Plastic Surgery in Brazil
I have had the fortune to operate patients originated from Japan, Italy, USA, Austria, England, South Africa and other countries. As an example, and given I am a female doctor, women from Arab countries who visit clinic for consultation, enjoy the freedom of not having to cover parts of their body and so I am able to offer aesthetic suggestions to help them harmonize their overall look. Special consideration is given to foreign patients because it is understandable that they are stretching their local boundaries and so we do our utmost to assure they are well cared.
Three key issues about plastic surgery in Brazil:
- Brazil has some of the most experienced Plastic Surgeons in the world.
This is partially due to the society having a long-term, “easy-openness” regarding the body aesthetic, which has lead women and men towards a natural desire for improving the look of their bodies through sculpturing surgeries and cosmetic procedures. This society tendency has provided the fertile ground for the evolution of world-class medical schools, plastic surgeons and innovative techniques.
The same care is important when you choose a physician in your country: first make sure that the surgeon has a long history of experience with the type of surgery that you are considering. She or he should must be licensed under professional registers. In Brazil the license is called Conselho Regional de Medicina or CRM. The professional must have as well, a title in Plastic Surgery area. Excellent resources for researching doctors are: the Sociedade Brasileira de Cirurgia Plastica (Brazilian Plastic Surgery Society)[in Portuguese], International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery [in English] or the Fedaración Ibero Latinoamericana de Cirugia Plastica y Reconstructiva (Latin American Federation of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery) [in Spanish].
- Don’t come to Brazil for tourism and for Plastic Surgery.
Would you go to Los Angeles, London or Hong-Kong for plastic surgery and then go out on a sight-seeing? Wrapped in bandages? Risking injury to the wound? Plastic Surgery is a surgery (see section titled “Tips Obtained During 25 Years of Plastic Surgery Experience”) and as such, it requires the necessary time and rest for the correct evolution of the healing process and recovery. In certain cases you may have to rest in bed from two to five days (longer if you have multiple large procedures). Then, considering the time you need to travel to your destination and back home, very soon your vacation time is all gone.
Your mind-set should be that of having a healthy experience, and a fast recuperation period, so that when you go home you are ready to go back to your daily activities in peace. Otherwise, if there is plenty of time after recovery period, you can explore the many wonderful sites in my country, especially Bahia, where I grew up.
- Don’t be afraid to turn around and go back home if you are not fully confident.
The Doctor that you choose should just charge you for an initial consultation fee (I charge R$350). That fee should cover about an one hour visit when you should be able to ask and receive clear answers regarding ALL YOUR QUESTIONS. You should have the chance to see a range of photographs of similar cases to enlighten you about the surgery procedure you are considering. The Doctor should demonstrate a long-term competency about the procedure, as well as to detail steps of the surgery, type of anesthesia, recovery, etc.
Then, nothing should happen. That is, you should be able to go back to your hotel and think about the situation, for as long as you need. You should not sign any document or even to be pressured into paying any deposits. ONLY WHEN YOU ARE CONFIDENT about the Doctor, and when you have a clear understanding of all the events surrounding the surgery, then you can make a commitment to move forward the surgical procedure.
If you are not sure enough, go home. Otherwise you may leave on a site-seeing in the country you are visiting. You will only lose your plane-fare and a night’s stay at a hotel. But be sure to understand that this is an option available for you.
This may be one of the most worry part of your experience, since you may be arriving tired from a flight into a country that may be unknown. The reality though is that there is little to worry about. You can arrange in advance for a limousine service to take you to your hotel. If you choose our clinic we will have a car and driver, as well as an English speaking representative to greet you and to help you to check-in.
On the other hand, if you want to get to your hotel on your own, its easy. Right outside of the customs there are common taxi desk, with friendly attendants. You just need to show them the hotel address and pay one flat fee to the destination ( most hotels near the clinic this will be about US$150,00) Then you go to a tax line (blue and white), get into the next one available, give the driver the payment receipt and the address. Then the driver will take you there directly, in a clean, safe car, without any detours or extra charges.
