Countries in Asia, South America and Europe are taking advantage of the emergence of medical tourism by welcoming tourists and happily performing cosmetic procedures at competitive prices. Instead of paying full prices for procedures in North America or the U.K, people are flying to developing countries to save thousands of dollars on their surgeries. So, how much do surgeries actually cost in other countries? Let’s just say if someone would have to pay anywhere from $6000 to $12,000 for a facelift in Canada, the same procedure would start from $1,900 in Brazil. Here are some countries that commonly see foreigners for cosmetic procedures:
South Korea is the cosmetic surgery hub in Asia. Cosmetic surgery is so common (there’s a district called Gangnam with 500 closely located clinics) and sought out here that according to statistics, South Koreans are the most cosmetically enhanced people in the world. More and more visitors are coming into the country annually as they become aware of South Korea’s qualified medical practitioners and facilities—it’s projected that 400,000 visitors will visit the country by 2015 strictly for medical procedures.
Brazil is home to the most cosmetic surgeons in the world. Having cosmetic surgery done here is quite common and is viewed as a norm. An ABC News article reports that the Brazilian government has made cosmetic surgeries deductible from income tax and that discounts are backdated for surgeries as early as 2004. For foreigners who travel here to get a nip and tuck, they’re usually treated very well and are met with no judgment—after all, cosmetic surgery is a cultural norm here and is even seen as a symbol of status.
When Colombia saw large improvements in their safety and tourism, they began building facilities strictly for medical tourists. There are about 500,000 cosmetic surgeries performed in Colombia each year, which ranks as the second highest number of cosmetic surgeries in Latin America. The number of tourists coming to Colombia is predicted to continually increase, but right now there’s 20,000 tourists coming each year for surgeries. There are even package deals available to foreigners with an apartment, housekeeper, chef and a combination of three different surgeries for $10,000.
Iran is known for an extensive network of highly-equipped hospitals, medical specialists and nurses. Iran sees at least 30,000 medical tourists per year, and that’s not counting the 200,000 tourists who visit the country for health, wellness and spa purposes. Iran also carries another title; their country has the highest rate of nose jobs in the world.
Let’s not forget to raise the issue of safety and risks. Safety can be a risk factor when travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery. “Sometimes unqualified surgeons, or people that aren’t even doctors, try to do procedures without the expertise or the credentials which increases the risk for patients,” says Dr. Lina Triana, president of the Colombian Plastic Surgery Society, who was quoted in Colombia Reports. The internet and technology age allows anyone to create websites to advertise skills and services they might not even be capable of; it’s always best to do extensive research before agreeing to go under the knife, even if it’s at a cheaper price.