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Nips and Tucks Go International

People who seek plastic surgery increasingly have the option to tack on a vacation to an exotic locale. Destinations such as Jordan, Thailand, Jamaica and the Philippines offer package deals that include treatment from local doctors and a resort stays to recuperate.

In Jordan, hospitals are offering package deals that include air travel. There’s even a web campaign with U.S. health care specialists and insurers to push for Jordan as the destination site for medical tourism. According to Paul Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions in Washington, D.C., a total of approximately 600,000 American patients will get plastic surgery and other medical procedures abroad this year. The World Bank cites Jordan as the number one medical tourism destination in the region.

Other countries are hopping on board the cosmetic vacation bandwagon as well. According to Forbes Magazine, a popular South African vacation package is “surgeon and safari,” where patients have cosmetic or orthopedic surgery and recuperate while on a safari. Some call it the “beauty and the beast” tour. Forbes reports that a facelift in South Africa costs approximately US$4400, as compared to about $9000 in the United States. With foreign surgeons charging half the price for these procedures it’s no surprise that many are beginning to flock to exotic destinations to get face lifts, tummy-tucks and breast augmentations.

For instance, an internet search for “cosmetic vacations” in Rio de Janeiro produced results which describe Rio as a “safe destination” with “world renowned plastic surgeons.” Another site states that super model Naomi Campbell went to Brazil for cosmetic surgery and that “it wasn’t because of the money.”

Another site features “cosmetic surgery vacations” to the Philippines where you can “Look and feel years younger, refreshed, and rejuvenated and gain an extra measure of inner confidence” in the “tropical paradise.” It then lists over 50 surgical procedures to choose from.

But for some, money isn’t the issue as much as privacy. You can go away for a couple of weeks and come back looking “refreshed”, not only because you had a relaxing time, but because you actually physically altered your appearance. For people who don’t want their friends, family and colleagues to know that they went under the knife for beauty, plastic surgery vacations are one answer.

A New York doctor offers botox weekend getaways at Jamaica’s Half Moon Club. At the resort, clients can get the injections in the privacy of the resort’s hospital MoBay Hope Medical Center. Alas, often not much post-operative outdoor adventure is allowed because patients must minimize sun exposure after some procedures.

Although these vacations may seem attractive to some people, many US surgeons warn people about the dangers of going abroad for such procedures. Among the dangers are flying after surgery, not having proper follow-up medical care and getting an infection in a sub-par medical facility.

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