Tourism Surgery: Good or Bad Idea?

Frequently, our patients inquire whether they should have their cosmetic surgical procedure performed outside of Alberta and Canada to save money. Usually they are considering Mexico or Latin America and are basing their decision on web searches and occasionally on experiences of family or friends.  

As an Edmonton based cosmetic surgeon, I generally state that I think this is a bad idea! A rhinoplasty or facelift or any surgical procedure is a significant undertaking. It is so important to develop a rapport or relationship with your surgeon.  A detailed pre-operative consultation at least several weeks prior to surgery gives you time to consider the risks and benefits of surgery and allows the surgeon and his staff time to plan for and co-ordinate all aspects of surgery.  All facial plastic procedures (blepharoplasty, facelifts and rhinoplasties) have possible complications, sometimes require revision surgery and in all cases, require close follow up in the first 1-2 weeks after surgery.

Why are cosmetic surgical services cheaper outside of North America?  The surgical equipment is not cheaper. Realistically the cost of maintaining a clean safe sterile surgical environment can’t be cheaper. If surgery is cheaper- costs must be cut somewhere. Is there a board-certified anesthesiologist present? Are the surgical and recovery nurses certified?  Which government agency is monitoring and certifying the surgical facility? Finally, once you add in travel costs, airfare, hotel are you really saving?

I strongly believe that if you require surgery of any type and if that surgery is available and can be performed by experienced board-certified surgeons in your geographic area-that is your safest and best option. Should you wish to schedule a consultation please contact us.

Dr. Keohane