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My Cosmetic Surgery Experience in Costa Rica

Publicado en Foro de San José

I researched cosmetic surgeons for over two years. I then flew to and personally met with, every surgeon I was seriously considering. I felt this was just part of the cost of my surgery. By the time I left each consultation, I knew whether or not that surgeon was the one for me. Beside personal consults in southern California, I flew to Tijuana, Guadalajara, and Costa Rica.
I had facelift surgery on October 18, 2012 with Dr. Lev in San Jose, Costa Rica. I had a previous facelift and upper eyelid lift about 15 years ago, but my surgeon retired. Dr. Lev felt the skin on my upper lid was too thin to have another upper eyelid lift. We talked about other options, but, at the time, I opted for a facelift only. I was also concerned about the bags on my upper cheeks. Several surgeons in California said an additional procedure of pulling my skin laterally would work, but there seems to be no consensus on this. I am still searching for a solution
I don’t hear much about the anesthesiologists. Mine was fantastic. I have had several medical surgeries in California, so I feel I had a basis for comparison.
I never read anything negative about Dr. Lev, so I was curious when I went for my consultation. I found him to be skilled, kind, and a very experienced surgeon. He cares about his patients. He is accessible, available, and treated me like I was a valued and important patient and person. No question or concern was too small for him to provide a thoughtful response. After about 4 or 5 days, I called him, as a few of my stitches were bothering me. Dr. Lev told me to come right over, and he fixed it. After my surgery, I was out and about in a few days. I even had some dental work done that I didn’t feel I would be up to having.
Here are some points I want to make. Dr. Lev was the best surgeon for me.
1. I was very apprehensive about having my surgery in another country, but the prices in the U.S. were way out of my budget.
2. I dealt with Dr. Lev directly. I initially communicated with his medical coordinator, but I had some concerns, and then dealt with him directly.
3. When I went for my dental work at the dental office, I had so many requests for his contact information that I asked him what information I could give out. He gave me his email address. His email address is: [...].
4. Villa Le Mas after Care Facility, San Antonio de Escazu was a nightmare. Petra is not what she seems, and I heard several times that some of the reviews all over the internet are not from people who stayed there. My plane arrived at 10:30 p.m., but I didn’t get picked up from the airport until 1 a.m. I had to leave for my surgery at 7 a.m. Even though I provided information twice, she sent the taxi to the wrong surgery facility in the morning. I was 1 ½ hours late for my own surgery. She just blew it off. There was not enough to eat. It is out in the middle of nowhere. The nearest store or transportation is miles away. There is no phone service there, so my cell was useless. She would barge into my room at any time of the day or night. After the second time she came in while I was sitting on the toilet, I asked her to knock first. They have animals that smell so badly that it permeates the entire place. One cat bit me when I shooed it away after it jumped on the table and started eating my meal. I verified ahead of time that they could accommodate a tomato allergy, but I regularly received meals with tomatoes. When I mentioned it, I was told the slice of tomato wasn’t a tomato, and the red spaghetti sauce didn’t have tomatoes in it. I never received a replacement, so I didn’t eat every time this happened. The shower stall was cement blocks. There were bugs flying and crawling everywhere. There was only one other person staying in the entire place. The television was about 12 inches wide, and often didn’t work. The plug was so far away that I could barely see the tv when it did work. Many nights it was very cold. When I asked for a blanket, I was told to just put on my jacket. They advertise heavily in the U.S. No one I spoke with in San Jose even heard of this place. So many things happened. One of the biggest is an $700 overcharge. I am currently working with the police and owners on this. She refused to give me a receipt for the cash I paid. I have filed a complaint with the tax office there, as I can’t imagine any other reason to not provide a receipt for cash unless it was not going to be reported. Finally, at one point, I started feeling a bit apprehensive and fearful, and had a friend’s personal driver take me away practically in the middle of the night. I just looked, and the website has been taken down. I now see that Villa Le Mas is now being advertised on TripAdviser as a vacation rental. Gees, who would go there for a vacation? It is just a creepy place-dirty, uninviting, inaccessible by any transportation but that which is approved and authorized by Petra. At the time I was there, only one other person was in the entire facility, and she was leaving the next day.
5. I then stayed at the Apartotel Le Sabana and loved it. It is only a few miles from Dr. Lev’s office and was almost half the price of Villa le Mas. I met several people who had been returning there for years. Apartotel Le Sabana has a wonderful breakfast each morning. They even brought me chicken soup, yogurt and tea each afternoon.
6. Apartotel Suites Christina is a few blocks from Apartotel Le Sabana. I walked over there one day, and it was also great. The Christina has kitchenettes, which is helpful.
7. I spoke with the front desk clerk at each place. Even though they are not recovery places, each said they often have cosmetic surgery patients (with bandages) stay with them. Check with your surgeon to see if either is an option for you.
8. I hope this information has been helpful.

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