Traveling Abroad For Cosmetic Surgery

A lot of people nowadays have started considering cosmetic surgeries outside their home country. Going abroad offers the availability of competitive prices, stress free atmosphere for post-surgery relaxation, and personal privacy on the intended vacation.

Cosmetic surgery is commonly available to medical tourists across the globe. While considering cosmetic surgery abroad, there are many aspects to look into. It is important to choose the correct cosmetic procedure, country, surgeon and health care provider one wishes to avail.

Why Choose To Go Abroad For Cosmetic Surgery?

Whether abroad or at home, good cosmetic surgeons exist all over the world. It is the individual’s responsibility to be an informed patient and choose wisely. There are various advantages of a surgery performed abroad for medical tourists.

1. Saving Money


Most healthcare systems in the countries do not classify cosmetic surgery as a medical necessity, which means patients have to pay for their own medical procedures. Cosmetic surgery is not a part of the basic healthcare insurance. Patients must explore the different options and choose wisely depending on the country which suits their needs.

2. Complete Privacy

Being abroad means being away from family and friends. While in the process of cosmetic surgery, most people prefer to keep it under the rugs. Going out in social gatherings with stitches, bandages or in the recovery phase often becomes a little embarrassing for patients. A surgery abroad gives a convenient excuse of a holiday.

3. Improved Choice

An extended research for clinics abroad expands the options for patients even if there are doctors available in one’s home country. Sometimes the patients look for a specific procedure, a specialist center in another country or a particular doctor. Travelling abroad for the surgery improves the choices letting patients get maximum expertise for their surgery.

4. Post-Operative Care

The most important part of a cosmetic surgery is the recovery of a patient, considering the surgery in one’s home country usually means going back to routine life as soon as the surgery is over. However, when the patient is abroad there is no hurry or mental stress to return to the daily chores. This helps the patient to recover faster and healthier.

Popular Cosmetic Surgeries

There are a wide range of cosmetic surgeries available. It is the patient’s choice to consider if the surgery is worth travelling abroad or not. Major surgeries require longer post operative care and minor surgeries demand lesser days of rest.

It is important to understand the improvements cosmetic surgery provides, before choosing the procedure. A sound knowledge of the physical changes, scars, risks and recovery time is essential.

Popular cosmetic surgeries are:

Dental Cosmetic Surgery

  • Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening or teeth bleaching are the most common form of dental cosmetic surgery. Professional bleaching or laser whitening is an effective way to lighten the color of the teeth without causing any damages or removal of the teeth.

  • Veneering

Thin laminates of porcelain are bonded on the front teeth to hide discoloration, dents, chips or gaps. It requires removal of a very thin amount of enamel from the teeth, to accommodate the veneers perfectly.

  • Crowning

Restoration of badly broken or discolored teeth is done by covering them with teeth colored crown/cap. The teeth are reduced and shaped under anesthesia before they are covered with porcelain or gold caps.

Medical Tourism in Cosmetic Surgery

A dental crown is used to entirely cover or "cap" a damaged tooth. It strengthens a damaged tooth and also improves its appearance, shape and alignment. Source: the Dental School Pool via Flickr


  • Tooth Jewelry

This involves sticking jewels to the front of the teeth using special dental adhesive.

Facial Cosmetic Surgery

  • Face lift

The most common facial cosmetic surgery performed by surgeons abroad is the face lift. It results in a fresh and younger appearance of the patient, with lesser wrinkles and sagging of the skin.

  • Rhinoplasty

Also referred to as nose job, it redefines the structure of the nose to change its physical appearance. In certain cases it is performed to improve breathing conditions of the patient.

  • Pinnaplasty

Correction of ears protruding from the head is done by pinning back the ear cartilage. It is best if the surgery is done during childhood.


Medical Travel for Cosmetic Surgery

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 33,107 pinnaplasties were performed in the United States in 2001, constituting 2% of all plastic surgical procedures. Source: BestInPlastics via Wikipedia


 Breast Surgery

  • Breast Augmentation/Uplift

The size of breasts is altered using implants or the patient’s tissue. It is done to improve sagging breasts, increase small/uneven breasts, or to reconstruct the shape of breasts after mastectomy.

