Medical Tourist Trap

The Union-Times newspaper of San Diego reported that on April 8, 2015 the Mexican government closed 10 cosmetic and plastic surgery clinics in Tijuana for violations of health laws. The investigations followed the death of a 28-year-old Australian woman who had undergone liposuction in a Mexicali clinic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert in March 2015 after two dozen cases of non-tuberculosis mycobacterium infections were noted among patients who had travelled to the Dominican Republic for plastic surgery.

Is Medical Tourism Worth the Risks?


The news items noted above are warning signs of the risks some people take when they chose to travel abroad for discounted plastic surgery. There are certainly outstanding plastic surgeons practicing outside the United States (although they are not likely to be the ones offering discounts). The primary risk facing the medical tourist is that they generally do not know the qualifications of their surgeons abroad. Regulation of medical clinics and hospitals can be lax in developing countries.

If people are looking to travel abroad for aesthetic surgery they should consult an American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) International Member or a plastic surgeon who is a member of an international plastic surgery society that is a Global Partner of the ASPS. The Joint Commission for Accreditation of Hospitals, which certifies US hospitals and surgery centers, has an international program that has accredited 368 hospitals in 46 countries. A list of these facilities can be found on the Joint Commission website.

Plastic Surgery Tourism Complications


The medical tourism complications we have treated here at the Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis in the past few years have included a severe infection requiring three weeks of hospitalization following a tummy tuck in Mexico, upside down breast implants inserted in Vietnam, and an infection after a Dominican Republic tummy tuck.

Less severe plastic surgery tourism problems we have seen range from breast implants lounging in the arm pits to a misplaced belly button after tummy tuck, and ear lobes attached to the cheeks after a face lift. Once again the Latin warning rings true: caveat emptor (buyer beware). If you are experiencing complications due to plastic surgery tourism, please contact us and we will take care of your needs.