Which are the top destinations for cosmetic surgery abroad?

When it comes to choosing your destination for cosmetic surgery overseas, the world literally is your oyster. From destinations in Western Europe such as Belgium, Spain and Germany, to clinics in Eastern Europe, Mexico and Turkey, to locations such as South Africa, India and Thailand, you can choose from a wealth of high quality, low cost cosmetic surgery clinics.

Cosmetic surgery abroad: Western Europe

Several countries in Western Europe are popular destinations for UK residents, where private cosmetic surgery is at its most expensive, with Spain, Germany and Belgium heading the field. If you are within Europe anyway, other member states are easy to reach, with low cost airlines helping to keep travel costs down, and some clinics will even offer initial consultations and aftercare at home.

Europe can also be a popular destination for people coming from the USA. European vacations are still popular and being able to combine a cultural break with a cosmetic surgery procedure and some relaxation can work well.

Treatment in Western Europe will feel very familiar, with the same standards and lifestyle that you would find at home. Most clinics will also have a very good command of English. Belgium is particularly popular as it was ranked number one for medical treatments by the World Markets Research Centre Health of Nations study in 2002. Spain is also popular, as it offers the combination of lower treatment costs and sunny weather for your recovery.

Cosmetic surgery abroad: Eastern Europe

Prices in Eastern Europe will be cheaper again that in their Western European counterparts, but people used to USA or European-based health care will have to contend with a less familiar environment. The further east you go, the lower the prices but the less at home you will feel. For example, clinics in Prague in the Czech Republic will feel very ‘Western’ with excellent facilities and equipment in a modern capital city, while treatments in the Ukraine will be cheaper but may provide lower standards of training and equipment, and the environment will be more of a culture shock.

Cosmetic surgery abroad: Turkey and the Balkans

Medical tourism is a new and rapidly growing industry in Turkey and Balkan states such as Croatia. The combination of Mediterranean sunshine resorts with high quality, low cost treatments, in a region where they pride themselves on offering a warm welcome, is fast becoming a recipe for success.

Cosmetic surgery abroad: North Africa

North African countries, such as Tunisia and Egypt, have been popular destinations for cosmetic surgery tourism in the past; however, recent political instability has made these countries less attractive to western European and American travellers. If you are prepared to take the risk of travelling to these countries, you could get an exceptional deal on your cosmetic surgery. Even at the height of the unrest, Egypt’s tourist centres around the Red Sea were largely unaffected, so they may well be worth considering.

Cosmetic surgery abroad: South America

One of the biggest growth areas for cosmetic surgery overseas is South America. Brazil and Argentina are both popular and rapidly growing healthcare destinations, offering remarkably low prices for a range of high quality treatments, while Bolivia can be as little as half the price again of its South American neighbours, both for treatments and for food and accommodation. Mexico has, of course, had a long-established market for cosmetic surgery and dentistry for the neighbouring USA.

Cosmetic surgery abroad: Other destinations

Other popular destinations for cosmetic surgery around the world are chosen either for their low costs, such as India and Pakistan, or for their exotic locations, such as Thailand and South Africa.

India offers surprisingly high quality facilities, with many British or USA-trained, English-speaking surgeons, yet it has some of the lowest prices in the world. The increasing availability of low cost flights to the subcontinent is making India a popular destination. Alternatively, South Africa provides a more ‘western’ way of life for your surgery, plus the option of including a winery tour or wildlife safari in your trip. Thailand is probably the ultimate destination for combining cosmetic surgery with a luxury holiday, with a wide selection of clinics offering surgical procedures in exotic beachfront settings.

Factors to consider when making your choice

Your choice of destination for cosmetic surgery overseas will be a very personal one, and will depend on what is most important to you. If you simply want the very lowest price, you may be happy to travel further, choosing your destination purely on the best deal at the time. If you want convenience and home comforts, then you should stay closer to your own country.

It is important to remember that not all countries share the same quality standards, and so you should bear this in mind when choosing a clinic that is a long distance away. If anything goes wrong, it is much easier to return home in a flight that takes under 4 hours than if you need to travel for most of a day. Wherever they are located, you should always thoroughly research the experience, qualifications and record of any clinic before you make your choice.


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