Traveling for plastic surgery has its own benefits especially if there is a valid reason—e.g., you want the expertise of a reputable surgeon who happens to live far away from your place.
But if you travel for plastic surgery solely to avail a low-cost service, it might prevent you to look at the “bigger picture.” Take note that your primary goal is to find a qualified plastic surgeon who knows how to avoid the complications and give you results that look natural.
- Lots of planning and communication. While it is true that the distance is an issue, good rapport and open communication with your plastic surgeon can offset such challenge.
The general rule of thumb is to find someone you feel comfortable with and confident in his technical and artistic skills. For this reason, you may want to visit his websites and check his before-and-after photos online to assess his level of professionalism and “core values” that can help him deliver impressive results.
- Someone to help you during the initial healing stage. It is a bonus if you have family or friends living within the vicinity. You need a support group to pick you up after surgery and take care of your basic needs during the most crucial phase of your recovery, i.e., a day or two after the operation.
- Postpone travel for five to seven days after plastic surgery involving the body (e.g., breast augmentation and tummy tuck), or longer if your operation involves the face (e.g., facelift and rhinoplasty/nose job).
The idea is to avoid prolonged immobility—i.e., sitting for hours during a flight—because it can predispose you to risk of blood clotting or deep vein thrombosis in the legs that can travel up to the lungs and lead to more serious complications such as pulmonary embolism.
- Don’t combine plastic surgery and vacation. Despite the proliferation of surgical vacation package, cosmetic surgery should be treated as a major surgery that involves a “quiet time” to recuperate. Thus you should plan your tropical holiday at a different time.
- Collect all your medical records before leaving. For example, you should document the type of breast implants used during breast augmentation, the surgical technique, the attending surgeon’s name, the facilities, etc. Such info will help your local doctor in case that you have postop concerns at home.