2 Sep 2013

Travel and Plastic Surgery

There are many reasons that patients travel to seek out surgery- lower expense, greater expertise, and privacy are common and legitimate advantages often stated by patients.   These advantages must be balanced against the potential disadvantages of travelling for surgery.

  1. Travel carries the risk of deep vein thrombosis (clots forming in legs a.k.a DVT) and embolism to the lungs (PE).  There is increased risk of  DVT/PE with surgery in general, and this is multiplied if you are stuck stationary in a plane or car for hours.  Your surgeon should give you advice on precautions to take on both your trip to and from surgery to minimize this risk.
  2. Travel can result in you being very far from your surgeon when you develop a complication, and if you start making compromises in managing the complication the outcome will be less favourable.  Again, if you and your surgeon anticipate these possibilities and make plans to deal with them, the risks can be minimized.
  3. Travel may take you into a jurisdiction where you do not have the benefit of medical insurance.  In the unlikely event that you suffered a complication and needed hospitalization after a procedure, would you need to pay the substantial costs of this adventure?
  4. Especially if you are travelling to another country for surgery, you should make every effort to confirm the quality of service that is available.  We have seen several patients who have acquired bizarre infections from surgery abroad, and would particularly discourage anyone from travelling abroad simply to save on fees.  The costs of managing complications once you return home will quickly overcome any initial savings.
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Michael Kreidstein, MD, MSc, FRCS(C)

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  • Posted on Nov 25 2013 By Daniel

    I am too visiting Russia. Good to know.

  • Posted on Nov 25 2013 By Dr. Michael Kreidstein

    Yes, provided there is a two-week window prior to surgery.

  • Posted on Nov 25 2013 By Michael Ramsey

    Thanks for this information. I was wondering what the impact of my upcoming trip to Russia would have on my surgery soon. Looks like I should be safe since it’s quite a long way in the future.

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