Destination Beautiful: The Logistics of Traveling for Plastic Surgery

There are lots of reasons why traveling for plastic surgery can be practical or even fun. Many patients who venture to a different city or state cite discretion as a big factor, banking on the anonymity to keep their surgeries on the down-low. Others are tempted by a particular surgeon’s expertise, and still others just want to get away and come back looking their very best.

Whatever your motivation, it’s important to take your time when you make this decision. Here, check out our quick guide to what you can expect when you start the out-of-town plastic surgery process.

Online Consultations

Many plastic surgeons in tourist-heavy areas offer online, or “virtual,” consultations to streamline the process for patients interested in visiting from out of town. A virtual consultation does have some limitations when compared to an in-person visit, but it’s a good option for patients considering a surgeon who isn’t within driving distance.

Depending on the procedure you’re considering, your surgeon may ask you to send photos of your face or body in advance. This allows the doctor to evaluate your candidacy. Like any plastic surgery consultation, you should be prepared to discuss your medical history, long- and short-term goals, and your own vision for your results. If you decide to book surgery with a doctor following an online consultation, plan to undergo an in-person pre-op appointment a few days before your surgery date.

Consider Your Recovery

In all but the most minimally invasive procedures, patients should plan to stay close to their surgeon’s office for at least a week. Occasionally, a surgeon will request to see a patient the day after surgery for a quick follow-up appointment. Often, the 1-week mark is when most surgeons remove sutures, drains, and other post-surgery devices. Even if you have a relatively minor procedure, it’s prudent to stay nearby in case any unexpected symptoms or concerns arise that require an examination.

Factor in Extra Expenses…

Cost is a major consideration for almost all plastic surgery patients. When surgery also involves travel, the cost of the surgery itself is no longer the sole concern. Travel to and from your surgeon’s city, accommodations, food, and transport once you’re there can all add up. It’s also smart to budget for more than you think you’ll need in case you unexpectedly need to stay for an extra day or two.

…and Weigh the Pros and Cons

While traveling for plastic surgery can be a preferable option for many patients, it’s not right for everyone. Consider why you’re drawn to a specific long-distance surgeon. One popular reason for traveling is to see a surgeon who specializes in the procedure you’re interested in. For example, Dr. William Burden of Destin Plastic Surgery, near Panama City, Florida, is the creator of a breast augmentation technique called “No Scar on the Breast®.” It makes use of a small incision in the armpit for attractive, well-proportioned breasts that don’t have scars directly on them. This technique, coupled with his office’s beautiful coastal location, makes him popular with patients from around the region and even the world.

In any case, it’s vitally important to do your research. Your surgeon should be working at the top of his or her field to be deserving of your travel time and resources. Be sure you’re seeing a board-certified plastic surgeon, preferably one with demonstrated expertise in your procedure of choice. Take a look at before-and-after photos, read online reviews, and get to know your surgeon as much as possible before booking your plane tickets.