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Our Approach: Combining Cosmetic Surgery, Tourism & Vacation

Vacation and Plastic Surgery: Consider all the cautions and warmings - North Dallas Plastic Surgery

Although there are outstanding plastic surgeons in countries around the world, it is extremely difficult for a patient to verify a surgeon's or institution's accreditation from afar. Considering all the pitfalls discussed below, we suggest anyone considering traveling abroad be cautions.

Combining Plastic Surgery or Cosmetic Surgery and Tourism
Cosmetic Surgery: Promises and Pitfalls™


Inexpensive cosmetic procedures in a vacation paradise are advertised to include entire vacation and surgical packages costing less than individual procedures in the U.S.


  • Bargain surgery can be costly, whether it is done in this country or any other. Consider the potential complications that require treatment when you return home, possible revisional surgery for an unsatisfactory result, and most importantly, risk to your general health due to less than satisfactory techniques and conditions. Find out before surgery your financial responsibility for the cost of treating complications.
  • Vacation environment and activities sound enticing, but vacation related activities may compromise a patient’s safety. Cosmetic surgery trips are marketed as a vacation, but after surgery activities should be limited. Such activities as sunbathing, alcohol consumption, exercise, sightseeing, etc. should be avoided.
  • Surgeon and facility qualifications should be meaningful and verifiable. Vacation destinations may or may not have formal medical accreditation boards that certify physicians and medical facilities. There are no US laws that protect patients or mandate training and qualifications of physicians who perform cosmetic surgery outside of the United States. Additionally, there may be no legal recourse if surgical negligence by the physician or institution occurs.
  • Tourist screening process often lacks professional involvement. Every individual seeking cosmetic surgery may not meet the medical criteria for surgery. Medical or emotional problems should be evaluated and if necessary, additionally worked-up, but might even preclude the surgery. In the case of medical tourism, it is often the travel agent that screens applicants for surgery, which is unethical and even dangerous.
  • Cosmetic surgery is real surgery. Though cosmetic procedures are elective, they require anesthesia, sterile technique, and modern instrumentation and equipment. Further, any surgery involves risk. Infection is the most common complication seen in patients that go abroad for surgery, but other problems are unsightly scars, hematomas and unsatisfactory results.
  • Follow-up care and monitoring is an important part of any surgery. Time and cost limit the length of any cosmetic tourism, providing limited follow-up care. Once the patient returns to the US, it may be difficult to find a surgeon willing to assume even routine follow-up of another unknown surgeon’s patient. Treatment of complications may be delayed in a patient’s search for a qualified surgeon willing to deal with another’s surgical problems.
  • Devices, products and technique may not meet US standards. For example an implant used in this country must meet standards of safety and effectiveness, which is regulated by the FDA. Other countries may or may not have similar regulation.
  • Travel combined with surgery can significantly increase risk of complications. Both long flights and surgery, individually, increase the potential for a pulmonary embolis, which is a blood clot that travels to the lungs. Combined travel and surgery further increase the risk of this potentially fatal complication.

This article contains some information obtained from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

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