Benefits and Risks of Breast Augmentation Overseas

If the idea of combining breast augmentation surgery with a vacation in an exotic setting appeals to you, you’re not alone. More women are seeking breast augmentation at international hospitals in order to enhance their figures at a lower cost. But before you book that flight, take a minute to weigh the benefits and risks of having plastic surgery in a foreign hospital.


  • Breast augmentation may be more affordable overseas. Even if you take the cost of travel into account, breast enhancement may cost less outside of North America. Breast augmentation travel packages in countries like Thailand are available for as little as $5,000, including airfare, lodging, surgery and a personal shopping spree.
  • Many international hospitals offer affordable luxury care. In an effort to take part in the medical tourism boom, a lot of international hospitals are going out of their way to pamper cosmetic patients. Perks like chauffeur services, private aftercare and sightseeing are often provided as part of a plastic surgery travel package.
  • Access to top-notch international medical services has become easier. With the growing popularity of “plastic surgery tourism,” organizations like the International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery make it easier than ever to locate a qualified plastic surgeon and find an accredited hospital in a foreign country. The ISAPS online database includes almost 2,000 plastic surgeons in 90 countries.
  • Having breast augmentation overseas offers privacy as well as pampering. When you combine your plastic surgery with a vacation abroad, you can recuperate in privacy while enjoying the local sights. For a breast augmentation, your surgeon may recommend that you give yourself at least two to three weeks to ensure a safe recovery before you fly home.


  • You may not have a chance to meet your plastic surgeon or to tour the facility before your trip. Without having talked to your surgeon in person, you can’t easily establish the rapport that’s so important to a successful doctor-patient relationship.
  • You might not have access to breast implants approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. With recent concern about breast implants manufactured abroad, it’s more important than ever to know that your implants have been thoroughly tested for safety.
  • Breast augmentation overseas may end up costing more than you anticipated. Implants must be sized and selected carefully to minimize the risk of rippling or dimpling and give you the figure you really want. If you end up needing a revision, you’ll probably have to have the surgery at home at an additional cost.
  • You’ll still need to arrange follow-up care with a domestic plastic surgeon. Before you have surgery overseas, make sure you have a board certified plastic surgeon at home who is willing to continue your aftercare when you return.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery advises women seeking breast augmentation overseas to research an international surgeon’s credentials and check the accreditation status of the facility thoroughly.

The Ripple Effect: What to Do When Breast Implants Wrinkle

Ripples after breast augmentation are never a welcome sight, but “the ripple effect” may be more common than you think. Breast implants can wrinkle or fold as a woman’s body moves and changes. Most women will never know that their implants have rippled, because layers of muscle, fat and glandular tissue hide these effects. But in some women, rippling is so obvious that it spoils the smooth, contoured appearance of the breast.

What causes breast implant rippling?

Visible rippling can occur in any woman after breast augmentation, but there are a few factors that make the ripple effect more apparent:

  • Saline breast implants. Women who choose saline implants are more likely to have noticeable rippling than women with silicone implants. The texture and viscosity of silicone gel tend to keep the implant shell from rippling. With saline implants, the shell is more likely to form creases.
  • Low body weight. Very thin women usually have less fat and muscle tissue on their chests, which means that there’s less padding to cover a rippled implant.
  • Textured breast implants. Breast implants with a textured shell can create traction on the overlying tissues, tugging the skin inward.
  • Implant placement over the chest muscle. Breast implants can be placed under or over a layer of muscle tissue during breast augmentation surgery.  Implants placed over the muscle are easier to see, especially when they wrinkle.
  • Large breast implants. Any folding or rippling in larger implants may be more noticeable, as the size of the implant will stretch the overlying tissues.

Is there a way to fix rippling after breast augmentation?

In some women, breast implant rippling occurs within a few weeks or months after surgery. In others, ripples may take years to appear. Surgical revision is often the only way to correct the problem. Techniques for fixing ripples may include:

  • Replacing saline implants with silicone for a more natural look.
  • Removing implants that were placed over the chest muscle and replacing them under the muscle to camouflage rippling.
  • Replacing large implants with a smaller implant size to make rippling less obvious.
  • Transferring fat to the breasts to provide extra tissue coverage. Grafting fat from one area of the body to the breasts isn’t always possible, especially in very thin women, and the results aren’t always consistent. However, board certified plastic surgeons with expertise in fat grafting have used this approach successfully.

It’s not uncommon for women to need a few tweaks and revisions in their breast implants over the years. If you have a good relationship with your plastic surgeon, you can work together to keep your newly enhanced breasts looking their best.

Am I Too Young for Breast Implants?

No teenage girl likes to be told that she’s too young to make positive changes in her own appearance. But when it comes to breast augmentation, most board certified plastic surgeons advise that young women wait until they’re at least 18 years old. While there’s no law that prevents teens in the United States from having breast augmentation before age 18 if they have a parent or guardian’s approval, the majority of surgeons stick to the FDA’s recommended age limits. The FDA has approved saline breast implants for women ages 18 and older. Silicone breast implants are approved for women ages 22 and older. With breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, silicone implants are approved for women of any age.

Girls with breast abnormalities such as congenital breast asymmetry or Poland’s syndrome may be exceptions to the rule. If a young teen’s breasts are obviously unequal in size, a plastic surgeon may agree to place implants, as long as she has consent from a parent or legal guardian.

There may be other advantages to waiting to have breast implants until you’re in your 20s. Teenagers are notoriously critical of their own looks, and a girl who loathes her figure at age 15 or 16 may come to appreciate her natural build by age 22. Young teenage girls are still developing physically, and a late growth spurt may take a teen to a larger cup size before her 21st birthday.

If you have your heart set on breast augmentation but you still have time to wait until your 18th birthday, there’s no reason you can’t plan ahead. You can arrange consultations with board certified plastic surgeons to learn more about the risks and benefits of breast augmentation, look at implant samples and get quotes on the cost of surgery. You can also start thinking about how you’ll finance your procedure. A breast augmentation can cost between five and 10 thousand dollars, and if you’ve just turned 18, you may not qualify for enough credit to cover the procedure. Start saving your money in advance, so that you’ll be financially prepared when the time comes.

No one can predict how she’ll feel about her body in 10, 20 or 30 years, but if you approach breast augmentation from a foundation of self-confidence, you’re more likely to be happy with your decision both now and in the future.