PSC Media Wire

Is Medical Tourism Worth the Risk?

Is Medical Tourism Worth the Risk?

Why are so many Americans willing to leave the U.S. to travel to other countries for plastic surgery, cosmetic dentistry or any type of medical care?  Many say, why not? Procedures are usually half the price and you get a nice vacation to boot!

By Carolynn Grimes

Medical Tourism.Still003 South America, Cuba, and Thailand— these are just a few of the countries using medical tourism to boost their lagging economy.  According to, a popular consumer website about medical tourism, the industry brings in an estimated 40 billion a year.

Buyer Beware – “It can be a bigger problem than most people realize”


We talked to board certified plastic surgeons here in the U.S. to find out their thoughts…

Medical-Tourism-risks“Part of the problem of getting surgery in another country is they’re using different devices, different injectables and even different techniques,” says Dr. Jackie Yee, a plastic surgeon who practices in Miami, Florida. She says she has witnessed first-hand the effects of medical tourism.  “I’ve seen people that will get an infection and by the time they make it back to the states, they’ve got the difficulty of trying to find a doctor that’s willing to treat them. It can be a bigger problem than most patients realize.”

Dr. Grant Stevens, who practices in Los Angeles, says this is not a hypothetical situation.  “I’ve seen some of these problems before.  They can range from simple things like a hematoma, to more serious matters such as a blood clot when they’re flying back, and a blood clot can result in death or stroke.”

What about the advantages of discounted prices and the lure of recovering in a tropical paradise?  Plastic surgeon, Dr. John Gross, from Pasadena, California says, “I don’t think the trade-off is worth it. There are very few procedures that you’re really recovered from in the time span of a vacation. You can find qualified, board certified plastic surgeons here in the U.S. for a range of prices.”

 Plastic Surgery Comparison Shopping

Comparative Cost for Breast Augmentation and Tummy Tucks
Country Tummy Tuck Breast Augmentation
United States  7500-9000 6.,000-8,000
 Brazil  5,740 4,900
Costa Rica  5,000 3,250
Thailand  3,600 3,800

(According to

The average price of medical procedures in many countries is as low as 45-90 percent less. However, you need to factor in the cost of airfare, meals, hotel, transportation and possibly insurance. Now the price tag is nearly even!

I personally think it’s ill-advised; I think your body and life is much more important,” says Gross.  “We have the best providers in the U.S., the price is very competitive and a patient has recourse if something were to go wrong,” says Stevens.  “If a patient leaves the county for surgery and there’s a complication, they can have adverse outcomes.”


View Comments (1)
PSC Media Wire

More in PSC Media Wire

Is "Prejuvenation" The Answer to Aging Gracefully?

Is “Prejuvenation” The Answer to Aging Gracefully?

John HammarleyApril 25, 2018
Botox blunders: what to look for and how to avoid mistakes.

Botox Blunders: What to Look For and How to Avoid Mistakes

Dawn TongishApril 4, 2018
Is a "lunchtime nose job" legitimate?

Is a “Lunchtime Nose Job” Legitimate?

John HammarleyMarch 28, 2018
A new frontier for fillers - earlobe plumping.

A New Frontier for Fillers – Earlobe Plumping

John HammarleyMarch 14, 2018
What's the Connection, The Economy and Plastic Surgery.

What’s the Connection, The Economy and Plastic Surgery

Dawn TongishMarch 7, 2018
Smart consumers fuel plastic surgery trends.

Smart Consumers Fuel Plastic Surgery Trends

Dawn TongishFebruary 28, 2018
Great Plastic Surgery Starts in the Front Office.

Great Plastic Surgery Starts in the Front Office

John HammarleyFebruary 21, 2018
The Quest to Achieve (or Remove) Facial Dimples.

The Quest to Achieve (or Remove) Facial Dimples

John HammarleyFebruary 14, 2018
Transgender treatment in plastic surgery.

Transgender Treatment in Plastic Surgery

Dawn TongishFebruary 7, 2018