India is new medical tourism hot spot, but safety is in question

February 13, 2012

India is new medical tourism hot spot, but safety is in question
India is new medical tourism hot spot, but safety is in question

India is becoming a popular destination among medical tourists looking to get plastic surgery at bargain prices. According to ModernGhana.com, the cost of surgery in India can be one-tenth of what it is in the United States or Western Europe, and sometimes even less when performed in India. For example, a full facelift that would cost $20,000 in the U.S. may cost just $1,250 in India, according to the news source.

In addition to low costs, India boasts world-class medical facilities and English-speaking doctors, according to the Vancouver Sun. They report that medical tourism is becoming more widespread in India, especially the cosmetic surgery sector, which industry experts say is growing between 20 and 30 percent annually. It is expected that the number of medical tourists in India is expected to reach one million this year.

While there are no statistics available about problems arising from plastic surgeries performed outside of the US, complications such as serious infections and even death are not unheard of, according to The Huffington Post.

As seen with the high case of rupture in the French PIP breast implants, what is regulated and approved in other countries is not always acceptable in the US – and for good reason. It is reported that over 300,000 women have had PIP implants around the world and many are coming forward to have them replaced or removed.

A recent survey in the medical publication, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, found that over 80% of board-certified US plastic surgeons polled have dealt with complications from surgery performed abroad. The majority of patients had breast augmentation and body contouring procedures and most required multiple operations and hospitalization due to their complications. The number one complication was infection, followed by dehiscence or rupture, abnormal contours and hematoma.

Those considering traveling to another country to undergo a cosmetic procedure should know the risks associated with the procedure beforehand and ensure their doctor and facility is licensed in that country. Without the proper research and preparation, the dangers could be life-threatening. 


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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