Whether you’re in the market a routine nose job or something as complex as facial feminization surgery (FFS), it can be tempting to schedule your surgery in another country. If your health insurance does not cover cosmetic procedures, there’s little doubt that going abroad can save you money, but in some cases, that savings comes at a significant cost to your health. The four things below are important to think about before you schedule your procedure.
#1 – Certifications and Licenses are Different in Other Countries
In places like the US and Canada, plastic surgeons must go through years of school and take rigorous exams in order to receive licensure that makes it legal for them to practice, but this is not universal. In some other countries, plastic surgeons aren’t as well-trained or educated, and they may not need to be licensed at all. Before you schedule overseas plastic surgery, understand the laws for that country and triple-check the doctor’s credentials. If anything seems amiss, avoid it altogether and do your best to find an American board-certified surgeon, instead.
#2 – Different Countries have Different Practices
Many people mistakenly assume that their experiences with surgery in other countries will be just like their experiences with surgery at home. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Different countries take different approaches to everything from pain management to anesthesia. For example, your general anesthetic may be decades-old and proven unsafe when compared to today’s modern options, or your surgeon may prescribe pain medications that the FDA declared unsafe in the US years ago.
#3 – Recourse May Not be an Option
If a doctor in the United States botches your surgery – or if something goes wrong – you may be able to sue him or her for malpractice. In other countries, this may not be the case. Be sure that you fully understand your rights and the legal recourse available to you if something were to happen. Along those same lines, be very wary of signing any kind of documentation that hasn’t been fully translated and looked over by a lawyer. All too often, people sign away their rights to recourse without even realizing it.
#4 – Consider the Risks
Aside from the three things mentioned above, it’s important to think about all the risks that come with any kind of surgery. If there’s a complication, you may not be able to travel back home as planned, and the costs can quickly skyrocket, especially if you’re paying out of pocket. If you’ll be flying to and from your destination, keep in mind that flying greatly increases the risk of developing blood clots, and that risk is even greater for post-operative patients. Finally, think about things like potential weather events, and be sure you have a contingency plan in place for every imaginable situation.
Although scheduling your surgery overseas may seem like the economical route, saving money is not worth risking your health. Before scheduling your plastic surgery abroad, be sure to consider everything above, and ask your local plastic surgeon about financing options that may be available to help you better manage your out of pocket costs.