A recent report of the untimely death of a 23-year-old American woman whose death is related to a liposuction procedure performed in the Dominican Republic brings to mind the inherent dangers of medical tourism. Despite its popularity in recent years, this recent tragedy is a reminder to be particularly mindful.

According to a 2014 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 19 women throughout the United States who developed infections and complications after having cosmetic surgery performed in the Dominican Republic.

Good surgical care involves more than the technical act of surgery. It requires extensive, careful preoperative consultation, deliberate formulation of reasonable treatment plans, and implementation of proper postoperative care. When patients don’t spend the proper amount of time recuperating and return home with no plan for follow-up care complications can arise. Post-operative visits are critical to ensure the patient’s body is healing appropriately and to ensure that infection does not occur.

Very often, clinics performing cosmetic procedures in some countries do not adhere to the same strict safety standards as required in the U.S. That’s not to say there are not qualified plastic surgeons abroad. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the world’s largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons and the Society has members in more than 70 countries around the world.

You want to ensure that your cosmetic surgery makes you look and feel your best. The cost savings of traveling to another country cannot compare to the life threatening complications that can arise. Always search for a board certified surgeon whether in this country or abroad and make certain you have recommendations from former patients if you are combining an exotic vacation with your procedure.


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