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Dr. Stephens on 'medical tourism' for cosmetic surgery

Dr. Stephens on 'medical tourism' for cosmetic surgery

News presenter: WBRZ news 2 at 4:00. Today American Society of Plastic Surgeons released their breakdown of the almost 16 million procedures done in 2014, here it is. Breast augmentations were down so was nose reshaping and facelifts but the big changes came from behind augmentations on the backside saw a 15% increase from 2013 to 2014 while the biggest difference came in lifts at 44% and implants, well they were up 98%. Some patients said they could write Kardashian sisters were their inspiration to get plumper backside, picture here is Kim and Chloe with the increase in elective procedures so could the expenses for them but some are looking to reduce those costs by going out of the United States to do so. Certified Baton Rouge plastic surgeon Dr. Anthony Stephens joins us now to talk about what’s dubbed as medical tourism.

Anthony Stephens: Yes, you know traveling out of the country is nothing new for medical care or surgical care, but usually it’s been from poor countries to the wealthier countries if you will for better care. Now we’re seeing just the opposite. Patients traveling even from the west, even to India as we’ve talked about before, for cheaper or lower cost, because you know face it, cosmetic surgery is not covered by insurance and so it since the globalization of cosmetic surgery and so we’re seeing more and more of this as time goes on.

News presenter: So, it’s cheaper.

Anthony Stephens: It can be cheaper.

News presenter: But what are the problems with this?

Anthony Stephens: Correct, it you know, begs the question. What are we really getting for low-cost dollars over there, so people are traveling out of the country for these procedures and they may or may not have standardizations in some of these clinics that they’re, that they’re offering and so patients really need to be aware and they need to ask the questions, what are we really getting is it safe, are we getting a you know, qualified people to even do general anesthetic for us and so what if we have a problem you know, what if we have an infection, are we going to travel back to the foreign country to be taken care of there? Probably not you know, we’re seeing problems even in Louisiana with patients that have had buttock injections now with infections that we’re seeing here in the South Louisiana area and so it’s come back home to us even here.

News presenter: And you mentioned that when they come back they might not be covered by insurance?

Anthony Stephens: Well obviously it’s probably not covered by insurance and so this has a big problem for these patients. One, how did, how do we take care of them , two I mean beyond just the expense of it I mean they’re, their health risk I mean some of these patients have even died because of these type of infections that we’re now seeing and so you have to be very careful about who’s performing this, making sure that these clinics are accredited, now there are a number of board certified plastic surgeons from the United States that have clinics abroad and I think that, that is fine but you need to research that and make sure that those are the people that you are in fact going to and so it begs the question, you know like we talked about before or are we really is it really saving money or we’re just opening up Pandora’s box to a whole other plethora of problems.

News presenter: And those numbers that we read a little bit ago, I mean just skyrocketing.

Anthony Stephens: Yes, astounding and we’re actually we’re actually seeing even more, we talked about the decline of breast augmentation in the United States, we were seeing an increase actually in Europe for breast augmentations so we’re seeing more and more of this even in Europe from like an augmentation standpoint where the numbers are even increased over there and so it begs, you know why not travel of these other countries, but if we do that we really need to be careful and make sure we’re getting what we think we’re buying into.

News presenter: Check everything out.

Anthony Stephens: Yup, yes twice, three times.

News presenter: Okay, Dr. Anthony Stephens thank you so much. You’re watching WBRZ news 2 at 4:00 we’ll be right back.

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