Accommodations for Plastic Surgery in Brazil
Another good benefit in São Paulo is that there is a wide variety of very good hotels at excellent rates. One good option, and perhaps better for your recuperation, is called a ‘flat’, which is a larger hotel room that may resemble an apartment and may include a kitchen. There are a few flats near my clinic that can be good choices for you. This can be a good choice for your recovery, since some of them are equipped with a small kitchen to prepare your food as you desire, without having to go out. As an alternative, they also have room service available in case you need to order something.
Considering you may stay from 5 to 15 days, good accommodation alternatives can be arranged to meet your budget needs.
This really depends on how social you are during recuperation. Some people want to go into their cave, while others need mom or a sister around to help. Whether you choose or not to have someone to accompany you, also depends on your budget and your companion’s time availability.
In case that you are restricted to come alone, our clinic can provide a full-time companion to help you during the first days after you leave the hospital for as long as you need. It is very important to have someone to help to lift you up to a more upright position or even to go to the toilet. A companion should help you with your medicines, your food, bathing, etc., since you may be feeling discomfort when you move. Having to get out of bed at night to go to the bathroom, with bandages and soreness, may not only be just bothering but it can be harmful if you happen to fall.
São Paulo is the second largest city in the world, only slightly smaller than Seoul, South Korea. Although it is broken down into neighborhoods, (our clinic is located at Vila Olimpia), because of its size, it is often difficult for tourists to get their bearings. But there are many interesting places to visit, including a large number excellent restaurants, etc. For those times that you would like to look around the city, more than likely before your surgery, or afterwards when you are well enough, our clinic can arrange for a guided tour to take you around.
We can also arrange for you to get around during other occasions when you need to travel. Such as:
- To and from the airport;
- To and from your hotel to our clinic for your initial consultation;
- In case you need to go to a laboratory for tests, (see this item further here);
- To and from your hotel to the hospital for your surgery;
- To and from your hotel to our clinic for post-surgery check-ups;
Language and Culture
Even though São Paulo is a very big city, most people here are peaceful (even in rush hour traffic) and even, friendly. The high majority of “Paulistanos” come from some other place in this large country and/or have its family roots from some other country in the world. For instance, São Paulo has the largest Japanese community outside of Japan. There are also many Germans, Italians, and of course, Portuguese, so we seem to empathize with a stranger and you’ll probably get that feeling too.
Most people here does not speak English but they will try to help you if you are friendly and ask for assistance. A pocket dictionary with a few phrases will help you understand what is necessary to get by. If you need a translator, we can also arrange the services of friendly translator who will help you, and even teach you some Portuguese.
Your Safety in Plastic Surgery in Brazil
Unfortunately, today safety is a concern for all of us in most cities around the world. And your safety is also our concern too. Be that as it may, São Paulo is a relatively safe city as long as you take the standard steps that you would take when traveling to a large city in a foreign country. A key action item is not to go out unaccompanied since you may simply get turn-around and feel lost. Nevertheless, since your primary objective is your plastic surgery and your recuperation, we believe that you should be committed to good results.
You are encouraged to first read the section titled “Our Services” and specifically the text regarding Personalized Attention. This is so you understand that we are not a high-pressure ‘you must do this surgery now’ type of clinic. Our primary concern is your wellbeing, your long-term good looks and excellence in Plastic Surgery.
Our initial consultation lasts about an hour during which time I examine your condition and determine the state of your health. While we serenely and honestly discuss your specific needs, there is the chance to look at a range of photographs similar cases. As the available options are described, you will be able to ask any questions that you may have concerning any aspect of the procedure. At the end of the interview everything should be clear to you.
As mentioned above, in item number 3, we do not put pressure. So, you may take your decision after you go back to your hotel or even return home, in case you realize that plastic surgery is not for you. You will not be convinced to stay, to sign any papers up or to go through any procedure that you are not fully ready for.
Fees and Documents for Plastic Surgery in Brazil
If you choose to go ahead with your surgery then you will visit with Rose, our business administrator, who will discuss with you all the financial details and documentation. Again, Rose is not there to twist your arm, she is there just to provide you with the necessary information to enlighten the process as a whole.
