheaper medical treatments. The sad reality is that there are many cases of people who tried medical tourism due to the lower prices and ended up paying with their lives. When it comes to plastic surgery, it is always essential to be aware of the surgeon’s recommendations and when going abroad to do your intervention. In most cases, you know nothing about the person performing it.

Medical tourism

The habit to travel abroad in search for cheaper medical treatments can be defined as medical tourism. During the last two decades, plenty of countries have become popular destinations for this type of tourism. One of the main reasons for traveling to a different country to undergo plastic surgery is due to lower costs. Each year, millions of people embark on a journey overseas to benefit from the medical services offered by practitioners with little to no qualifications. When undergoing a plastic surgery in the United States, you have the means to make sure that your surgeon is a real professional. You can check if he is board-certified and also ask to see pictures of his other patients. When traveling to another country, you’re never quite sure who will perform the procedure, what are their accreditations and how qualified they are for the job. There are no tools to help you research the certifications of the surgeons and no guarantees that this surgeon will show up, as in most cases you get in touch with a medical facility and not the plastic surgeon himself.

We have had many people coming to our practice for revision surgery after botched implants performed outside the United States. Aside from the poor handiwork of the plastic surgeon, the implants were different from what we use here and of a lower quality. In some cases, the interventions are performed in unsafe facilities that lack the ability to offer any support in emergency situations and this puts the patient at risk of developing critical or severe conditions during or after the surgery.

Here are a few countries that people choose when considering medical tourism for aesthetic purposes:


Medical tourists come from all over the world to Mexico, which is world-famous for cheap plastic surgery. Mexico has the advantage of being very close to the United States, especially California, Arizona and Texas. Among the medical procedures that are most commonly sought after here are alternative cancer treatments, plastic surgery, and bariatric surgery. While there are plenty of talented and experienced plastic surgeons in Mexico, there are also many people wanting to make quick cash exploiting this opportunity. Patients have been tricked into believing they will have their surgery performed by someone famous only to realize otherwise. Some of the medical facilities are unsafe and the risks of infection are high when this happens.

Costa Rica

This central American country is also on the list of the most popular medical tourism destinations in the world. It is where numerous specialists have their practice (especially plastic surgeons and dentists), and this tropical paradise attracts millions of tourists from all over the world every year. At least 15% of the tourists come here to benefit from the medical services that have more affordable prices. With its geographical position also close to the United States, this positions Costa Rica in the top 5 medical tourism destinations for American citizens. Some come back happy with the results, while others spend years and a lot of money trying to correct their botched interventions.


Apart from their beaches and their Carnival, this South American country has the highest density of plastic surgeons in the whole world. Brazilian surgeons offer much cheaper prices than surgeons in the United States or Europe. Many medical tourists go to small towns in Brazil such as Santos, where the costs of the medical services are even lower than in cities like Sao Paulo. Most of the patients here are mainly interested in facial lifts, tummy tucks, nose, and boobs jobs. You can be fortunate enough to land in the hands of a surgeon who knows what he is doing, but you can also have a very negative experience in dealing with inexperienced and unqualified practitioners. It’s a Russian roulette that you are playing with your life, your safety and your health. You should remember this when considering going abroad for getting plastic surgery.


One of the most popular and cheapest medical tourism destinations in the world is Thailand. While Southeast Asia might seem quite a bit of travel for American citizens, there are plenty of patients going there from the United States. Plastic surgery is very sought after in Thailand as there are plenty of practitioners offering their services at prices that might surprise you.

South Korea is another Asian country where people go to undergo plastic surgery. South Korea is actually famous for the number of plastic surgeries they perform on a daily basis. Malaysia and Singapore are other different medical tourism centers that appeal to Americans looking to travel for plastic surgery.

When considering traveling to Asia for your plastic surgery intervention, keep in mind that you will need to embark on a long flight to get back home, probably in the middle of your recovery period. Traveling for hours by plane after a buttock augmentation is not recommended and certainly not very comfortable. More than this, the body needs time to heal after surgery and a strenuous plane journey will only put more stress on it.

Some of the countries that are in the top ten medical tourism centers offer impressive services at lower costs, but you will also find an entire network of low-quality medical facilities that will provide even lower prices to attract you. A certified medical facility in the countries mentioned above will offer you the medical services for a lower price, but after you add in the cost of the travel, accommodation, and other expenses, you may find it might be less stressful to have your intervention done in the United States. Cheap facilities don’t offer much guarantee in terms of safety, and an infection can prove to be a severe, life-threating condition. If you get sick in a country where you have no health insurance, you will inevitably end up spending more.


There are people looking for cheaper alternatives when it comes to plastic surgery, and it is only natural to be careful with your finances. But when considering the price as the most important aspect of your decision, you might end up with other issues on your hand. In most cases, the lower the price is, the more you are at risk of developing complications due to the lack of experience of the surgeon or the lack of equipment in the medical facility.

Aside from the countries mentioned, there are many others that offer cheap medical treatments. When you consider a medical tourism destination you need to see the big picture, aside from the expenses involved. Make sure to look online for information about the hospital or the medical facility as well as the experience and certifications of the plastic surgeons. While money is important, you shouldn’t ignore your personal safety either.

Undergoing plastic surgery is serious business. Plastic surgery entails risks and complications, as well as a certain level of pain and discomfort, so it is highly unlikely that you will get to enjoy your holiday after undergoing surgery properly. More than this, sun exposure should be avoided after the intervention for at least a few months.

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