“Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 19 cases of nontuberculous mycobacteria wound infections among US residents who had undergone cosmetic surgery in the Dominican Republic. Fourteen of these patients required hospitalization in the United States, with corrective surgery and long courses of antibiotic therapy.” This was quoted from Medscape June 24, 2012.
Surgery overseas (medical tourism) reflects a multi-billion dollar business today. Because of the high costs of medical care in the United States, many consumers are traveling to other countries to get their surgical care, which can often be less than 10% of the fully loaded costs seen in the United States. It is critical to determine if the facilities are accredited, as that adds some modicum of safety in the decision to travel. Failure to do your research, can produce problems as defined in the CDC statement above. You must plan for such an endeavor asking yourself about the language of the country you selected, finding out the credentials of the doctors, the track record of the facility (infection risks should be documented by the facility), the risks of traveling after the procedure, how you are going to follow-up after you leave the country. etc..
Return air travel should be delayed long enough to ‘cover’ anything that goes wrong. Traveling after a procedure can increase the risk of blood clots in the legs and clots that travel to the lungs from a long flight after surgery as cabin pressure changes during the flight home. This is particularly important if a general anesthetic is administered. To learn more about these risks, see: www.cdc.gov/travel
The field of hair transplants are applicable here as doctors outside the US offer transplants for less costs than here in the US; however, where is their track record to be found, one might ask? FUE in particular is a common offering outside the US and competitive pricing, but once you leave the US, you loose the ‘legal’ protections offered by the US Court system. As it takes a full 8 months to see the success of a hair transplant, what if the doctor had not mastered the technique (very common amongst all doctors in the US or outside the US). We see failures at 8 months that are not uncommon as patients come to us to determine what they should do after a failure has occurred. There is little legal recourse for these patients and many of the doctors in the US are not compassionate about answering to their FUE hair transplant failures.