Wednesday, 6 May 2015

3 Countries People Visit Just to Get Plastic Surgery

Countries in Europe, Asia and South America attract thousands of visitors from around the world to get cosmetic work done. Why is that? One reason is because people are drawn to the competitive prices of the plastic surgery procedures these countries offer. Instead of paying full price for a facelift (that would cost between $6,000-$12,000 in Canada), a facelift would start from $1,900 in Brazil. That’s a big difference in cost and it’s just one of the factors why we’re seeing so many people travel abroad for surgery. Below are some countries that have seen an increase in foreign tourists mainly for plastic surgery.


Did you know that Brazil has the most cosmetic surgeons in the world? While getting plastic surgery here in North America is oftentimes met with stigma, that’s not the case in Brazil. Getting a procedure here and there in Brazil is really no big deal.

The Brazillian government has even made cosmetic surgeries deductible from income tax, according to an ABC News article. Discounts are backdated for surgeries that go far back as 2004. Brazil has also flourished economically in the last ten years—salaries and disposable incomes are higher. A lot of people choose to spend that money to enhance their looks.  As for medical tourists, they’re treated well and aren’t met with any judgment. Cosmetic surgery is culturally accepted and is even regarded as a symbol of status.


Colombia started to build facilities strictly for medical tourists after they saw their safety and tourism improve. Right now, about 20,000 tourists visit the country each year for plastic surgery procedures. This number is expected to increase. To sweeten the deal for foreigners, there are packages that include an apartment, chef, housekeeper and a combination of three surgeries for $10,000.

Psy - Gangnam Style
Source: Psy's huge hit "Gangnam Style" went viral in 2012.

South Korea

South Koreans are the most cosmetically enhanced people in the world. Like Brazil, getting plastic surgery is really common. The Gangnam District in Seoul has 500 clinics closely located to each other—it’s like walking in a plastic surgery wonderland. The country sees thousands of visitors from countries like China or the U.S strictly for surgery. South Korea is well-known for its highly skilled and innovative plastic surgeons and clinics.

Out of all foreign patients, Chinese patients accounted for 26.5% of them. They also spent the most money in the Korean medical industry in 2013 (1.02 trillion won). By the end of this year, it’s expected that 400,000 people will visit South Korea just for medical procedures.

Safety and Risks

Safety is a real risk factor to think about 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. Just about anyone can create a website to advertise skills and services they might not even be capable of.

Another possibility to consider is the possibility of something going wrong after your surgery. If you return home and an infection or medical concern arises, it’s not like you can easily drop by your doctor’s office. They may be thousands of miles away. If you don’t speak the native language, communicating with the medical staff could be difficult. Keep these points in mind and remember that it’s never a bad idea to research extensively before agreeing to go under the knife, even if it’s at a cheaper price.

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