Dying for the Promise of Perfection

Sun, surf, and surgery gone awry. Lisa Espinosa's real-life cautionary tale of overseas cosmetics surgery

Anticipating the magic of transformation, many patients, like Espinosa, ignore their instincts, opting instead for the assurance of friends or persuasive advertising. Dr. Anthony Griffin, a diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery who was named one of “America’s Leading Doctors” by black enterprise and whose surgeries have been featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover and CNN, says, “Frankly, some people don’t want to know. Despite the doctor’s advice, many will shop around until they hear what they’re looking for, which is rarely what’s advertised.”

Today, Espinosa has physically recovered from her surgery, but the memory of the trauma remains. She admits that the fear of being asked uncomfortable questions and being judged by health professionals impaired her judgment. To anyone considering offshore plastic surgery she cautions, “In hindsight, there are more viable, smarter options than leaving the country that, if I’d known, would have saved me a lot of pain and money. But if you’re dead set on going, don’t feel that you don’t have the right to speak up or ask certain questions because you’re getting a bargain. Always trust your instincts even over what the doctor is telling you. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t.”

As the economy continues its downward spiral, and with more consumers vying for bargains on products and services in an increasingly global economy, a greater number of foreign firms have made offshore plastic surgery their business. Griffin insists, “The U.S. has the highest medical standards in the world in terms of safety, expertise, and protocols. It’s unwise to leave this protection for countries without jurisdictions that oversee doctors. The truth is there is no free lunch and you can’t get a Mercedes for the price of a Saturn.”

This story originally appeared in the June 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.

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  • Cuyahoga

    This is a MUST READ for anyone considering a cosmetic procedure. Realize first that you are trusting your body – the ONLY one you have (and it does not regenerate) – to a stranger. If anything goes wrong, anything at all, you must trust this person to do right by you without your immediate oversight or input. This is major surgery and the patient is usually anesthetized, unable to consult, advise or even react. Any invasive procedure requires you should want to be fully apprised of the procedure from beginning to end, that you have developed a rapport with the clinician and you have reviewed references for his work. The option is being scarred for life mentally, emotionally if not physically. How great a deal is that?

  • Very useful information . Thanks for sharing. Many people have similar situations in their lives.

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