Cosmetic Tourism: It’s cheaper but is it safe?

Everyone loves a good vacation, especially if one can knock out some business in the process. Now normally, we would not consider pairing a “surgery” and “vacation” together, but a growing trend is conjoining the two. Cosmetic surgeons in Toronto have learned that cosmetic surgery travel is becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons, the overriding issue is cost.

The United States made cosmetic and dental surgery cost-prohibitive, however, in a number of other countries, predominantly South America and Asia, prices are quite a bit lower. Traveling for surgery also makes discretion a factor. Taking a vacation to China or Brazil for a few weeks doesn’t announce to the office we’re getting a facelift.

This has became such a popular trend, there is a higher end of the cosmetic tourism scale with Surgeon and Safari. The service has been described as “surgery, recuperation and rejuvenation away from public scrutiny;” on adventurous safari in South Africa. Places like this offer an array of options like dental, ophthalmic, orthopedic, infertility treatment, hair transplants and cosmetic procedures. The perspective “tourist” gets to choose a procedure, surgeon, accommodations, flights and safari options all with the click of a button.

Mind you prices are not always listed sites like these, though on some they are available. Still, vacationers can literally expect to pay a fraction of what procedures would cost in the States or Europe. A fine example would be a facelift in South Africa, which cost approximately $4,500, as compared to around $10,000 in the US. Considered guests, post ops can choose to relax and recoup in a luxury hotel from Cape Town to Johannesburg, and take a variety of safaris as part of a package price. Pre-Op consultations are even available to review concerns.

Brazil is famous for its festivals, stunning women and by admission, cosmetic surgery clinics marketing themselves to foreigners. Cosmetic Vacations only utilizes surgeons licensed by the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery, working in conjunction with the Fluminense Clinic, featuring plastic surgeons from all over the world. Not to mention, the Clinic’s owner Dr. Ronaldo Pontes and his daughter, Dr. Giselle Pontes, are members of the International Society of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery.

You can sign up for their e-mail newsletter and even enter a competition to win a free trip to Rio de Janeiro. Cosmetic vacation works with a specialist Brazil travel agents who will arrange your accommodation (four hotels to choose from), airport transfers and pre-operative consultation.

Costa Rica is also known for its natural beauty, and now, its medical and dental services. The Health Escape is another company featuring cosmetic and dental procedures to foreigners. A team of professional doctors, primarily trained in the US and Central America, perform procedures at significantly lower prices. All surgical procedure packages include transfers, accommodation, meals and post-operative care.

Though this sounds like a fantasy type surgery, professional plastic surgeons in Toronto remind surgery shoppers to always research the procedure, its benefits, risks and possible complications. It is also important to do some in-depth research on the chosen clinic, its plastic surgeons and the country’s specific certification laws. Being board certified in one country may be drastically different from another. It would be ideal to locate an American Board of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) or International Society of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) certified surgeon, but that might be a challenge.