Dear Dr. Manny,
Is plastic surgery safe? I know so many people get it because they think their faces don’t look right, but surely it can’t be right to cut your face open for no reason? And what is "medical tourism?"
Thanks for your question.
Absolutely no medical procedure or surgery is risk-free. That being said, plastic surgery has been proven to be very safe indeed. Most people who get plastic surgery from competent doctors do not suffer unexpected side effects.
Always check the qualifications and the history of the doctor performing your surgery, but as long as he or she knows what they are doing, then you have a very high chance of recovering perfectly.
Make sure that you inform your doctor of your complete medical history before the surgery. Give them the list of all prescription and non-prescription drugs that you are currently taking. Your doctor should also give you a complete physical before the procedure, just to rule anything out.
Some people will experience blood clots if they have pre-existing conditions. You are also at risk if you: are obese; have had a recent injury; have a nervous system disorder; a history of cancer; genetic issues that lead to blood clotting; take oral contraceptives; are undergoing hormonal replacement therapy; or smoke regularly. This may not disqualify you, but it does need to be taken into account.
Fewer than 1 percent of people who have had plastic surgery experience complications. Some people will have a severe reaction to the anesthesia, which may include blood clots, brain damage, a heart attack, irregular heartbeats, hyperthermia, nerve damage, a stroke, or paralysis.
People who smoke are also at high risk for skin death or necrosis.
"Medical tourism," meanwhile, is when someone travels out of the country looking for a less expensive health procedure. Some countries actually promote medical tourism because patients tend to stay in the country afterward to see the sights.
Some patients also travel to find better rates on plastic surgery. This is not recommended, because lower costs may indicate a lower quality of care, and a higher risk for complications.