When people leave their own country to seek medical treatment abroad it is called medical tourism. There is one main reason that people in the United States would engage in medical tourism – to save money. Many treatments and cosmetic procedures are available at a much lower cost outside of the United States.
When a person seeks treatment through medical tourism, their treatment does not go through their insurance company. Instead, they are treated as private patients and the costs of treatment are fully paid out of pocket. In the United States, plastic surgery procedures are already not covered by insurance, so it stands to reason that these procedures account for a major portion of the medical tourism market.
Even after the costs of airfare are factored in, it can still be much less expensive to have an operation performed overseas. For example, breast surgery averages about $6,000 when done here in the United States, but it can be done for just $2,200 in India. Facial surgery and body contouring surgery are also much less expensive when performed outside the U.S.
While you will be saving money by having a surgical procedure performed overseas, you will also be taking some serious risks – including the possibility of death. This is why it is so important to be informed before your plastic surgery procedure and try to minimize potential dangers.
Understand the Risks of Medical Tourism
There are different standards for sanitation in other parts of the world. The facilities may be unsanitary and the equipment used during surgery may not be sterile. What would happen if you required a blood transfusion? Standards for blood donation vary greatly from country to country. You could be at risk of getting a serious infection like HIV or hepatitis.
The medications you receive abroad may be counterfeit or low quality. Furthermore, how will you know if you are receiving treatment from a licensed professional? How will you be able to check credentials and licensing in a foreign land?
Another real problem with medical tourism is communication. If you don’t speak the language, you may not be able to communicate effectively, or to ask for help if something should go wrong. Misunderstandings can lead to serious complications.
When you travel by air, you increase your risk for blood clots, infection and complications after surgery.
Also, you should beware of hidden costs. Make sure that you have a written agreement defining exactly what is included in the cost of the trip. If you should require an extra long hospital stay, for example, would you be able to afford the additional costs?
Finally, you cannot be sure that you will receive adequate follow-up care in a foreign facility. What would happen if you got a serious infection or had complications from the surgery and couldn’t get the medical facility to treat you? And if there are any problems with your surgery or treatment, you may not have any legal recourse.
Medical tourism can be very dangerous and we recommend that you undergo treatment here at home.
To learn more about plastic surgery, contact us for more information or to schedule a consultation. Flannagan Plastic Surgery serves residents of Evansville and Jasper and the surrounding cities in the tri-state area of Indiana, Northern Kentucky and Illinois.