A Woman's Guide to Breast Augmentation
and Breast Implants
Find an ImplantInfo Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Near You

What to Know Before You Go Abroad for A Breast Enhancement

July 27, 2012

Breast Augmentation Abroad
Women who choose to have their breast augmentation abroad do so mainly for the cost benefit as it is an elective procedure which can be less expensive in another country. Some women also wish to combine the surgery with a spa vacation to make recovery more pleasant and ensure proper healing time before returning to day-to-day life. Though both are valid reasons to look into surgery abroad, there are important aspects of surgery to examine before booking your flight.

Consider the following: Hidden Costs

Initial costs aren’t always calculated accurately as hidden expenses can arise. You must consider travel and lodging costs, as well as surgeons’ fees, hospital fees, anesthesia, after-care costs, and any additional fees relating to the procedure. No matter how much planning or research you do prior to going abroad for surgery, there is always the potential for things to go wrong, resulting in unforeseen expenses.

Language Barrier

The relationship between you and your cosmetic surgeon is extremely important in order to receive the desired results from your surgery. It is important to be able to openly discuss the size of your implants, your body type, and your lifestyle in order to set realistic expectations. Seeking treatment from clinics in countries where English is not the native language can result in a language barrier that may affect the your results as the communication between you and your surgeon may not be clear.

Complications During Surgery

There is always the possibility of complications with any surgical procedure. The risks of breast augmentation complications increase when the medical facilities, doctor and anesthesiologist aren't held to a high medical standard by an accredidation process. The aristry of surgery requires a skilled hand; every patient is different and the implants should compliment the figure. Do your research before you let anyone perform ANY cosmetic prodedures on your body.

Adverse Reactions that Require Immediate Aftercare

The recovery period of breast augmentation surgery, which can last several weeks, requires aftercare and monitoring. During this time, it is extremely important that you see your surgeon regularly for check-ups to be sure there are no complications or bad reactions to the implants. Deflation, ruptures, heavy and infected scar tissue around the implant (capsular contracture), bleeding, and infection of the surrounding tissue can occur. These types of adverse reactions and complications require extensive aftercare and possibly implant removal. Unless you plan an extended post-surgery stay abroad to allow for the weeks of check-ups, you will also need back up medical care once at home.  

Cosmetic Complications Which Occur Over Time

Other complications can occur naturally over time and may require a return visit to your surgeon. These include the rippling or wrinkling of the implants, the implants slipping below the tissue or inframmary crease, bulging areas and veins in the breast lobe, or a simple dissatisfaction with the results after the implants have settled. Any of these conditions would require a post operative visit to the surgeon to correct. If you have had you surgery abroad, you would need to either return or seek another medical provider for care at home.

Types of Implants

In the US, you have the choice of saline implants or silicone gel implants. While there are advantages and disadvantages to either, both have been rigorously tested and approved by the FDA as safe for implantation in the body. An important factor to consider when scheduling surgery abroad is whether the surgeon uses a type of implants that meets the standards of the FDA. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself at risk.

Faulty Implants

According to MedPage Today, there have been thousands of faulty implants sold in Brazil, Mexico, Latin America, and France. Defective implants made from an inferior grade of silicon have been associated with irritation and inflammation, and they are far more likely to ooze, leak or burst. In France, November 2010, a reported eight women who had received defective implants died of cancer. This raises more concerns about the effects of this inferior-grade silicone often used in implants found outside of the FDA’s jurisdiction.

Lifetime of the Implants/Implant Replacement

According to the FDA, implants are not designed to remain in the body for a lifetime. It is recommend that they be removed or replaced every 10 years. This becomes complicated when the surgery is done abroad as the replacement implants may differ from the originals. This can increase the chances of irritation or infection, as well as change the overall look and feel.  

Length of Stay and Air Travel

If you have traveled overseas for your breast enlargement surgery, air travel itself can be taxing on the body. Upon your return, you are also in recovery. It is important to clear and confirm with your surgeon when it is safe for you to travel by plane. Air travel too soon after surgery increases the chance of blood clots.
With all of these risks to consider, planning surgery abroad is a big decision. Be sure to do your research, check credentials, testimonials, hidden costs, health risks, emergency services available, and have a good post operative back-up care plan before you travel for surgery. 



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Dr. Alberto Pierini , Dr. Stephanie Stover , Dr. Marina Vargas De Vera Board Certified Plastic Surgeons
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Dr. Richard Hainer Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
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