Virginia Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon on Risks of Medical Tourism
Leesburg, VA — A recent study conducted by treatmentabroad.com reveals medical tourism for a range of procedures is on the rise as patients strive to save on the cost of the procedure in their own country or avoid waiting lists. However, board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Behzad Parva says he urges his Virginia plastic surgery patients to exercise extreme caution when considering a procedure outside of the US as increased costs and unknown risks can surface.
Whether his patients are considering a procedure such as the Mommy Makeover or breast augmentation, Dr. Parva says medical tourism can have its benefits, but only if everything proceeds exactly as planned. When undergoing a surgical procedure for cosmetic or reconstructive enhancement, a number of variables already exist without further complicating the situation by leaving the US for a country with different regulations and standards. Additionally, lack of familiarity with the area and language can pose unexpected challenges to patients. Dr. Parva says a variety of risks exist that are potentially not considered by a patient and could not only put them in harm’s way, but also wind up costing more money than they originally anticipated.
“The primary driving force for people seeking plastic surgery outside the United States is economics. I try to understand a person’s motivations so I can better counsel them and provide information that they may not have considered. If they know a Plastic Surgeon who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a member of ASPS, then they have addressed the first major hurdle. Other considerations however, that may be very difficult to verify include: quality of the surgical facility and anesthesia and devices and products used may not meet U.S. standards. It is also well documented that travel combined with surgery significantly increases risk of complications. Additionally, follow-up care may be difficult and costly.”
One main reason to proceed with caution, the Virginia plastic surgeon stresses, is the differences in quality control and regulations. He says validating the level of experience and technique a surgeon possesses, as well as the standards of care in other countries, can be difficult. In the US, he recommends consulting with a plastic surgeon that is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, as this is the only way to ensure they have satisfied the rigorous education and ongoing training requirements of the certification process.
Additionally, Dr. Parva says complications may arise during the procedure or post-op recovery period, requiring extra hardships such as extended care and hospital bills, changes to the original agenda resulting in added fees, and finding a surgeon that is willing to take on the post op care for a patient returning from an overseas procedure. When he weighs the advantages and disadvantages of medical tourism during a patient consultation, his patients begin to better understand the process and inherent risks. However, if patients do decide to travel abroad for a procedure such as tummy tuck, breast lift or breast reconstruction, he offers a set of guidelines to consider before doing so:
● Establish a relationship with the board-certified surgeon before finalizing the trip
● Meet with the surgeon and tour the facilities before undergoing the procedure
● Verify the surgeon has specific training in the planned procedure(s)
● Know the regulations and standards of the country you are planning to have surgery
● Verify the type of liability insurance the physician holds
● Review the laws regarding medical malpractice and insurance coverage
As with any medical procedure, Dr. Parva reiterates the importance of having the proper credentials and qualifications, as well as having the extensive experience with patients and the formation of individualized treatments to ensure patient expectations are met with quality results. “My priority for our patients is their safety and high quality care. Decisions have consequences and carry risk. Cosmetic surgery is real surgery and involves risk even in the best of hands. So the best I can do for my patients is to provide accurate information and be very real with them. Insist that they do the homework and weigh all the costs and risks before embarking on medical care outside the U.S. We are extremely fortunate that the United States still continues to offer the best medical care in the world.”
About Behzad Parva, MD
After earning his medical degree from the Temple University School of Medicine, Dr. Behzad Parva completed his General Surgery Residency at Temple University and his Plastic Surgery Residency at Indiana University Medical Center. He is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Parva Plastic Surgery is located at 224-D Cornwall St. NW Ste. 300, Leesburg, VA 20176, and can be reached at (703) 777-7477. Dr. Parva and his team can also be found online at www.parvaplasticsurgery.com and the Leesburg VA Plastic Surgery Facebook page.
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