More foreign tourists flock to South Africa for Plastic Surgery

The number of foreigners combining plastic surgery and a (safari) holiday in South Africa has shot up dramatically

The number of foreigners having plastic surgery in South Africa has shot up dramatically in the past year, despite the strengthening of the rand. "In December 2004 we had six patients and last month we had 25," said Peter Rodway, managing director of Mediscapes, which sells cosmetic surgery packages, mostly to foreigners on holiday in Cape Town.

Although the range of procedures foreigners wanted was wide, Rodway said: "Without question the most popular is breast augmentation." The next most popular procedures are tummy tucks, rhinoplasty, liposuction and facelifts.

The packages include the procedure, accommodation, tourist excursions, and the assistance of therapists and nurses during recovery.

Although the rand has strengthened, Rodway says the cost of plastic surgery in South Africa remains 60 percent to 65 percent cheaper than in Britain or the US.

The Johannesburg company Surgeon and Safari
has also noted a marked rise in demand. "We're booked up completely for January," said chief executive Lorraine Melvill. "On average last year we had 30 clients a month and in 2004 we had about 15 a month."

The number of bookings made through a Surgeons and Safari competitor, Surgical Attractions of Johannesburg, has also grown significantly. "Foreigners are encouraged by the exchange rate, medical expertise and the anonymity," said chief executive Ingrid Lomas.

All three companies reported that most of their
clients were from the UK, primarily England, and a minority from the US, Europe and the rest of Africa. Lomas said the package services appealed to the British because of the price. "Cosmetic surgery here is of a higher echelon than it is in England, unless you go to a highly priced surgeon where it then becomes prohibitive for the man in the street."

The number of South Africans seeking plastic
surgery had also risen, but not as sharply, Hudson and other plastic surgeons said. Breast augmentation is also one of the procedures in highest demand among South Africans.

Cape Town Routes Unlimited said it welcomed medical tourism and would play its part in promoting Cape Town as a destination for the industry.

Source: The Cape Times / 4 January 2006

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