When it comes to breast augmentation procedures, it seems there are no true bargains. If you want to have this procedure done, it’s worth paying the costs for hiring a professional plastic surgeon who has significant expertise performing the procedure.
What happens if you ignore this advice and go looking for a bargain?
ABC news reports on a case where multiple Australian women suffered infections and other harmful effects after having breast augmentation surgery at a facility whose practitioners were not proper plastic surgeons. These women were sold on having their procedures performed at that facility because the surgery was dramatically less expensive there than it would have been at a plastic surgeon’s office. ABC news reports that many of the recipients of these procedures were low-income earners, so the pricing of the procedures was an important consideration for them. The price difference was significant; it was only $5,990, which seems like a bargain when compared against the usual cost of $10,000 to $13,000 you’d have to pay to have the procedure performed by a professional plastic surgeon.
But a high percentage of these cheap procedures resulted in infections, deformities and other complications, all of which were much more costly to fix. One patient who suffered from a post-surgery infection told ABC news that the total costs she’d incurred amounted to more than $70,000 for additional surgeries, accommodations and airline tickets.
These are out-of-pocket costs that must be absorbed by the patient, because Medicare and private health insurance providers typically do not cover them. When you factor in the costs of paying to fix a botched breast augmentation surgery, that’s when it becomes apparent that bargain plastic surgeries do not exist. In hindsight, these patients would clearly have been better off if they’d simply paid a professional the $13,000 for a procedure done correctly.
Across the pond, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital are also warning about the dangers of traveling to developing countries, particularly the Dominican Republic, to have plastic surgery procedures performed. They determined that breast augmentation procedures were some of the riskiest to have abroad, because they have frequently resulted in complications afterwards. They found that abdominoplasty was also a high-risk procedure to undergo abroad.
The researchers found that the patients they studied suffered from multiple issues including pain, difficulty with post-surgical wound healing, and infection from multi-drug resistant bacteria. A small number of the patients required multiple follow-up doctors’ visits to have damaged tissue or foreign objects removed from their wound sites.
The pain and issues with healing are not the only problematic things when complications arise after surgical trips gone awry. One of these researchers’ main concerns is that the high costs for the complications are not absorbed by the healthcare system in the country to which the patient has traveled. Some of the patients they spoke with relied on state-sponsored Medicaid or private health insurance in the United States to pay for the significant costs associated with fixing the failed plastic surgery procedures. With medical tourism estimated as being a multi-billion-dollar a year industry, such costs to the healthcare system could potentially add up to an incredible sum.
The main takeaways: If you want to have a breast augmentation procedure done, stay at home to do it; and don’t be fooled by the cheap “boob factories” that are springing up across Australia. Be sure to check the credentials of the doctor who’ll be performing your procedure. Ideally, you’ll want to ensure you’re consulting with a local, professional plastic surgeon who holds a proper medical degree. For example, Dr. Bernard Beldholm MBBS, BSc (Med), who performs breast augmentation surgeries for Cosmos Clinic, has exactly the type of credentials you’d want to seek out.
Even if you see a well-trained professional plastic surgeon, you should be aware that breast augmentation surgery is not a risk-free procedure. Be sure your doctor advises you of the risks beforehand – and the costs you’ll incur if complications arise and you need to fix something gone awry. Only proceed with the surgery if you find the risk to reward ratio acceptable. Seeing a professional and understanding the risks beforehand are the two surest ways to avoid disappointment when it comes to breast augmentation surgery.
Cosmos Clinic is a commercial partner of RESCU.com.au
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