Medical Tourism Rising as More Seek Plastic Surgery Abroad
With the rising popularity of cosmetic surgery, more patients are choosing to save money by having elective surgeries abroad in what is being termed ‘medical tourism’. Reducing the costs of surgery isn’t the only attraction of traveling abroad for these procedures. Medical tourism appeals to many cosmetic patients’ sense of adventure, their desire for confidentiality and their need to feel pampered before and after treatment. International hospitals that cater to plastic surgery patients understand the unique needs of this group and may be more willing to give them personalised care at affordable prices. It seems that after a down term in medical tourism the trend is starting to turn with reports that an increased number of Brits as seeking treatment abroad and in particular plastic surgery abroad.
Cosmetic surgery aims to enhance one’s physical features in order to boost self-confidence and increase satisfaction with appearance. Unlike reconstructive plastic surgeries, such as repairing tissues after an accident, fire or illness or correcting a defect that was present at birth, cosmetic procedures are rarely if ever covered on National Health Services such as Britain’s NHS. Because surgical fees and inpatient accommodations for elective cosmetic procedures can be extremely costly, many patients who seek the benefits of aesthetic enhancement are turning to surgeons and hospitals abroad.
As cosmetic surgery gains widespread public acceptance, more people are choosing to modify or improve certain features of their face or body. Despite changes in social attitudes, some patients are self-conscious about their decision and sensitive to criticism about their choice to have cosmetic surgery. Having plastic surgery abroad gives patients the opportunity to undergo the elective procedure of their choice in a confidential, secure setting.
With the rise in bariatric surgery to correct obesity, a growing number of patients are seeking cosmetic procedures to reshape their bodies after a significant weight loss. Obesity surgery may be performed on the National Health Service if the patient’s health is seriously compromised. For many patients who have lost significant amounts of weight, cosmetic surgery augments the benefits of weight loss and restores a healthy body image. However, removing loose skin or lifting the breasts after weight loss surgery are considered to be elective operations and must be paid for out of pocket.
In response to the rising demand for cosmetic surgery, more UK health care providers have begun to perform cosmetic procedures. Plastic surgeons who once limited their practice to medically necessary reconstructive operations are branching into cosmetic enhancement. In spite of the growing availability of aesthetic treatments, having cosmetic surgery in the UK is still more expensive for patients than travelling abroad. Those who can’t afford to pay for a face lift or tummy tuck out in the UK may find that surgeons’ fees and hospital accommodation are considerably less expensive abroad.
Medical tourism has become increasingly common as patients gain confidence in the expertise of international doctors and the safety of hospitals abroad however choosing the right plastic surgeon is as important as selecting the procedure itself. Most patients seek a surgeon with a proven record of performing the procedure that they’re looking for, whether it be nose reshaping, breast augmentation or a tummy tuck. Some plastic surgeons overseas have extensive experience at these procedures, and their training and background often rivals that of practitioners in the UK however this cannot be said of all overseas practices so it’s certainly wise to do your research first and check the surgeon’s professional accreditations.
Whilst may are using the phrase ‘medical tourism’ it would seem that primary motivation for travelling abroad for cosmetic surgery is to save money rather than to combine it with a holiday. Whilst there are savings to be made it is likely that more and more people will opt for plastic surgery abroad however we can’t stress how important it is to do you research first!