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Cautionary tips before taking the cosmetic surgery plunge

Medical tourism can be dangerous. Laws may differ; regulations may differ; problems with after care may arise.

Photo courtesy Unsplash
Photo courtesy Unsplash

Popular cosmetic surgery procedures include breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery and facelifts. However, those thinking about cosmetic procedures — whether surgical or non-invasive — should know which ones to consider and which ones to avoid. This is advice provided by Dr. Richard Westreich, a practicing New York City plastic surgeon.

According to Westreich it is important to understand which treatments are optimal for the current season, as well as putting together suitable questions to ask their doctors as well as key safety concerns to keep in mind.

According to Westreich: “Avoid resurfacing procedures, laser treatments, body surgery and neck treatments (if you care about looking a little swollen in public)…Summer is the time for non-invasive face and body treatments since you can’t cover up.”

He added that whilst breast augmentations can be done year round, laser treatments should be planned for October or November.

In terms of general advice, Westreich cautions that for whichever procedure an individual is considering, due diligence is still the best defence against potential post-operative problems.

To aid readers weighing up a cosmetic surgery procedure, Westreich  outlines some safety tips that can improve a person’s chances of a better outcome. These are:

  • Tip 1: Make sure any doctor you schedule through a virtual visit allows you to cancel AFTER an in-person meeting for surgery. There is no substitute for face to face.
  • Tip 2: Your health doesn’t belong in the bargain bin.
  • Tip 3: Medical tourism can be dangerous. Laws may differ; regulations may differ; problems with after care may arise.
  • Tip 4: Understand informed consent. Ask for examples of not only the good outcomes but also the potential bad ones. Ask for data specific to the procedure and the doctor performing it (complication rates, death rates).
  • Tip 5: Surgery belongs in accredited operating rooms. Ask to see accreditation certificate (AAA, AAAA, JCAHO).
  • Tip 6: Make sure the board certification of a doctor makes sense for the procedure they are performing.
  • Tip 7: If significant issues arise after a procedure (surgery or office injection), seek a second opinion on management.

While some of these tips are rooted within the U.S. healthcare system, they are sufficiently broad as to provide a cautionary note for those who are less committed about seeking an elective procedure.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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