  • Breast Reduction

The size of the breasts is reduced by removing fat tissue around the breasts. It may be done due to medical reasons, or to prevent unwanted attention, thereby improving body positivity.

  • Gynecomastia Surgery

Commonly known as the breast reduction surgery for men, it is different from the surgery performed on women. Excess glandular tissue (and not fat tissue) is removed from the chest through liposuction. No major cuts are made on the body.

 Body Lifts And Liposuction

  • Lipoplasty

Removal of excess fat deposits and contouring is done to improve specific areas of the body. The technique may be used on thighs, hips, abdomen, waist, arms, back, chest, chin, neck, calves and ankles.

  • Abdominoplasty

The tummy tuck removes excess fat from the upper and lower abdomen to make it thinner and firm.

  • Apronectomy

Also known as the mini – tummy tuck, this surgery removes the excess skin and fat hanging out on the lower part of the abdomen (on the pubic area) like an apron, after rapid weight loss.


Every country has a different set of rules and regulations required to practice cosmetic surgery. All surgeons are awarded authentic certificates from the accreditation bodies in the countries after completion of their training in specialization. It is essential to check the chosen surgeon with the specific national body. Some accreditation bodies are:

  • European Association of Plastic Surgeons
  • French Society of Plastic Surgery
  • German Society of Plastic Surgery
  • Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of Southern Africa
  • Swiss Society of Plastic Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery

National and International body membership implies that the surgeon fulfills the set standards and qualifications required for practice. But one should individually check the surgeon’s qualification and his/her past record for safety. The chosen clinic/healthcare provider should also be able to produce license from the government department.

High quality cosmetic surgery is well provided in countries regulated by law. There are plenty of options to choose for medical tourism. One must not compromise with an unregistered or unregulated healthcare provider even if the surgery price offered is less.

Choosing The Surgeon

Soon after deciding the location for medical tourism, starts the endeavor of choosing the perfect healthcare provider. As mentioned earlier, it is essential to consider the regulatory rules in the country.

Once satisfied with the healthcare provider facilities, the patient needs to ensure the chosen doctor is well versed in his/her field of expertise. Important questions to ask are:

  • What is the surgeon’s training?
  • Is the surgeon certified?
  • Is he/she a member of recognized national/international body of surgeons?
  • How are the doctor’s past patients? Would they recommend the doctor?
  • Do the surgeon and his/her facility use a surgical safety checklist?

In case answers to the above questions are not positive and convincing, it is better to look elsewhere.

Money Matters

A large part of medical tourism, depends on the amount of money spent during the trip. Expenditure includes ticket, accommodation, pre operative, surgical procedure, post operative, living expense, any complication, companion cost etc.

Tickets and accommodation can be booked through a travel agent, the health care provider, or by the patient themselves.

Travel costs can be reduced significantly if the patient avails international medical tourism insurance. This could cover the pre operative, surgical procedure, post operative, complication, companion costs etc.  For more information about the insurance policies, click here.

Post Operative Care

Once the cosmetic surgery is done, a definite period of recovery is required for every patient. It is best to spend this time in the chosen country of medical tourism, close to the doctor in case any complications arise. After surgery, the period of recovery recommended by surgeons can range from 2–7 days based on the type of surgery performed.

Spending ample amount of time in the healthcare center after the cosmetic surgery is desired of the patients for better recovery and health. In case the patient begins to feel unwell and thinks it is a direct result of the cosmetic surgery, the doctor is close at hand to handle any complication.

The patient should follow the instructions given by the doctor and hospital staff for as long as prescribed. Not doing so could result in serious issues which may not be rectified. It is advised to take plenty of fluids, eat healthy, avoid smoking, drinking and sun bathing for quick recovery.

To achieve a successful and improved result from the cosmetic surgery , it is essential to consider all the aspects of medical tourism abroad. There should be a clear understanding with the chosen healthcare provider about all aspects of the surgery. The patient can also seek legal advice if in doubt to ensure their rights are protected before travelling abroad.

Interested in getting a cosmetic treatment overseas? Check out these hospitals.

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