Why Cosmetic Surgery in Costa Rica?


The Rosenstock Lieberman Clinic

I lurked on listservs for nearly two years before I chose Dr. Rashi Rosenstock and Dr. Joseph Cohen of the Rosenstock Lieberman Clinic over anyone else. My multiple cosmetic surgeries -- two day-long surgeries with two doctors and a recovery stay of a month -- cost about 40% the price quoted in Oklahoma City.

I had lapband surgery in 2004 and went from 311 pounds to 180 pounds. I felt like I was wearing an oversized skin suit that needed alterations. I began with sleep apnea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, coronary stents, arthritis, bad knee and hip, and out-of-control diabetes. Everything except the diabetes was gone and it was totally under control when I went into surgery. Because I am diabetic, I expected all sorts of  complications. I just took a bit longer to heal than a normal patient.

Heck, I’ve got a flat stomach and perky boobs now. My results are incredible even though I had to stay an unplanned extra week to heal. I saw my doctors 18 times in 31 days, some of those sessions hands-on fluid manipulation for at least an hour. At no additional cost. Their care and attention is stunning.

I left it up to Dr. Rashi to decide which procedures to do in which order and just how much I could take at one time. On a Tuesday I had tummy tuck with liposuction, arm lift with liposuction, and face lift (lower neck/face, upper & lower eyelids with cantoplexy and brow lift). Seven hours. I spent the night in the clinic, with a nurse in my room all night, catering to every request -- more warmth, ten-minute time reports, apple juice, and more -- in English.

The next Monday I had the breast lift/reduction with underarm liposuction. I went back to CheTica that evening after six hours of surgery, had chicken soup, felt at peace. Three hours planned grew to six hours because Dr. Rashi wanted to perfect my large, long, saggy, aging breasts. Every girl at the clinic wanted to see what six-hour boobs look like! I never imagined anyone would call my breasts beautiful.

I had both Dr. Rashi and Dr. Cohen working together to keep my time under anesthesia as short as possible. Incidentally, every consultation I had in the US suggested that I have two doctors at a time as well, at a cost you can imagine.

For me the clinic was a safe choice because it had all the specialists I needed for the surgery -- caring people, antiseptic conditions, total dedication to this kind of surgery -- and there is a hospital nearby if I needed one. That does not mean that a hospital might not be a better choice for another patient. Just not for me.

I chose this clinic because they had the most experience with weight-loss patient cosmetic surgery (and it is different). The comments I tracked and the people I emailed or called directly were pleased with their results. There are other excellent doctors in Costa Rica. Just not for me.

Ah, Costa Rica. I chose there only partly because I could get everything I wanted done for the cost of one procedure in Oklahoma City. More importantly, I had unlimited access to my doctors any time I wanted to see them, for everything from massage after a pulled drain to re-stitching a suture I pulled out, to reassurance when I had an ache in one of the “girls.” As I got ready to head home, I had Dr. Clara Lieberman’s attention and advice for at least an hour every day that last week to make sure I was ready to leave.

Listen to your doctors and do exactly what they tell you to do. You trusted these experts enough to cut into your body; trust them when they tell you to walk, to wash a certain way, to get massaged, to stop smoking, to wear a compression garment, to rest -- whatever.

The number one thing I advise is to give yourself the time you need to heal. Do not rush back to your normal life. Let someone else take care of you. Stay long enough. Pay attention to yourself and your healing. You’re not here to see volcanoes or to shop; you’re here to have major surgery and to heal.

There’s a non-stop flight once a day from Dallas to San Jose -- so it’s just as convenient as Mexico and way prettier.


Me in a size 12 red dress and heels, as promised.

Useful Spanish Phrases

I am in pain -- Estoy in dolor.

I am hot -- Estoy caliente.

I am cold -- Estoy frio.

I need water, please -- Necesito el agua, por favor.

I am hungry -- Tengo hambre.

I think I am going to vomit. --

     Yo creo que voy a vomitar.

Please get the doctor -- Llame por favor al doctor.

I need to go to the bathroom --

     Necesito ir al cuarto de baño.

Wash hands, please -- Lava sus manos, por favor.

Wear gloves, please -- Usa guantes, por favor.

Change bandages please. --

     Cambia el vendaje, por favor

I am sorry I don’t speak Spanish better --

     Lo siento que no hablo mejor español.