A cosmetic holiday can be an attractive concept, especially when the outcome is that you will return with better appearance.
Travelling to an exotic destination, undergoing a cosmetic procedure at a budget price, then recovering in a luxury resort – it all sounds ideal. Before you book that nip and tuck, there are a few things to consider: the risks, the advantages and which location is the best for you.
1. What are cosmetic holidays?
A cosmetic holiday involves travelling to another region, possibly even overseas, to undergo a cosmetic procedure.
“A cosmetic procedure can include surgery such as breast augmentation, liposuction, and eyelid surgery” – says Dr Gavin Chan of The Victorian Cosmetic Institute.
From dental care in Europe to liposuction in Thailand, more and more people are choosing to travel for their procedures.
2. Advantages of cosmetic holidays
A cosmetic holiday offers the opportunity to travel and see a new location, while saving money on a cosmetic procedure.
For example, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the national average cost of breast augmentation in the United States is $3,719. For a little bit more, you can include roundtrip airfares and an entire holiday.
Quite often, you do not need to worry about arranging flights, hotels and so forth as some cosmetic holiday packages combines travel, accommodation, the cosmetic treatment and recovery-related expenses into one convenient package.
The locations are often particularly enticing as well, often popular destinations for holidays even without the added attraction of inexpensive cosmetic surgery.
3. Dangers of cosmetic holidays
There are risks associated with cosmetic holidays. In fact, there are inherent risks with any kind of surgical and non-surgical procedure. Therefore, going abroad, without much knowledge of the local health regulations can be very dangerous should a complication arise during or after your procedure.
In Australia, cosmetic procedures are heavily regulated and practitioners have to comply with very high standards of hygiene and care. There are a number of national and state-based regulations and guidelines that govern professional medical practice and conduct. This makes it easy for potential consumers to check the credentials of the professionals who will be performing the procedure. It is also easy to find out about the clinics and facilities where the procedures will be performed, even to go and visit them in person before you book.
This is not always the case overseas. Regulations may be very different and standards may be much lower than you’d expect. This can lead to poor outcomes: techniques may be inferior and lower hygiene standards can increase the likelihood of infections. Recovery may also be problematic as travelling after surgery is often uncomfortable or dangerous.
If things do go wrong, patients have limited legal recourse.
Therefore, before embarking on an overseas holiday for plastic surgery, it may be worthwhile to reflect on why you wish to get the work done.
Are you doing it for someone else?
Do you feel as though you’re not good enough?
Is cosmetic surgery a way to ‘fix’ who you are?
“As human beings, it is perfectly normal to take care of our appearance or want to enhance how we look.” – comments an experienced psychologist from New Vision Psychology.
“People undergo cosmetic procedures for a number of reasons. But if the surgery is a symbol of correcting some deep flaw in yourself – then there is some cause for concern on a self-esteem and self-love level.”
4. Popular destinations
Popular destinations for cosmetic holidays include Europe (particularly Eastern European countries, which are noted for dental procedures), the Americas and Asia.
Seoul, South Korea is sometimes described as the cosmetic surgery capital of the world. It has the highest rate of plastic surgeries per capita in the world. Therefore it is no wonder that the country boasts top surgeons and practitioners, as well as excellent facilities.
The recent popularity in Korean popular culture has made Seoul a prime location. Similar to Japan, South Korea has a host of historical palaces and museums. You can even hire traditional garments for the day for the full experience.
India offers some very attractive opportunities for inexpensive yet high-quality cosmetic surgery and other procedures. The Taj Mahal is perhaps India’s most recognizable building.
Other Asian countries such as Thailand and Indonesia are also popular.
In the US, Hawaii is very popular for inexpensive procedures while Los Angeles is known as a centre of excellence for cosmetic surgery.
Mauritius has recently experienced a rapid rise in popularity as a destination for cosmetic procedures, with major investment into infrastructure and skilled professionals.
5. How to stay safe
To remain safe if you choose to travel overseas for your procedures, you should research the company you plan to book with and find out about the facility and practitioners they use.
Look for reliable independent reviews from former patients. Don’t rely on the testimonials you see on package company websites or clinic websites — these may not be accurate (or only cherry pick positive testimonials).
Find out what the standards are generally like in the country you plan to visit. You should also look at the timeline for recovery and determine whether you’ll be travelling before it’s safe to do so.
Secondly, the cost of living varies from one country to the next and it is impossible to gauge whether a cosmetic holiday package is too good to be true. Therefore, spend some time in breaking down individual costs and comparing them to the individual components. For example, factor in airfares, ground transport, hotels, and medical/cosmetic procedures.
Since it will be difficult for you to know what the benchmark pricing is for a particular procedure, do some sleuthing online to find out what is the norm.
If you do discover that a cosmetic holiday package is too cheap, avoid! Alternatively, find a reputable and trustworthy cosmetic clinic and book things separately.
While there are risks involved in any cosmetic procedure, especially overseas, you can minimise these by choosing your practitioner and location carefully. With the proper preparation and detailed checking ahead of time, a cosmetic holiday can be a great way to get the look you want at an attractive price.