Each year a few women in the US decide to travel to a foreign country to get work done, and  some go to the Dominican Republic. We agree that getting plastic surgery done in Latin America especially the Dominican Republic can be cheaper. However, there are risks to leaving your homeland and travelling to a country you know nothing or little about. One of these risks is getting a nasty bacterial infection. In fact, that is what harmed some ladies who went to get some “affordable” work done. The bacteria apparently spread and scarred these poor women for life. This is often not what patients think about, but we hear this type of news often. Let us tell you a little more about the dangers of getting plastic surgery in the Dominican Republic.

Woman cries after surgery in Dominican Republic


Why Women Get Plastic Surgery Overseas

Many US women turn to medical tourism in Latin America because it is cheaper. The initial cost savings is generally from 40% to 80% for the same cosmetic procedure in the US. This is the attraction of traveling to places like the Dominican Republic for cosmetic surgery. Despite news articles speaking of patients getting cardiac arrest and dying, or becoming infected, many U.S. women still take risks by travelling overseas to save some money.

Surgery Pricing Overseas Can Change Suddenly

In the U.S. the cost quoted to prospective patients includes the surgical procedure along with costs of the stay for recovery and post surgical care. For nearly all of the locations offering cosmetic surgery in other countries the quotes are only for the procedure. This is one of the major reasons for such disparities in the costs patients are quoted. Overseas, often times there is a bait and switch technique in pricing being used; and there is nothing you can do about it if you are in a hospital bed.

In our homeland however, it is standard practice in the U.S. for patients to have cosmetic health insurance. This is the policy that will handle the costs of any complication that might occur due to the cosmetic surgery. The most common are the formation of a blood clot or a bacterial infection. Having surgery here provides you with peace of mind, knowing that you will be taken care of well with your health in mind.

When a patient undergoes a cosmetic surgical procedure in a country other than the US, this cosmetic health insurance is not offered. The general reason given for not offering it is that the patients are tourists and will be returning to their country in a short allotment of time after the procedure is completed so the clinics feel there is no need for it. Because there is no post surgical insurance coverage, the total costs of any complication will be shouldered by the patients that have their cosmetic surgery outside of the US- that is you!

The most recent Dangers of Cosmetic Surgery in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has become a hot spot for Americans who want a cheap alternative in cost for their cosmetic surgery. What most are not aware of is that the cost being paid by some is more than financial. Recently, the number of cases of patients who underwent cosmetic surgery in the Dominican Republic also brought back with them an infection caused by Mycobacteria. Evidently, the number of cases is in the double digits and most of these patients are having a hard time battling these small germs. In nearly all of these patients, the mycobacterium is antibiotic resistant. The result is months of treatment along with swelling, scarring and pain caused by the infection. For some, they are scarred for life with deformities.

Beware! the Medical Standards are Different Overseas

For those of you considering having your plastic surgery overseas because it is cheaper, there will be more responsibility on your shoulders. It is your duty to thoroughly investigate both the clinic and the doctor. This has to include their credentials and past patient results. All countries have medical boards, but that does not mean they are equal to the great care patients have in the US.

In the US, the history of patients operated on by a surgeon are part of public record or obtainable. Overseas this is not always possible and for many it is rarely the case. For most patients who have cosmetic surgery overseas, it closely resembles playing Russian roulette. You will not know if you avoided the mycobacterium until you have recovered free of germs, and of course you could potentially be botched. The laws are less strick in foreign countries, and even a dentist could practice plastic surgery there ‘shudder.’

Unlike in the U.S.,  plastic surgeons overseas are not regulated or monitored as well as they are in our homeland. Credentials can be falsified. Many so called MD’s even carry fake diplomas, and practice with a fake license. This is very scary, and we highly recommend you don’t go for a cheaper rate if you so choose to go this route. Cheaper can mean death or permanent disfigurement.

Is Saving Money worth the Risk of Becoming Disfigured?

The dangers are real for patients that want to maybe save a little money when desiring to look better with larger breasts or instantly lose weight with liposuction. For those of you considering the Dominican Republic as your cosmetic surgical destination, the US CDC has issued a warning related to the contraction of Mycobacterium abscessus, M. chelonae and M. fortuitum by several Americans who had cosmetic surgery there. As a result of the infections, the implants used in the cosmetic surgeries had to be removed and months of treatment have been required. Some have permanent disfigurement which is their final result of saving money.

If you would like to have plastic surgery but cannot afford it, we offer wonderful affordable payment options through Care Credit, our preferred healthcare financing provider. If you would like to ask our experienced plastic surgeon Dr. Taneja any questions, please contact us here.

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