No matter where you turn, it seems like the BBL trend has taken over everyone’s timeline. There’s no escaping it, and maybe we don’t want to. With plastic surgery more readily available and accepted than before, many women are opting to get a little nip and tuck.

Women are starting to be more honest about their experiences with cosmetic surgery. However, it is important to weigh the consequences ofsurgery. Let’s face it, plastic surgery is expensive. Many top surgeons even charge hundreds of dollars for an initial consultation. And since many can’t afford to be serviced by top US surgeons that their favorite celebrities visit, that leaves a lot of women traveling overseas to get work done.

Many find medical tourism appealing because it’s often more affordable with similar if not better results than some US surgeries. Though that’s commonly the result, cases of women experiencing complications and even dying from inadequate surgery and aftercare are growing as well.

An unfortunate result of the increase in plastic surgery is the increase in body dysmorphia. Young girls and women are feeling the pressure to measure up with women on social media. This can lead to women traveling to distant countries in search of a quick fix. But when it comes to medical tourism, planning is key.

Although it’s exploding in popularity, there are some things to consider before going under the knife in a foreign land. Let’s explore the ins and out of medical tourism.

Medical Tourism: Pricing

Pro: One of the biggest appeals of medical tourism is that it’s typically a more affordable option than obtaining treatment in the US. Patients Beyond Borders, an international medical tourism publication reports that patients save up to 80 percent on physical and dental surgeries when they opt to have them done internationally. 

Con: Patients foot the bills for everything. Medical tourism is especially helpful for black people who are uninsured or underinsured in the US, but health insurance coverage doesn’t always carry over to foreign countries, leaving patients responsible for the entirety of their service.

Tip: Research the whole cost of the procedure, asking for estimates from potential surgeons and/or staff including any hidden fees. Keep in mind costs unrelated to the procedure itself such as travel arrangements, hotel or AirBnB bookings, car rental or other transportation to and from the hospital, food and drink and even the cost of taking time off from work.

Quality of Care

Pro: Medical tourism can provide the same quality of care as getting treated at a US medical facility can. Just because it’s a foreign country doesn’t mean that the quality standards are undesirable. International countries are also home to plenty of accredited medical and dental professionals who are committed to delivering high-value care to their patients.

Con: Although the good guys outweigh the bad, there are plenty of medical “professionals” who cut corners or provide inadequate care to their patients. Many Americans are leery about medical tourism because of the many cases circulating online of international treatment gone wrong.

Tip: Consider choosing a hospital with existing ties to the US. US medical facilities such as Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania are fostering relationships with privately-owned hospitals outside of the US. These private hospitals often adopt the same standard of safety and care as the US ones.

Medical Tourism: Treatment and Services Options

Pro: International medical professionals are typically more readily available to service patients and are able to offer a list of services and alternative treatments that US professionals might not provide. Many patients with urgent needs opt for medical tourism because the wait time for US treatment can be too long. International travelers are typically seen sooner, with US patients sometimes receiving priority treatment.

Cons: Some foreign medical “professionals” are more apt to performing unsafe procedures if the money is right. While medical tourism sometimes gets a bad rap for its stories of patients undergoing risky procedures, it’s true that there are many fraudulent doctors and dentists who are willing to put your health on the line and ghost you when complications arise.

Tip: Seek an accredited-hospital to perform your procedure by researching medical organizations on the Joint Commission International website. The Joint Commission International is a non-profit organization that can help patients choose a safe and quality healthcare facility for their treatment.


Pro: Some international medical facilities provide alternative services to patients who aren’t native to the country. Many American patients can choose comprehensive packages that include airfare and hotel accommodations.

Cons: It can be hard to navigate the country without understanding the language. Depending on the destination, plenty of international medical professionals speak very little English, or none at all. And when it comes to undergoing a major surgery, it’s important to be able to effectively communicate with medical staff.

Tip: Seek out a concierge service before the trip. Many international agencies offer comprehensive packages for non-native patients that include airfare, lodging, and transportation. For patients planning to enjoy the trip, these concierge services can also help with arranging dinner reservations, booking tickets for tours or special events, and more. Private nurses are also available to transport patients to the medical appointments, act as a translator between their client and medical staff, and assist patients with their aftercare needs.

Medical Tourism: Aftercare

Pro: International healthcare professionals typically provide quality aftercare instructions, including necessary prescriptions, just like in the US. They, like doctors in America, have a code of safety and quality to uphold so they’re usually available to support their patients from start to finish.

Con: There are many unfortunate cases where follow-up care is minimal or even nonexistent. A lot of careless “professionals” are strictly in it for the money and don’t stick around to see their patients through the healing process.

Tip: Travelers can protect themselves by obtaining medical tourism insurance which provides financial coverage should complications arise. Additionally, patients should be mindful of risks related to air travel following a major procedure. Always check CDC guidelines pertaining to traveling for medical tourism. For example, the government organization advises to patients wait a minimum of seven days before flying home following cosmetic surgery due to airplane cabin pressure that can negatively impact the body’s healing process.

Opting for Care in the States

Pro: The US employs highly-educated and competent medical professionals from all the over the world. There is a strict code of conduct that American professional are required to uphold to help ensure that patients receive quality care before, during and after their procedure.

Cons: Of course, pricing for US healthcare seems to be skyrocketing with no indication of letting up any time soon.

Additionally, an overwhelmed healthcare system means that patients have to wait longer than expected to get the treatment they need.

And just because it’s America, doesn’t mean that patients obtain the results that they dreamed of. Black women, especially, have to be extra cautious when it comes to choosing the right healthcare provider due to an unfortunate disparity in quality when it comes to medical care.

Tip: Patients can get the best bang for their buck by scheduling consultations with multiple surgeons. During the consultation, medical staff can provide clear answers to their questions as well as estimates on total cost and what to expect during recovery.

For the best results, do thorough research on the potential surgeon, reading through their reviews and taking a look at pictures to get an idea of their work.

To help lessen the risk of complications, patients should obtain medical clearance from their doctors. Individuals planning for surgery can ask their doctor to perform a complete physical assessment to ensure that they are in good health and cleared to go under the knife.