CDC Warns Against Traveling Overseas for Plastic Surgery

Beautiful woman at airport

Each year, particularly during the summertime, upward of 750,000 Americans travel abroad, not for leisure but to undergo medical treatment that’s either unavailable or deemed too costly here in the United States. Many of these unsuspecting travelers are crossing borders and oceans specifically for plastic surgery. If you’re considering seeking cosmetic procedures outside of the US, you’ll want to reconsider when you hear what health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have to say.

Prompted by an August 2013 incident in which a Maryland doctor treated two women who had developed serious infections after undergoing cosmetic surgery at the same Dominican Republic clinic, CDC officials launched a nationwide probe into the issue. Investigators soon identified 21 people in six states who had recently received surgery in the Dominican Republic and were infected with rapidly growing mycobacteria (RGM), a bacteria that can cause or aggravate a range of potentially devastating medical conditions. These include posttraumatic and postsurgical wound infections, bone and joint infections, catheter-related infections, postinjection abscesses, disseminated cutaneous disease, pulmonary disease, central nervous system disease and cervical lymphadenitis.

Of the victims identified, 15 had undergone liposuction, 12 abdominoplasty, eight buttocks augmentation, six breast augmentation and four breast reduction. They reported a range of symptoms including severe swelling, pain, scarring and fluid drainage. Eight were hospitalized, some more than once. Medical records made available to media for nine of the patients revealed they underwent surgery, which included procedures like drainage or implant removal, to treat their infections.

Thirteen had visited the same clinic in the Dominican Republic as the first two women treated. That clinic since has closed, according to the country’s Ministry of Health. Just how the infections were caused remains unknown, but Dr. Doug Esposito, a medical epidemiologist‎ with the CDC’s Travelers’ Health Branch, says “any breach in sterile technique” can cause bacteria to get into a person’s wound.

A survey of the patients revealed that 90 percent of them chose to travel abroad for cosmetic surgery at least in part to save money. Cost analysis research shows that patients can save upward of 88 percent on cosmetic procedures outside the US. Unfortunately for many of them, the potential for dire health consequences and costs related to corrective treatments can be devastating. That’s primarily because acceptable standards of care often are far lower in other countries than here in the US.

“[Medical tourism] is a rapidly growing market, and we have relatively little data on the extent of this practice,” Esposito said. “We need to understand the nature of the problem and the risks people might be experiencing.”

Don’t take chances with your looks or, more importantly, your health. If you live in the Northeast Florida area and are considering cosmetic surgery, call 904-396-1186 to schedule a consultation with Parkway Plastic Surgery’s board-certified cosmetic surgeon.

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All services require appointments. Call 904-396-1186 to schedule


Healthy Skincare Tips for Men’s Health Month

Attractive man using face cream

June is Men’s Health Month, a nationwide initiative aimed at raising awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. If you’re looking to improve your health, why not begin with your skin? After all, first impressions can be critical for success in a range of situations from social to career to romantic.

Parkway Plastic Surgery offers these tips for getting great looking skin:

  1. Take a cue from your lady: For many men, skincare products are limited to a bar of soap and a cheap razor. But for truly healthy, young-looking skin, you might want to take a cue from the women in your life – sort of. A thorough skincare routine should include a cleanser, toner and moisturizer, and there are many top-quality product lines that offer products tailored just for men.
  2. Shave smart: First, choose the right razor for your skin, particularly if you have coarse or curly hair or hair that grows in different directions – that means you’re more prone to ingrown hairs. Choose a razor with just two or three blades. Also, always lather up to shave, as dry shaving can cause friction that leads to cuts, acne and ingrown hair. And most of all, shave with, not against the direction of hair growth to avoid inflammation.
  3. Minimize sun exposure: Not only will this help ward off wrinkles that can quickly add years to your look, but being smart about sun exposure can help avoid skin cancer. Each year in the US, upward of 47,000 men are diagnosed with melanoma and the disease kills some 6,750 men. Wear a high-SPF sunscreen daily.
  4. Take it up a notch: Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, Botox and dermal fillers aren’t just for women. Men increasingly are choosing these and other cosmetic procedures to help keep them looking as young as they feel. In fact, the latest statistics show that more than 385,000 Botox procedures are administered to male patients each year.
  5. Go all in: Men also increasingly are undergoing cosmetic surgeries, too. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2015 53,248 men underwent rhinoplasty; 29,906 opted for eyelid surgery; 11,963 got facelifts.

Celebrate Men’s Health Month with a skin health and confidence boost. Call Jacksonville’s Parkway Plastic Surgery at 904-396-1186 to schedule a consultation today.

Check out our Gentlemen’s Facial special available throughout June.