Cosmetic Surgery Overseas - Does it Really Pay Off?

Medical tourism continues to be a popular trend for the decade, giving us an opportunity to jet off to an exotic locale to enjoy some fun in the sun - and get a cosmetic treatment or two while we're there.

Since many cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures in the U.S. cost over $5,000 per treatment, many people are turning to surgeons located in India, Thailand, Brazil and other foreign countries to get their dream treatment at a fraction of the national average cost.

Plenitas, a medical services company in Argentina promotes its low-cost cosmetic surgery 'packages' to U.S. patients.  It features several Combined Procedures packages at special rates, promoting specials such as "Tummy Tucks + Liposuction in 3 areas only $4,000!" and "Rhinoplasty + Mid face lift + neck lift only $4,600!".  To get an idea of what type of savings this is, the typical cost of a tummy tuck in the U.S. is $8,250. Roll in the cost of roundtrip airfare to Argentina and a hotel stay, and you have an all-inclusive, low-cost cosmetic surgery vacation.

Surgical Services International is another company that specializes in low rates for cosmetic surgery overseas. The company recently published a comparison chart of prices for the costs of some of the most coveted procedures. A few examples include:

  • Tummy Tuck + Breast Augmentation - $6,175 vs. U.S. average of $12,150
  • Breast Reduction - $4,750 vs. U.S. average of $8,720
  • Eyelid Surgery - $1,870 vs. U.S. average of $5,025
  • Liposuction (one area) - $2,150 vs. U.S. average of $4,000
  • Nose Surgery (Rhinoplasty): $2,950 vs. U.S. average of $6,250

In most cases, the cost of an overseas treatment is 40-60% lower than the average U.S. cost.

Despite the monetary benefits of medical tourism and cosmetic surgery overseas, there are still several risks involved.  Not having appropriate medical care in case of an emergency is one downside of going to a foreign country for extensive surgery, and if there is a problem with your procedure, you may not have the means to have reconstructive or repair treatments immediately.

Choosing a U.S. based doctor gives you the opportunity to review credentials and learn about their board certification and experience, meet with the doctor face-to-face for your consultation, and even obtain patient financing from a trusted source if you need it.

Further Reading

  • The European Committee of Standardisation (CEN) has increased its trade standards for the cosmetic surgery industry in Europe to ensure cosmetic and plastic surgery practitioners are held more accountable for all procedures performed.

  • Carthage, Tunisia has become a popular destination for spa-goers and medical spa patients who want to take enjoy affordably-priced procedures overseas. Tunisia is now officially a part of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS). As of March 2010, Tunisia is represented by a National Secretary, Dr. Bouraoui Kotti. Dr. Kotti is a certified doctor by the European Board of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and is also a member of the French Board of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery.

  • In the wake of the recent slump in demand for cosmetic and plastic procedures in the United States, countries including Brazil are reporting an overall increase in demand for many aesthetic procedures and beauty treatments.