Many, if not hundreds of thousands of plastic surgical cases are performed each year throughout the world. Some Americans seeking cheap fees travel around the world. When they return to America experiencing complications they wonder why local surgeons are reluctant if not adamant about not accepting them as patients.
It is in most states a requirement that a surgeon is available to care for his post-op patients. Especially if they have surgical complications that may require further surgery or hospitalization. In fact in most states in order to have hospital privileges, a surgeon must demonstrate to his peers that he’s capable of not only performing the surgical procedures but caring for the postop problems should they arise.
It is unethical and in some instances illegal for physicians to push off postop care. As well as complications to a different doctor. We as board-certified plastic surgeons in America take great pride and have responsibility for our post-op patients. For an American to have surgery outside the country and then expect a local plastic surgeon to care for that patient is extremely difficult. Without a prearranged agreement between the local surgeon and the out of country operating surgeon, it can be an impossible situation. There’s a saying: once I provide care that problem becomes mine.
As physicians, we are obligated to render the best care possible. However, we are not responsible for caring for patients who have had major surgical procedures out of the country. It’s best for the patient in this situation to return to the operating surgeon. And, have that individual provide the required postoperative care. Only that surgeon has intimate knowledge of the surgical procedure performed and the anatomy addressed. Furthermore, there are significant medical-legal issues that the local surgeon is not obligated to absorb.
In summary, it’s best that if you seek out of the country surgical procedures that you return to that operating surgeon. This is to obtain the entirety of your postop follow up care especially if you have a complication. In short in my opinion, the cost savings are not worth the extra added risk that the patient absorbs by traveling outside the country. It’s just not worth it.