Would you travel abroad for plastic surgery? Many Australian baby boomers are. Yvette De Stoop has this report.
Passport? Check. Luggage? Check. Breast enhancement? Check. The cosmetic surgery tourism industry is on the rise, and Australian baby boomers are contributing to this increase. But is incorporating a nip-and-tuck into your overseas holiday a good idea? Yvette De Stoop reports.
REPORTER: The past year has seen a spike in the number of baby boomers opting to travel overseas to undergo cosmetic surgery. Dr Ralph Bright, Cosmetic Physician at Macquarie Cosmetic Medicine says, baby boomers are now choosing to change their lives…
RALPH BRIGHT: For many of these people it is something they have perceived to be less than desirable for many years. And they have hidden this particular aspect, they always wear trousers and never wear a skirt. They never take that particular piece of clothing off in front of anybody. And then suddenly one day they say that’s it, I’ve had enough I’m going to fix it.
REPORTER: Whilst it is hard to put an exact amount on the cosmetic surgery tourism industry, it’s predicted that some $850 million will be spent on cosmetic surgery by Australia’s this year alone, and the baby boomers will make up a whopping third of this total spend. (IbisWorld) Amid a three-year study into this phenomenon, Dr Meredith Jones from UTS says, cosmetic surgery tourism is popular because it can combine cheaper surgery with a holiday away.
MEREDITH JONES: Cosmetic surgery tourism is usually, often the way it is understood, is that it is people travelling from over developed or wealthy countries like Australia travelling to countries that are less developed, life for example Thailand (that’s my particular country that I look at) in order to have cosmetic surgery that is not only significantly cheaper, but that is also perceived to have certain other benefits. Joining it with a holiday, being able to go and do it with friends.
REPORTER: The cosmetic surgery tourism industry is booming not only because of the dramatic price differences of surgery performed overseas, but the quality of surgery and care available. Dr Jones and several other leading university researchers from Australia and Briton are working together on a study called The Sun, Sand and Silicon project. This study looks at Australians and Britons who have travelled to popular cosmetic tourism destinations and documents their all-round experience, in a bid to get a complete understanding of the entire cosmetic surgery tourism process.
MEREDITH JONES: This wasn’t how the project began, we didn’t think this would be the out come of the project, but one of the things that we are probably going to end up doing is, debunking some of the myths around cosmetic surgery tourism. So actually saying in some of our reports and articles, actually what we have seen, it’s no more dangerous than having cosmetic surgery at home.
REPORTER: With over 50 Australians a month crossing the seas to undergo cosmetic surgery tourism, Dr Jones says, it’s a more than just a trend.
MEREDITH JONES: It’s probably more than just a trend it’s probably more of a movement.
REPORTER: Even though the perception of cosmetic surgery tourism is dramatically transforming, Dr Ralph Bright, says, cosmetic surgery tourism still has some pit falls.
RALPH BRIGHT: It hasn’t totally transformed yet. And when you talk to the surgeons and doctors in say Thailand and China, what they will tell you is that they are very concerned. Because what they are doing is state of the art. But one block away there will be someone doing it in a tin shack, at very poor standards and of course it’s that person who gives the good clinics a bad name. So they are very much aware that medical tourism is suffering because of the bad operators. And for them it’s their livelihood, they have a passion for it, it’s some thing they enjoy and they want to see the standards for the hole of their country rising. And it is slowly rising and the governments are concerned about it.
REPORTER: These concerns are highlighting the importance of worldwide organisations such as, the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, and the International Confederation of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, which represent surgeons across the globe. Daniela Pratico, Director of Medi Makeovers, a cosmetic surgery tourism agency says, that Australians are not only getting cosmetic surgery abroad but also other general procedures…
DANIELA PRACTICO: You would be very surprised at the number and the rising number of people deciding to go . Not just for plastic surgery actually or dental, they are actually looking at other countries for general procedures. Thailand is quite advanced in many surgical procedures. Knee replacements, hip replacements, heart surgery, IVF treatments and you will find that Australians are starting to educate themselves a lot more about procedure performed overseas.
REPORTER: Whilst information is a lot more accessible in today’s globalised environment, Dr Jones recommends people extensively research before making any decisions….
MEREDITH JONES: What I do recommend is trust nobody except yourself and do your own research.
REPORTER: Yvette De Stoop, Baby Zoomers Magazine.