Top plastic surgery destinations
In recent years, beauty standards have crossed cultural and racial barriers, with millions of people travelling far and wide to spend top dollar on drastic makeovers to attain the perfect look
According to a 2018 report from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), the US remains the plastic surgery capital of the world when it comes to sheer numbers of lifts, tucks and implants.
It’s ranked top in performing breast augmentation, liposuction (a type of fat removal procedure), buttock lift and facial rejuvenation. According to ISAPS, approximately four million procedures happen every year in the US, with people spending US$ 16 billion (Sh1.6 trillion).
Plastic surgeries are free or low-cost in Brazil’s public hospitals, and the government subsidises nearly half a million surgeries each year.
Brazilian plastic surgeons are among the most skilled in the world, largely as a result of the country’s society’s openness concerning body aesthetic and it records about three million cosmetic surgeries of various type annually.
Ten per cent of all plastic surgeries in the world happen in Brazil, many performed on men. Medical tourism patients from around the world (primarily from the US and Europe) have contributed to Brazil’s rise as a preferred cosmetic and plastic surgery destination.
Japan reports more than 1.2 million cosmetic surgeries per year. The most common surgery performed there is double eyelid surgery, jawline reduction surgery and blepharoplasty.
While in a bygone era, Japanese considered augmentation of one’s appearance to be associated with extreme vanity, referring to those who underwent augmentation procedures as ‘Kewpie dolls’, modern Japanese have embraced plastic and cosmetic surgery, often to extremes including commonplace cosmetic surgery for children.
Italy accounts for almost 957,814 surgical procedures, with eyelid surgery, blepharoplasty and liposuction the most common.
While other countries lead the pack in terms of the highest total numbers of procedures, Italy actually ranks third when these numbers are adjusted by population to show how commonplace these cosmetic procedures are.
A large proportion of the cosmetic procedures performed in Italy were non-invasive, a category that includes botox injections, chemical peels and laser hair removal.
Approximately 923,243 procedures are done in Mexico annually. Common procedures are a facial rejuvenation, breast augmentation, liposuction, best body and extremity.
Another relatively low-cost medical tourism destination, Mexico has seen a marked increase in its number of plastic surgery centres. The city of Tijuana is an extremely popular medical tourism destination because of its proximity to the US.
One of the leading destinations for low-cost cosmetic surgery, India has world-class hospitals with far lower facility costs that translate to dramatically reduced cosmetic surgery costs.
Many Indian medical tourism destinations furnish vacationers with a beach or other high-end resort package, and while airline tickets can be quite pricey, patients often enjoy 90 per cent savings on plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures as compared to similar procedures in America.
Not just inbound patients, but also a huge number of domestic patients have propelled the growth of the Indian cosmetic surgery sector.
Two million facial reconstructing surgeries are completed in China each year. This goes from higher cheekbones, narrower jawlines, bigger eyes to good old nose jobs.
Surgeries in China now are performed in modern, well-equipped, licensed facilities, so prices have risen to higher than those in Western countries. For example, a double eyelid surgery would go for US$1,500 (Sh150,000), but beware; there are numerous underground clinics and salons that perform surgeries illegally that offer the same surgery for as little as US$180 (Sh18,000)
8. South Korea
So common in Korea that plastic surgeries aren’t shocking anymore. The national show Let’s Beauty often features drastic makeovers that are completely unrecognisable. In the last decade, South Korea has become the centre for going under the knife in Asia, especially because of the surgery fees.
A nose job goes for around US$8,000 (Sh800,000), thigh surgeries are around US$4,600 (Sh460,000) and arm surgeries go for US$2,200 (Sh220,000), but it differs from clinic to clinic.
Whether foreigners want to look younger or undergo reconstructive surgeries after accidents, they’ve been flocking to Switzerland for the expertise in aesthetic enhancement.
The main attraction here for medical tourism is that the Swiss focuses on art and discretion. Swiss doctors treat plastic surgeries as art, so the results don’t appear as too obvious like having work done. Confidentiality is also part of the culture’s respect and careful attention to the needs of patients.
Here, facelifts go for US$15,000 (Sh1.5 million), breast enlargements for US$13,000 (Sh1.3 million), a tummy tuck at around US$15,000 (Sh1.5 million) and a liposuction for around US$6,600 (Sh660,000).
Best known for transgender plastic surgeries. Some popular procedures done in Thailand include breast implants, Adam’s apple shaving and cheek implants. Because of the low costs, Thailand has grown to be a huge hub for travellers who want plastic surgeries without breaking the bank.
How much? Adam’s apple shaving costs US$800 (Sh80,000), nose reshaping goes for US$2,000 (Sh200,000) while cheek implants go for US$1,400 (Sh140,000).