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Post-op postcards from abroad

Article-Post-op postcards from abroad

National report — Every surgeon contacted by Cosmetic Surgery Times shared at least one undesirable result seen or treated in patients who had previously undergone procedures abroad.

Some of the more eye-opening examples:

Presumably silicone

James M. Spencer, M.D., says when he practiced in Miami from 1994 to 1998, "One of the most striking problems involved large volumes of unknown fillers — presumably liquid silicone — injected to reshape thighs and buttocks."

Over time, he says, the material migrated down to the lower legs and ankles.

"We saw a couple cases that were devastating," says Dr. Spencer, a professor of clinical dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine who maintains a private practice in St. Petersburg, Fla. These patients had been so over-injected that if one poked a needle in their shins, he says, "Liquid would come out. Whatever it was was permanent — we couldn't fix it."

Infection after abdominoplasty

For Bruce Cunningham, M.D., the worst case involved an infection after an abdominoplasty where the wound had partially pulled apart.

A doctor in Brazil had performed this procedure in conjunction with liposuction about 10 days before the patient had presented to Dr. Cunningham.

Treatment involved clearing the infection, debriding the wound, changing dressings and, eventually, excising scar tissue.

In another case, a patient who had undergone rhinoplasty in Mexico presented with a piece of cartilage hanging out of one nostril.

Mystery filler

Similarly, Seth Matarasso, M.D., says one of his patients had something injected in her lips in Australia. Two years later, he reveals, "She has lumps and bumps."

What's more, he says that when this patient contacted the Australian surgeon about them, he told her it wasn't his problem.

No instructions

About a decade ago, reports Heidi Waldorf, M.D., a woman who'd gone to the Dominican Republic to have laser hair removal and liposuction "showed up in our office with second-degree burns and stitches still intact." She says the patient had been given no postoperative instructions.

Dr. Waldorf says, "We ended up removing the sutures from the liposuction sites, then had to treat her for both the burns created by the laser hair removal and the resultant hypo- and hyperpigmentation."

Botched body sculpting

Another patient went to Mexico for extensive body sculpting that would have cost nearly $10,000 stateside, reports Ed Lack, M.D.

Postoperatively, he says, "She started bleeding and wound up being hospitalized" and later sent to a chronic wound care center in Mexico.

All told, he says, "She had spent about $16,000." That excludes the $10,000 Dr. Lack says she later paid him to optimize the original procedure because she disliked the results.

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