Chapter 2 Page 7 | The Best of Both Worlds
John J. Corey, M.D., a prominent plastic surgeon in Scottsdale, Arizona, is an ASPS member. However, he also advertises a Brazilian influence on his practice and his technique; Dr. Corey traveled to Brazil in 1993 and studied under the aforementioned Ivo Pitanguy, M.D.
“Brazilian surgeons seem to have a different “eye” for aesthetic surgery … a different way of analyzing beauty and the human form. We Americans have a tendency to be very technical. We want to know exactly how much to contour and how much to measure. Brazilians seem to approach procedures more artistically. They don’t rely on applying the same measurement to every woman. They really believe in sculpting the form and creating the curves and lines of the feminine shape.”
Dr. Corey doesn’t deny the obvious implication of his own words — that many Brazilian surgeons are incredibly good and that U.S. surgeons can and do learn a lot from them. And, like many other surgeons in the United States and abroad, he has used the Internet in building and extending his own practice. He has patients from out of state and out of the country. He also knows that not all patients can afford his prices, and that excellent surgeons, board-certified in Brazil and other countries, charge far less than he does in Scottsdale.
“The ASPS is going to come down on the side of caution and safety,” Dr. Corey said. “And I don’t think anyone can fault them for doing that; it is what doctors do. But at the same time, of course, there are well-qualified surgeons around the world. We interact with each other; we learn from each other. And economic conditions, and the cost of doing business, are different in other countries.”
Dr. Corey looks at medical tourism from a pragmatic point of view. “I think we have to look at more ways to cooperate, more ways in which we can serve patients better,” he suggested. “Clearly, overseas surgeons who are able to charge less are meeting a need in the market, and the market is evolving. There are ways in which doctors in the United States can be part of that, and in which patients will benefit.”
The ASPS, he points out, does list on its Web site “corresponding members” from overseas; there are not that many surgeons who have chosen to affiliate, however, and the ASPS notes that it can not vouch for their credentials.