Worst Medical Tourism Disasters
Blickwinkel / Alamy
Leg-Lengthening in Iran
The Botch Job: An American man in his late 20s hated being 5-foot-6. After doing some Internet research, he decided to travel to Iran for a risky leg-lengthening operation. After he returned home from Tehran, he claimed in an online forum, he noticed screws protruding from his right leg, and X-rays showed broken nails in both legs. He said he needed two more surgeries to correct the botch job.
The Real Deal: Illegal in most countries and recently banned in China, cosmetic leg-lengthening surgery is still legal in the U.S. and in a handful of other countries, among them France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Egypt, Jordan, India, and Russia—where the Ilizarov technique was developed. The procedure is excruciatingly painful and requires at least 12 months of healing. Risks involved include infection, damage of nerves and blood vessels and fat embolism, which can result in death. But beyond this, the Middle East is an emerging medical tourism destination for Europeans seeking cheaper health care. Jordan, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates are becoming medical-tourism hot spots.