Often medical tourists make a decision on travelling to a particular clinic based on reviews of their family members, friends etc. Unfortunately many patients don’t know anyone who travelled to another country for treatment/elective surgery. If you are one of them, you will find this post helpful. In the article: How to choose a plastic surgeon abroad? I discussed the criteria for selecting a doctor. In this post I would like to explain what to pay attention to while choosing a cheap plastic surgery clinic abroad. I discuss other important elements such as price, clinic’s staff, equipment and location of the clinic. I recommend reading both articles to get a comprehensive information.
A lower price for a cosmetic surgery plays a key role in medical tourism. The possibility of saving money is the main reason for going abroad for treatment/surgery. Note that cosmetic surgery is a serious interference in health, and the effects of poorly performed surgery can be tragic. Therefore, do not look for maximum savings. If you live eg. in a Western Europe country, and you are planning a surgery in one of the countries of eg. Eastern Europe you can get perfect results of the surgery and save a lot of money. There is one condition, the lowest price of the surgery can not be the decisive criterion for the selection of surgeon/clinic. The decision to choose the clinic must be made primarily on trust and belief that those specialists perform the operation according to the standards of good practice and with full commitment. It is also important that the patient is informed about the final cost of the surgery and subsequent stay in the hospital. If the cost may change, the patient must be informed how much.
If you are considering a few countries, or a few cities to undergo surgery- tourist attractions or cheaper airline tickets should have secondary importance. The most important thing is to choose the clinic which offers high quality healthcare in a city with convenient transport with your place of residence. Some women tolerate travelling back home well (even long distances), but other complain that coming back after the surgery was very difficult and tiring. You don’t know how your body will react, so you should be careful and you shouldn’t take unecessary risks. Travelling by airplane after the surgery is also related to increased risk of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). If you are at risk of DVT you should consult a doctor in your home country.
If you want to choose a doctor abroad you should carefully analyze his website. You need to know whether the doctor has only a small office with minimal equipment and if he rents the operation theatre in other facilities. If so, this is not favorable. It is better if the doctor is employed at the clinic, and he has a constant access to the operating room and the medical staff at the facility. Analyzing a website pay attention to the photos of the operating room, equipment, number of beds in rooms. Does the equipment and furniture look old and worn out? Does the clinic building need to be repaired? In most cases, you can check the appearance of the building from the outside on google maps. Check if the clinic has accreditation and certificates confirming high quality of the equipment and services.
You should ask how many doctors (with what speciality), and other medical staff work in the clinic. Based on this information you will know if this clinic specialize in plastic/cosmetic surgeries. Avoid clinics that perform plastic surgeries occasionally. Ask about the name and qualifications of the anesthesiologist- your safety during the surgery largely depends on him. Pay attention if the personnel with whom you interact is nice, friendly, well-informed, reply promptly to emails and communicate clearly in your language (especially doctors and nurses!). Ask about the patient’s rights (eg. confidentiality of your medical records) in the country where you undergo the surgery. You should also ask about the recovery period and the opportunity to spend it in the clinic. Professional care after the surgery has a huge impact on the final result and well-being of the patient.
1. American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Choosing a cosmetic surgeon. http://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/patient-resources/choosing- a-cosmetic-surgeon/
2. Neil Lunt, Richard Smith, Mark Exworthy, Stephen T. Green, Daniel Horsfall and Russell Mannion. Medical Tourism: Treatments, Markets and Health System Implications: A scoping review. OECD http://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/48723982.pdf
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