As advanced technology makes plastic surgery more affordable and attainable than ever before, a growing trend is becoming increasingly concerning to doctors in America. About 750,000 U.S citizens are traveling out of the country every year to receive medical care and plastic surgery. But they aren’t going to such measures to find the best doctors in the industry. Instead, these 750,000 people are usually seeking cheaper procedure rates than can be found in America.This might sound like a prudent cost-saving technique on the outside, but this trend known as medical tourism is actually placing many people at risk of serious diseases and even death.
Tales From the Dominican Republic
About three years ago, a Maryland doctor received a visit from two different women who had developed major infections. While that’s not exactly breaking news in a medical facility, the fact that both women were suffering from the same infection after undergoing cosmetic surgery at the same clinic in the Dominican Republic certainly caught the doctor’s attention. The two women knew a third person in Massachusetts with the same situation.
After many tests, the infection was identified as rapidly growing mycobacteria, or RGM, which is a bacteria resistant to standard antibiotics. Fortunately, the doctor reported the Maryland Department of Health, who then turned to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevented to launch an investigation. In total, 21 people in six states contracted RGM from the same Dominican clinic. Liposuction, abdominoplasty, buttocks augmentation, breast augmentation, and breast reduction were the procedures completed when the infection was spread.
While the Dominican Republic clinic in question has now been closed, experts believe that the clinic either failed to maintain a sterile environment or committed a breach in sterile technique, either of which would have caused bacteria to enter a patient’s wounds during surgery.
Medical tourism is still growing despite these horror stories, so all patients are cautioned to consider the quality and safety of procedures in America compared to the risky yet cheaper alternatives in other countries.