Home » Body » The Risks of Surgical Tourism

Surgical tourism is the practice of traveling to other countries to obtain surgical procedures. Although surgical tourism can seem like a good way to get procedures at a more affordable rate than in the United States or try experimental options, it comes with many risks. 

At Denton Plastic Surgery, we have seen the consequences of surgical tourism firsthand. Dr. Rivet and Dr. Flugstad offer procedures to correct the results of these surgeries, but our goal is to prevent people from undertaking these dangerous trips in the first place.

Risks of Infection

Depending on which country you go to, one of the common risks of surgical tourism is developing an infection. Surgeons in other countries may not follow the high sanitation standards and regulations that those in the United States do. Unsanitary conditions, equipment that is not sterile, and untrained doctors can put you in danger of developing post-op infections.

People who turn to surgical tourism are at risk of the following infections:

  • Wound infections
  • Donor-derived infections
  • Blood infections
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV

In some countries, you are also more likely to get an antibiotic-resistant infection, which can be life-threatening. 

You may not know where the blood supply you get comes from or if it has gone through all of the necessary tests. This puts you at serious risk of many illnesses. 

Water contamination is another concern. You may not have the necessary immunity to bacteria in the local water, which makes it easier to develop further infections.

Medication Dangers

Because medication regulations vary from country to country, you may not know the quality of the drugs you receive before, during, and after your surgery. 

Medications can contain the wrong ingredients, or you may even get lower-quality options because you are a tourist. Also, most of the time, surgeons in other countries will not have access to your medical records from the States. This means that the surgeon performing your procedure will not know what medications may interact negatively with an existing health condition.

Communication Issues

Traveling to another country to get surgery poses the risk of not being able to correctly communicate what you want. Even when you have a translator, understanding complicated medical procedures and letting surgeons know your medical history is challenging. 

Communication issues can also be dangerous during post-op care. It will be much more difficult to communicate any side effects or worries you have. Post-op care is vital for the success of a surgical procedure. Not being able to communicate can put the results of the surgery at risk. 

Deep-Vein Thrombosis Risks

Deep-vein thrombosis is a deadly risk you might face if you travel to other countries for surgery. Flying soon after surgery can increase the risk of this condition. You can develop deep-vein thrombosis if a blood clot forms in a deep vein, like in your leg. 

Although deep-vein thrombosis is a risk after any surgery, air travel increases that risk. It can cause the blood clot to travel to a vital organ like the heart, posing a life-threatening danger. 

Medical Ethics

Many countries do not have the same standards of medical ethics. Patient autonomy and informed consent standards vary. 

Because the surgeons in other countries will not have all of your necessary medical information, they will also not be able to advise you regarding your best treatment options. Without knowing all of your options, you cannot make an informed decision on the procedures you choose. 

Medical ethics is a serious concern when receiving plastic surgery or organ transplants in other countries. If there are problems with the transplant or with any other procedures, you may also not have the legal protections you need to file a malpractice suit. 

Turn to Denton Plastic Surgery

At Denton Plastic Surgery, we provide solutions for people who tried surgical tourism and have had a less-than-desirable experience. Dr. Rivet and Dr. Flugstad perform corrective procedures, helping you to get the results you want. Of course, preventing poor outcomes in the first place by working with a qualified surgeon is the better option. Request a consultation with Denton Plastic Surgery for the quality plastic surgery experience you deserve.