- You will be presented with an official detailed written quotation for my surgical services and for the services of my team;
- You will be given a cost estimate of the hospital. There is a range of hospitals that can accommodate both your budget as well as your comfort. We can only provide you with an estimate for the hospital. Only the hospitals can provide an official quotation.
- In the case of prosthesis, like metacrylates, etc., you can also receive an official quotation from manufacturer representative;
- Full payment for our services must be made two days before the surgery. This payment will cover my fees, the anesthesiologist, any additional assistant doctors, my instrument assistant and any other persons involved. Again, you will have a full quotation disclosing these fees, before you make a commitment.
- In the case of prosthesis, metacrylates, etc., it may be possible for you to negotiate and pay the manufacturer representative directly. Of course, this may add some complication to your life and so we can arrange to make the payment on your behalf. Payment for these items is also due at least two days before the surgery;
- The hospital is paid directly by you. We will be glad to make a reservation on your behalf. You can discuss and negotiate the price directly with the hospital.
- Other payments to be considered are the ones regarding an eventual necessity for nurse care during the first days after your surgery. And yet, we encourage you to budget for a lymphatic massage therapist. We can introduce you to established professionals and you can negotiate and pay them directly or we can intervene on your behalf. One other thing to keep in mind is that you will be asked to purchase supportive garment. As a reminder, in some procedures, the supportive corset is dressed at the very end of the surgery, as well it is necessary for your recovery. We can suggest you two local manufacturers, who offer good products at good prices.
- As well, you should budget for transportation in case that you choose our clinic handles this. Hotel and meals should be paid directly to those service providers.
- As in your country, you will receive a series of legal waivers to sign, detailing procedures and risks related to the operation(s) that you are considering, the same way it would happen in your country. In today’s litigious society, unfortunately we must go through this step. Since we are in Brazil, they will be written in Portuguese, they might be translated for you but the Portuguese originals will be the ones to be signed. If you have any doubts, we can make available a certified official translator who might be able to confirm any of enclosed information. Again, if you are not sure about any aspect of these documents, feel yourself free to think over it again or even to desist. We do emphasize that you should be absolutely confident about your decision to utilize our services.
- The first documents you will receive are called “Protocolos”. There is a generic one that will cover all procedures and a specific one for each type of procedure that you are undergoing. The generic document includes information that the Sociedade Brasileira de Cirurgia Plastica (Brazilian Plastic Surgery Society) believes is important for a consumer to know about undergoing plastic surgery. The specific document, however, provides information that pertains just to the surgery that you are considering. For example, the Blepharoplasty document describes, the photographs that should be taken, the ideal age for the person, duration of the hospital stay, type of anesthesia to be used, the duration of the surgery, pain, bandaging, bruising, scarring, and the final result. Then there is a section on useful recommendations, pre-operation and post-operation. Last, there is a description of the possible complications.
- The next document is a medical services contract, which specifies the procedures that I will perform, follow-ups, payments and terms.
- Last is the Informed Consent Agreement, where you indicate that you are satisfied with all the information that you were given regarding the procedures, the recuperation, the complications, the duration, etc. Here you authorize undergoing the procedure and its risks. You will be asked by the hospital to sign a similar type of document upon check-in.
Lab Tests for Plastic Surgery in Brazil
It is possible, and much more practical, for you to undergo the required lab tests in your country and then bring the results with you. Depending on the surgery you are considering, it may be necessary for you to go through a cardio test and blood test, including HIV. With the results on hand we are able to schedule your surgery for a period soon after your arrival, after you’ve had your consultation and had agreed to the fees and documents as previously mentioned.
On the other hand, it’s ok if you would like to have your lab tests done here. In São Paulo there is a number of world-class laboratories that can assist you. This option will just add a few days to your stay.
Hospital Procedures for Plastic Surgery in Brazil
Modern hospitals work somewhat like hotels, there is a check-in process which gives you access to their accommodations for periods of 24 hours. A representative from the clinic will escort you to the check-in process and up to your assigned room, to make sure that you are comfortable. Most of my surgeries require an overnight stay but some other may require 2 nights.
