The Dangers of Overseas Plastic Surgery

Healthcare is one of the most controversial and complicated issues in modern America. How do we assure that our friends and loved ones get the attention they need without breaking the bank? It’s important to explore all of your options with your doctor and insurance provider, but some people don’t have the patience for this process or the cash.

That’s why they often resort to seeking cosmetic surgery abroad. 

From Canada to the UK and Singapore to Israel, Americans are traveling internationally to undergo certain procedures in hopes of getting them performed for a lower cost than they would pay here at home. According to one study, a large number of these surgeries are cosmetic in nature.

But is it worth the globetrotting? Here are some important considerations to make before you hop a plane to engage in medical tourism…

Communication Is Key

The first important factor to consider seems obvious, but it can’t be overstated: do you speak the language of your desired destination? If so, how fluently do you converse? It is imperative to be able to communicate effortlessly and pointedly with your medical team to ensure the utmost transparency and openness. For example, if you are experiencing pain or discomfort, you must convey the specifics of your predicament to elicit the proper remedy.

Now revisit that initial line of questioning. Are you sure that you can accurately translate your health status into another language, no matter what that status may be… or how it could suddenly change?

Verifying Credentials 

You’ve done your homework. You know what procedure you want. But is your surgeon as prepared as you are? You want to fully vet his or her credentials before putting your trust in their care. It’s a simple process in the United States because you can search their accreditation with well-established organizations like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, but it becomes much more complicated overseas.

Is there a comparable organization in your host country? If you don’t know the answer, then more research is inevitable.

Risk Assessment 

With any surgical situation, there are inherent risks. Clotting, swelling, and general pain management are parts of the landscape you must maneuver when you’re recovering from a procedure. You should ask yourself a few important questions before you embark upon a medical journey through a foreign land.

  • How long will I be visiting this country?
  • How expensive is it to stay in the local hospital while I recuperate?
  • Will I have access to the appropriate pain meds?
  • What about other resources like antibiotics and sterile equipment?
  • If an infection should occur, do I trust this medical team to deal with the consequences?

Backup Plan

Many cosmetic procedures require a follow-up visit to ensure quality control as well as aesthetic satisfaction. If you are only preparing for a short trip, then your time (and budget) may not afford such recourse. In such an eventuality, you will need to schedule your follow-up appointment back in the states, in which case it defeats the purpose of getting the surgery performed overseas in the first place. You’ll pay the same amount and require more time to catch your surgeon up to speed with what was done abroad.

Legal Concerns

You should always hope for the best and prepare for the worst, so it’s worth asking: what if something goes wrong during surgery? Are you protected by any local laws, such as the malpractice ordinances that are in place in America? If not, you could be saddled not only with exorbitant medical bills but also astronomical legal fees, all to compensate for what you thought would be a bargain of a cosmetic procedure. Which brings us to the bottom line…

You Get What You Pay For

The allure of inexpensive medical care is understandable. After all, a lap band procedure may cost less than half as much in Mexico as it does in the United States. But if any of the aforementioned complications arise (clotting, legal issues, additional medical needs), then that price tag balloons to much more than the procedure would have cost in the first place if you had stayed north of the border.

What About the Remainder of Your Vacation?

Did you book this trip just for the cosmetic surgery appointment? Or were you also planning to go exploring while abroad? If so, will you be able to travel, cavort, swim, and generally live it up in your post-surgical state? Be sure to ask your doctors (both at home and overseas) what your limitations will be, and factor those risks into your vacation plans.

Booking the Return Flight

Not only will your international itinerary be hindered by your post-operative healthcare needs; you also might not be able to fly back home right away. Many facial procedures require that the patient not endure rapid changes in altitude. Airline travel can put undue pressure on your capillaries and passageways, so your jet-setting lifestyle must take a back seat to the recuperation process.

If you still have questions about the dangers and difficulties of so-called “medical tourism”, then please don’t hesitate to contact our office. We’ll take the time to consult with you about the costs and benefits of your desired procedure – no passport required!


