With social media sites handing out cosmetic-treatment discounts like candy, it’s easy to get caught up in bargain-hunting for Botox. But cosmetic procedures — from facial fillers to face-lifts — are not commodities that are equivalent regardless of the practitioner, some doctors caution. “No two surgeons have the same pair of hands, experience and knowledge,” says Dr. Foad Nahai, editor-in-chief of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, a publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and a plastic surgeon in Atlanta. Complications from botched procedures can range from the cosmetic (think: frozen facial muscles) to the fatal, as in cases where patients have died from infections and other post-surgery complications.
Plastic surgery perfected with 3-D?3-D technology is helping plastic surgeons make more-precise cuts and easing patients’ anxiety by giving them an advance look at their future faces. The WSJ’s Kurt Achin reports from Seoul, South Korea.
Patients should also be cautious about going abroad for treatments, some experts say. While a tummy tuck in a developing country might set you back $3,000, half of what it costs here, that savings can be easily swallowed up if complications occur. Dr. Eric Swanson, a plastic surgeon in Kansas City, Kan., says he treats patients who’ve had less-than-optimal surgeries abroad. In the case of a tummy tuck, he may have to fix the belly button scar or even redo the entire surgery. There are plenty of skilled surgeons abroad, says Swanson, who spent part of his training in Mexico City, but in some places doctors’ skill levels vary more than here, and regulations can also be more lax. “It’s not like taking a cheap cruise, where you’re not taking a chance with your life,” Swanson says.