Out of town tummy tuck can be safely done as long as the patient practices due diligence, which all boils down to choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon. In the US, the only board-certifying body recognized by health authorities is the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).
Aside from board certification, “judicious” doctor selection should also include his experience. A good rule of thumb is to find a surgeon who performs over a hundred tummy tuck procedures every year and a long list of before-and-after photos of his actual patients to back it up.
Out of town tummy tuck requires advance planning. In general, lab screening (e.g., blood and urine exam) is generally conducted 10-14 days before surgery to rule out chronic medical condition and risk factors (use of tobacco and aspirin and aspirin-like products) that can impede healing or optimal results.
Lab screening might be done in the patient’s state (or country) or in the surgeon’s vicinity.
Out of town patients will be given preliminary information by the surgeon’s staff. This typically includes the estimated cost, travel arrangements, recovery facility, ideal length of stay, and list of preparations (e.g., foods, drinks, and drugs to avoid).
Should they find the “arrangements” reasonable, they may speak with their surgeons via Skype, or they may arrive a few days before their scheduled surgery to discuss the surgical plans and their cosmetic goals and expectations with their doctors.
Meanwhile, world-renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley typically requires his patients to stay within the vicinity for about two weeks to make follow-up visit convenient. Furthermore, long travels (by car or plane) are best postponed for at least 10 days to prevent deep vein thrombosis, a serious complication in which blood clots form in a vein located deep inside the body (usually affecting the pelvis, arms, or legs).
Ideally, the surgeon’s staff should help out of town tummy tuck patients arrange their travels, especially in terms of booking a hotel room and finding an airport shuttle service. The goal is to make the whole experience less stressful and so they can focus more on their recovery and ultimately put their mind at ease.
In the ideal scenario, out of town patients should be accompanied by at least one relative or friend to help them move around during the first few days postop. If this is not possible, the clinic staff may recommend a private nurse or they might be required to stay at a hospital or recovery facility until they can walk without risk of fainting, and their pain has dissipated significantly.