What Happens to Your Facial Skin During Winter

As the temperature drops so does your skin’s ability to fend off the ravages of Mother Nature. Harsh winds and dry air remove the natural oils from your epidermis, making it dry and prone to irritation. The skin can become itchy and painful, and conditions like eczema and psoriasis can act up. Winter weather does its best to damage your skin, but there are several precautions you can take to lessen the most severe punishments doled out by these chilly months.


In addition to bundling your body with as many layers as possible, be sure to remember the most important layer: your skin. Whenever your bare flesh is exposed to the elements, they take their toll. By applying a moisturizer with the proper SPF, you multiply your skin’s defense against the weather. Even though sunblock is considered a summer accessory, SPF actually stands for “sun protection factor” – and the sun shines year round. “Protection” is the key word of the popular phrase/acronym, so protect yourself heartily this winter. And for the best defense, just add water…


Water is the essential building block of all life, so any physician would agree that hydration is the key to great health. Stock up on H2O, but be wary of how you sip it. Drinking directly from a cup or bottle leaves watery residue on your lips. When that runoff evaporates, it draws your natural oils with it. This can result in chapped lips, which triggers a thirst for more water, creating a vicious cycle. Instead, you should drink from a straw and be sure to apply a petroleum-based salve on your lips at the first signs of chapping or chafing.

But it’s not enough to just imbibe water; you should also incorporate moisture into your daily routine and environment. Many people use humidifiers to “winterize” their homes. Ideally, the humidity should measure between 30 and 50 percent (this can be measured with a hygrometer). But external hydration has its limits, so don’t overdo it.


While long, hot showers can feel like a welcome reprieve from the February climate, the heated water is harsh on your skin. Keep your bath time brief and use gentle soaps with moisturizing ingredients. After your shower, use a towel to pat dry. Rubbing with a rough cloth can irritate your skin. This rule also applies to the inner layers that you don when you get dressed, so avoid wools and polyester; the more contact these itchy fabrics have with your skin, the more they irritate it. Instead, wear breathable fabrics that are more conducive to the maintenance of healthy skin.


The dead cells accumulating on the surface of your skin can prevent the growth of healthier replacement cells, so exfoliation is vital to battling the winter blues. By removing these dead cells, you prevent them from clogging up your pores and worsening the irritation of the cold weather. You can exfoliate at home or get more thorough treatments from a cosmetic or plastic surgeon. At-home exfoliators can include jojoba scrubs, beads, fruit enzymes, and other treatments.

Alternately, you could opt for professional skin resurfacing treatment such as chemical peels, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion, or laser resurfacing treatments. Regardless of the type of exfoliation, be sure to moisturize well afterward, as the process strips your skin of its protective layer of oils.


Once you’ve taken steps to protect your skin against further damage from the cold, you need to resupply your skin with the hydration that it has already lost. You should also apply ample moisturizers to both promote cell health and replace the protective barrier of your epidermis. Your moisturizer should be oil based rather than water based (rule of thumb: many moisturizers marketed as “night creams” are oil based), but be careful to use oils that won’t clog your pores, like mineral oil, primrose oil, avocado oil, or almond oil. Avoid shea oil and shea butter. Ideally, your moisturizer will contain humectants, which are ingredients that promote your skin’s natural hydration. Ingredients to seek out include glycerine, sorbitol, and alpha-hydroxy acids.


To maximize your healthiest glow during the winter, be sure to visit a medical professional. A dermatologist can help you determine the best routine to ensure the health of your skin. Additionally, a plastic surgeon who specializes in facial cosmetic procedures can strategize the smartest ways to keep your skin looking its best the whole year through.

Based out of Los Angeles, Dr. William J. Binder is considered one of the world’s best plastic surgeons. He is double board certified, has been extensively published, and has 10 patents on various medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

Give your skin the care and consideration it deserves, especially in the severe and stressful winter months. Contact Dr. Binder’s office today to schedule your consultation.