Cosmetic surgery. Vacations. Two terms you’d typically never associate with each other. Yet cosmetic surgery holidays are hardly a new or little-known phenomenon – at least according to the staggering medical tourism figures in popular cosmetic surgery destinations around the world. While it does have its medical risks, I’d personally go for it – keep reading to find out why. (And mind you, I’ve lived through a few surgeries myself, though none of them, cosmetic.)
Cut-price nip and tuck
Let’s start with the most enticing fact. Know this: The top draw for overseas plastic surgery ops is its shocking value. A patient looking for breast implants can expect to pay $8,400 in Singapore compared to $3,500 in Thailand and $3,800 in Malaysia. This makes a cosmetic surgery vacay – even after factoring in travel and accommodation costs – far more affordable than a standalone procedure in Singapore. While costs may vary between patients and procedures, lower labour costs in these destinations (as compared to places like Singapore, Australia and the States) usually mean lower surgery prices (can we say deal?)
Recovery meets relaxation
Fancy poolside rubdowns in between medical appointments? Or staring out into the vast safari wilderness while you recuperate? Having experienced a few surgeries myself, I’ve experienced first-hand the bleakness of post-op recovery. Healing and hiding it out within the four walls of your bedroom or ward for weeks does not make for a happy experience. On the other hand, recovering from an invasive surgery in a lush Bali villa or a five-star hotel doesn’t only sound glamorous; away from the stresses of daily life, it’s the perfect, relaxing way for your body (and mind) to heal.
There’s probably nothing more awkward than bumping into a friend when your nose is heavily bandaged, or eyes are swollen to death. If you’re countries away, you’re at little risk of gossipy friends finding out about your boob job or new double lids. As for work, it’s far more discreet to tell your boss that you’re going on a two-week vacay and returning with subtly improved features, rather than staying on-island and being pressured to announce the reason for your long leave.
The savvy traveller in you has probably heard of unique travel packages, including introvert-specific ones, and spiritual vacays. I’ve heard of people flying to Bangkok and Korea to get their faces done, but have never heard of agencies who offer all-inclusive aesthetic surgery travel packages. Restored Beauty Getaways and Gorgeous Getaways are just some of many that offer these packages, which often include private hospital fees (and subsequent fees like anaesthesia and X-ray), prescribed medication, accommodation, and all transfers to/from the airport and hospital. All you need to do is plan your meals (if room service isn’t a daily option) and activities (should you be well enough to leave the room).
If dodgy backroom surgeries and unqualified doctors are what come to mind, stop right there. Famous cosmetic surgery destinations like Bangkok offer cosmetic surgery packages at world-class hospitals, including Bumungrad International Hospital and Bangkok Hospital (which are supported by internationally trained surgeons and state-of-the-art facilities). We spoke to a colleague’s acquaintance (let’s call her “A”), who had breast augmentation and cosmetic veneers done at Bangkok Hospital in Phuket. “Service was amazing, with multiple nurses accommodating to me in a grand and squeaky clean environment. Thanks to top-notch care, I experienced minimal pain and was reading and relaxing poolside only two days post-op”.
But there are glaring issues…
While surgery is always risky, the risk is heightened in destinations with less stringent medical regulations. This could result in severe complications and infections, which involve rushing to the emergency room and frantic flights back home. There are also possibilities of revisionary work and additional corrective treatments which usually happen post-trip, leading to added expenses. Plus, without the presence of your surgeon (the best person to treat your problem), this may lead to deviations from your original choice.
Research is the word
As with any invasive surgery, never take it lightly and actually commit to doing thorough research beforehand. Look up the hospital and surgeon’s qualifications, accreditation (under International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) and the hospital’s medical standards. At your consultation, be sure to ask about the risk of complications, including what happens if they arise post-op and if the surgeon will accept liability. A advises, “At the end of the day, it comes down to doing your research and deciding if you’re confident with the surgeon and hospital you’ve chosen. Then, confirm if the surgery is something you really want. If you know the answers to both are ‘yes’, then you’re making the right decision”.
Personally, I can’t think of a better way to recuperate if I ever go through that much physical change (and possibly, slight trauma); there’d be nothing more rejuvenating than private pool seshes, in-room massages and waking up to room service after blissful sleep on luxe linens. I’ve no plans to go under the knife just yet, but if I do, you can bet I’ll be Googling “cosmetic surgery vacays” faster than you can say “nose job.”