There is a series of female Americans with infection after undergoing cosmetic procedures in the Dominican Republic. A report from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states 21 women to be infected with mycobacteria after visiting 5 different plastic surgery clinics in the Caribbean nation. Mycobacteria is a type of germ that infects the skin or lungs and is difficult to treat. Several of the women had been hospitalized to treat the infection.

Effects of infection from medical tourism

According to Dr. Chares Daley, an infectious disease physician, mycobacteria is a very mutilating infection. Swelling, pain and scarring are just some of the symptoms and often require reconstructive surgery to be treated. Although it is still unknown how these women were infected, the bacteria possibly had entered the wounds through contaminated tap water or the instruments used in surgery. 

Saving money through medical tourism 

One of the reasons for medical tourism’s trend is that it can save you money. Nonetheless, the danger it poses can range from troublesome to catastrophic. One of the victims from the UK was Joy Williams. She flew to Thailand to get a buttock augmentation and developed an infection and died after receiving corrective surgery. The surgeon was charged with William’s death as he also was accused of carrying out the surgery without holding a license. 

More Australians are taking the risk

In 2012, a study published by the University of Leeds indicated that an estimate of over 15,000 Australians travel overseas, mainly to Bangkok, Phuket, and Malaysia, for cosmetic procedures yearly. As stated by the Australian co-author Dr. Meredith Jones from the University of Technology Sydney, there are 2 types of cosmetic tourists heading overseas. The first type is those who think long and hard about having a surgery and are determined to get it done. While the second type is those under the 30s who want breast implants. 

Risks of cosmetic procedures overseas

The risks of traveling overseas for surgery are substantial with cases of infection, botched jobs, and even death. The main risks you may experience with medical tourism are

  • Regulations

The regulations differ per country and in most cases, they are much weaker to Australia. A surgeon may present himself as qualified, but you may be unaware of his/her education, qualifications, or professional experience. In worst cases, he may not be a surgeon at all.

  • Materials are not standard approved 

There may be cases where implants may be fake especially overseas. In Australia, all cosmetic materials must be approved by Australian standards.

  • Risk of infections, hepatitis, and HIV

There is an increased risk of contracting infection overseas as doctors may share needles between patients and transmit diseases. Medication may be counterfeit or of poor quality. Blood supply may not be screened and increase the risk of HIV infection

  • Post-procedure complications

In the event of complications, the patients may need to undergo emergency surgery. There are instances where there is malpractice thereby leading to the development of potentially fatal conditions. 

Cosmetic procedures in Australia may not be as cheap overseas but it is a safer option. The risks and complications you may encounter abroad are without a doubt, not worth it. However, if you still find yourself considering overseas cosmetic surgery and treatments, speak with our cosmetic doctors first at SKIN CLUB – Cosmetic Doctors. You can discuss your options and get medical advice before you book your flight. 

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