It is worthy to note that you must make a cash or credit card deposit to the hospital at the check-in. Before you leave, you will be presented with an itemized bill that indicates all the items used during your surgery and your stay. We can help you review the bill to make sure that there are no overcharges. As previously mentioned, you will be asked by the hospital to sign up an Admission Contract as well as the Informed Consent Agreement.
Regarding all the information available about Plastic Surgery on the Internet, recuperation is often the most downplayed one. However, it is of the highest importance for the long-term success of your desirable final result. There are two key elements to a speedy recuperation: 1) rest; 2) following the instructions regarding medicines and procedures…TO THE LETTER.
The problem is that you are probably an active, independent person and will be eager to go out and show-off your new look. Staying indoor, and worse yet, staying in bed or sitting down all day goes against your nature. But this temporary behavioral change for a number of days is what you will need to keep in mind, depending on type of surgery. This will be a good time for you to read those good books that you’ve never had time for. Knit a scarf. Start writing your biography. Whatever. Just be sure to rest, take your medicine, eat properly to nourish your body (you may notice that you feel hungrier, that is your body trying to gain energy to heal), and follow all instructions that we provide. Feel yourself encouraged to remember that each day you will be closer to that nice look that you’ve desired for yourself all these years.
If you don’t care enough, there may be consequences. Two important consequences are: 1) The lengthening and/or widening of your scars. My team and I take great effort to make sure that the sutures are made as small and discreet as is technically possible, but like any stitch, if you pull on it, it will stretch and look ugly. 2) The rupturing of stitches. This is even worse since it may mean that you will have to go back to the hospital for additional work, lengthening your healing and perhaps lengthening your stay.
Lymphatic massages are a great way to speed-up your recuperation. We can introduce you to professional massage therapists who have experience with lymphatic draining for post-surgery patients. I strongly recommend that it is important that the professional be aware of what to do around wounds, so that they don’t push or pull where not appropriate.
Because of the safe approach that we take to Plastic Surgery, complications don’t happen very often, but we must always discuss contingency plans in case that they do happen. Everything in your Plastic Surgery experience, with me or with any other Surgeon, should be designed to lower the possibility of complications. We seldom have them because I take the time to personally and closely follow your case from beginning to end. Given my experience, I become aware of any early indications that may lead to complications and take actions to steer away from problems.
Whatever complication may arise after your surgery, it will be attended by me or by someone under my supervision, if the case relates to something outside of my specialty.
The fee that you pay me, as indicated in the contract, includes all necessary post-operative follow-up visits as they may be necessary. There are no additional charges. These visits include the changing of bandages by me or by my assistant. As mentioned in the previous section, viewing to avoid complications, more than likely I will be changing your bandages since this is an opportunity to review the progress of your healing.
Since you will be returning home at some point, we may not be able to have all the of follow-up visits throughout the year after your surgery. Nevertheless, we can communicate via Email or Webcam, at which time I can receive photographs or see images of your healing process. As time goes by and questions arise, I will still be available to provide you with answers to your concerns.
Returning to your country will depend on the speed of your healing. We will estimate a return date based on you following all my instructions, but we’ll leave some padding in case that I think you need to be looked after a bit longer. We can closely estimate it, but your cooperation greatly contributes in determining the final return date.
Finally, I do have to say that it will probably be a sad day when you go because we will have gotten to know each other personally. Due to my profession, I have a lot of friends in different countries and throughout Brazil. Sometimes, like today when I’m writing this, I get invited to their wedding because we have kept in touch throughout the years. After 25 years as a Plastic Surgeon, I have also had the chance to see some of my patient’s grown-up children or even patients that I treated as children and who have grown-up. You can read some of their stories in the testimonial section. The bottom line is that I will be so glad to think of you and your beauty walking around confidently and serenely somewhere in another country. You and I will have something in common, we will be happy to be BEAUTIFUL WOMEN.