India is definitely a great choice for cosemtic surgery because of the plethora of exclusive plastic surgeons and clinics for overseas patients. Some hospitals are actually in the process of signing up American and European Board Certified surgeons to commute to these centers. The idea is to take advantage of the lower cost structure in India. Some Indian surgeons are fully qualified to work in the US, but again for cost reasons, prefer to operate in India. There are clinics in other countries such as Brazil, Thailand, the Eastern European countries and Mexico that are starting to offer plastic surgery packages at less expensive choices.
Make sure that you don’t get into trouble
• Do some research on the web about the plastic surgeon and the clinic/hospital. Carefully note the doctor’s credentials and any comments from past patients.
• Ask around. If anyone you know has had a procedure done overseas, use that knowledge in making up your mind.
• Don’t just walk into the surgery room. Arrive a day or two early. Take a tour of the facilities, and schedule a session with your surgeon so that you can ask all your questions.
• If the surgeon or the clinic/hospital is not willing to meet your requests or acts suspicious (for example, refusing to answer all your queries) or you have any other doubts, look around more. There are many other choices.
How to pick the right plastic surgeon
Like you would research to pick any other doctor for treating you, the same needs to be done when picking a plastic surgeon. It is important that the plastic surgeon is competent and also has proper backup systems in place so that if something goes wrong, you are in good hands. It is surgery, after all.
• Check out the surgeon’s qualifications and experience: The most important parameter undoubtedly is your doctor’s training in the related field. It is important to find out what procedures your doctor specializes in, how many he or she has performed, and how recently. Though often overlooked, it is important to find out whether the surgery/correction you are considering forms a significant chunk of your surgeon’s practice. For example, the results of a Rhinoplasty would be best in the hands of someone who specializes in them, rather than a ‘general’ plastic surgeon who spends most of the time in tummy liposuctions!
• Check out the surgeon’s reputation in the field: How well is your surgeon known among his peers in his specialty is on more parameter that defines an excellent surgeon.
• Check out the hospital he is working in: It is important to make a note about the hospital your surgeon works in, the facilities available, especially multi-specialty support for complex problems, and trauma. The credibility and general reputation of the hospital would certainly have significant bearing on your surgical results, and this factor is as important as the surgeon.
• Take more opinions: Finally, you do not have to restrict yourselves to consulting just one physician. Second and third opinions, as well as blind opinions are well accepted today, even by the doctors. Do feel free to consult more than one doctor if you wish to!
Questions to ask your surgeon
• Are you certified by any recognized Board?
• What is the best procedure for me?
• Where and how will you perform my procedure?
• What are the risks involved with my procedure?
• Will my procedure need to be repeated?
• How much downtime should I expect?
• What is the recovery time of my procedure?
• How are the complications handled?
• How much will my procedure cost?
Is plastic surgery overseas as good as that in the US or in Europe?
The answer varies with the procedure involved but by and large, it is safe to assume that given appropriate due diligence, centres in India, Brazil and Thailand perform surgery as good as anywhere in the US and sometimes even better than in parts of the US. Why is that? One of the reasons is that surgery has a steep learning curve. Given the population that these centres and countries cater to, most surgeons in these parts of the world may gain more experience per year of practice as compared to surgeons in the US or Europe.