Plastic surgery tourism: is it worth the savings?

Plastic surgery tourism

Plastic surgery tourism is on the rise -- but patients should research the pros and cons before chasing savings abroad. Photo Credit: Comstock/

By John G. Apostolides, MD

The plastic surgery tourism industry is on the rise, according to a recent report in Forbes magazine. From Belgium to Poland, Slovakia to the Ukraine, plastic surgery patients are flocking in increasingly greater numbers to combine exotic vacations and cosmetic surgery procedures – a strategy that Forbes calls, “killing two birds with one operation.” Given the popularity of Eastern European destinations and the luxury hotels that have begun offering plastic surgery packages for foreign guests, it is no surprise that plastic surgery tourism is attracting more patients. The question remains, however: is it safe? And if not, what are the risks?

Surgery vacations: the perks and risks of plastic surgery abroad

Forbes cites autumn as a prime time for plastic surgery tourism, with mild weather, fewer tourists and affordable travel deals on hotels, airline tickets and other vacation packages. Combine these attractions with the current trend in double surgery (couples or pairs of friends who undergo surgery together), and there are plenty of reasons to consider taking one’s plastic surgery plans abroad rather than sticking with a local clinic. However, as exciting and luxurious as a plastic surgery vacation may sound (even high-end hotel chains like Hyatt and Ritz Carlton are promoting “recovery retreats” for travelers recovering from cosmetic procedures), there are critical factors that all prospective patients should consider before moving forward with such plans.

While many European hospitals are undoubtedly performing successful surgeries, it is important to separate marketing hype from medical reality. Plastic surgery is not simply another spa treatment, and any form of plastic surgery can involve serious medical risk if performed by an inexperienced or inadequately trained surgeon, or in an under-equipped facility. In addition, oversight organizations and certification standards may be different abroad than in the U.S., making it more difficult for patients to ensure that their surgeons are board-certified and sufficiently experienced to be providing advertised services. Finally, in the event of an emergency, patients who opt for plastic surgery abroad will not have access to their regular physician or local hospital, nor will they necessarily experience the same form of care, or benefit from the same medical insurance coverage, that they might expect here at home.

Experience trusted, expert plastic surgery care in San Diego – and still recover in paradise

At SK Clinic, we are proud to offer the services of board-certified and award-winning plastic surgeons to our loyal clients. Our state-of-the-art plastic surgery clinic in La Jolla provides patients with a safe and comfortable experience – not to mention proximity to some of the top tourist destinations in the world. If you or someone you know is considering cosmetic plastic surgery, opt for a stay-cation over plastic surgery tourism – and rest assured that you are getting the best in safety, comfort and convenience. To learn more about plastic surgery right here in San Diego, contact us today at

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Posted by Social Media Staff on Nov 29, 2012. Filed under Columns, John G. Apostolides, M.D., Sponsored Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “Plastic surgery tourism: is it worth the savings?”

  1. DrRhysBranman

    I have to agree with this. Medical tourism has become popular, but think about this. Travel is tiring. Flying in particular increases the risk of exposure to germs in a contained environment. In addition, swelling or pulmonary embolism/blood clots may occur due to prolonged inactivity while flying. The exotic scenery may be hard to enjoy when on a liquid diet or in pain from a procedure. Combining a vacation with a medical procedure may not be as pleasant as advertised. Yet another consideration is infectious diseases not commonly found in the United States. You depend on your immune system to recover from any surgery and would not want it compromised by pathogens you are not accustomed to.

    Dr Rhys Branman
    Little Rock Cosmetic Surgery Center

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