ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Shopping outside the region for the best price on plastic surgery may seem like a good idea but doctors warn of red flags.

Dr. Mathew Devine, the Medical Director at Highland Family Medicine, discussed the practice of plastic surgery tourism Tuesday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“Plastic surgery tourism is leaving your region to have what’s considered non-urgent elective surgery that you have for cosmetic reasons,” Dr. Devine said. “These can be for procedures such as liposuction, facelifts, and other types of procedures that can be done inside your region but people are going outside of the region because they think they can get better prices for those.”

Dr. Devine said there has been an increase in this type of surgical shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic, which raises one of many concerns. “Being exposed to viruses outside of the area is a risk,” noted Dr. Devine. “In addition, a lot of these procedures do require some pre-procedure approvals. Since this is an elective procedure that the person pays out of pocket for, the cost of those pre-approvals isn’t covered by insurance. So a lot of times that practices that are doing these, which by the way sometimes aren’t with board-certified surgeons – which is another alarming thing – require the patient needs to have their information and their testing done here to have the procedure done elsewhere.”

Dr. Devine said the risk of complications from these elective procedures reveals another concern. “So the major concern is that these are cosmetic but they do have complications. They can have things like fat emboli, which is a clot that could be deadly. There could be infections at the wound. There could be extra fluid that is caught in a pocket called a seroma. These are all extremely dangerous complications that can require hospitalization and can require further treatment that would also require out of pocket payment by the person because they had paid for that procedure outside of their insurance, so it’s really important that they get a consultation with a surgeon locally for a small nominal fee and if they end up deciding to have it here that can be applied to that procedure.”