Everyone has a story about a vacation gone amok, right? Think about the long-suffering Griswolds or Grandpa’s circuitous journey in Little Miss Sunshine.

A recent New York Times article (12/23/14) covered an emerging “vacation” trend called “Plastic Surgery Tourism.” Not your typical fun-in-the-sun vacay, readers. Dr. Capizzi is one of the leading breast surgeons in the U.S.A. He treats patients from all over the country and the globe. Stillwater delivers an excellent experience and superior outcomes regardless of where you live. But it’s especially important that patients travelling far from home for plastic surgery choose wisely and with care. As the Times article notes, a negative plastic surgery experience away from home trumps any of the usual vacation mishaps, like cancelled flights and lost luggage.

For today’s blog, we caught up with Dr. Capizzi for his tips on the idea plastic surgery tourism. In essence, the doctor says “do your homework.” We encourage you to think about these key topics if your next “vacation” involves a plastic surgery procedure.

TRAINING – Not all professionals are created equally. Don’t merely assume your surgeon brings accomplished medical school, internship, residency and post-doctoral training to your case, check the facts. Dr. Capizzi’s Mayo Clinic plastic surgery residency is an important seal of approval for patients.

BOARD CERTIFICATION – Breast and body surgery are very specific specialties. Always, always, always choose a surgeon who is double-board certified by both the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery. The latter is the only board recognized to credential plastic surgeons in the U.S. The hard reality is that all surgeons are legally permitted to perform aesthetic breast and body surgery. Double-board certification ensures quality.

EXPERIENCE & SCHOLARSHIP – How long has your proposed surgeon been in practice? How many surgeries of the type you’re considering has he or she performed? Has your surgeon been selected for FDA trials and published in the PRS, the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the bible of plastic surgery? Be sure to ask these questions, travellers!

BEFORE & AFTER PICTURES – “Show me your work,” is a must-ask question for all patients, whether you live five or five thousand miles away. Most surgeons offer detailed before-and-after galleries of real-patient results on their websites. Review with care. No show, no go.

REALSELF.COM – Real Self is emerging as the largest online community for individuals seeking information on plastic surgery procedures. Is your prospective surgeon participating? On Realself.com, you can review more before-and-after pictures and also read your surgeon’s response to FAQ posed by real patients like you. Do some due diligence on Realself.com. It’s like Trip Advisors!

THE SURGEON’S TEAM – A great surgical team is required for a superior outcome. Of course, you’ll want to enquire about your surgeon’s support staff, which generally includes a CRNA, surgical technicians and R.N.s. However, “concierge” service is also important. Is your surgeon able to make recommendations on travel, lodging and perhaps respite care to support your decision?

LONG-DISTANCE PREPARATION – Be sure your surgeon is a communicator. This means long-distance consultations and sharing of information prior to day of surgery. Your “vacation” itinerary must include early arrival to afford an opportunity to meet in advance. Do you understand your surgeon’s process? All questions, concerns and details of the surgery should be fully addressed to your satisfaction.

SURGICAL FACILITY – Never assume! Please be sure to understand in detail where your procedure will be performed. Be sure surgical centers are fully accredited and state of the art. You’ll also want to understand your surgeon’s hospital affiliations and privileges, if surgery is to be performed off site.

IMMEDIATE POST-OP – Dr. Capizzi encourages you to ask detailed questions about what to expect immediately after surgery, including anesthetic aftermath, possible drain management and follow up care. Pain management is a very important topic. Discuss all these topics – with your onsite friend or caregiver engaged in the dialog – as part of your “surgical tourism” decision.

LONGER-TERM POST OP – At Stillwater Plastic Surgery, Dr. Capizzi and team offer predictably great outcomes. Yet, every procedure is as unique as the individual. Be sure to discuss post-op plans and expectations in the days and weeks that follow surgery. Dr. Capizzi’s commitment to you does not end with the surgery. Be sure your surgeon is similarly invested in your long-term well being.