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Where Are the Best Places to Get Plastic Surgery Overseas?

February, 2017


According to The International Medical Travel Journal, some of the top destinations for medical tourism include Malaysia, Germany, the UK, Greece, India, and Spain, but other nations top the list when it comes to cosmetic procedures, in particular. For plastic surgery overseas, Brazil, Thailand and Malaysia take the top spots.

To ensure you’ll receive the safest care when getting plastic surgery overseas, stick with the countries that have been ranked as the best for their hospitals and facilities, as well as their medical professionals.

The Top Countries for Plastic Surgery Procedures

Malaysia won the IMTJ Medical Travel Award for Destination of the Year in 2016, as well as the award for International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic of the Year. The country treats more than half a million people from other nations, thanks to its low costs and modern infrastructure. In fact, the infrastructure in Malaysia is considered better than what’s found in places like India, and English is also spoken more widely in Malaysia than in other Asian countries like Thailand.


Brazil comes in second in the world, after the United States, in terms of the number of cosmetic procedures performed annually, and Rio de Janeiro is considered the “World Capital of Plastic Surgery.” The country is known for its innovations within the field of high quality cosmetic procedures, as well as its protocols to ensure patient safety. You can find highly trained doctors and JCI-accredited hospitals, and your procedures could cost substantially less than what you would pay in Western nations.  


Thailand is a country where medical tourism is growing every year, and you can expect to receive a variety of high quality treatments and plastic surgeries at more affordable rates than you can get elsewhere. Plus, a lot of the medical professionals in Thailand were trained in Western nations and speak English well. Experts recommend heading to Bangkok to access the top doctors and the best care in the country.

study abroad
study abroad

The Benefits of Medical Tourism

The benefits of medical tourism can be substantial, particularly when you take the appropriate steps to prepare for your trip and the care you’ll receive abroad.


  • One of the main benefits of getting plastic surgery overseas is getting high-quality medical procedures you need at a lower price. This is actually the number one reason why so many people are choosing to go abroad, as you can save anywhere from 30-80% when compared to the costs you’d incur in a country like the U.S. Even when you factor in the costs of travel, medical tourism might be the most affordable option.

  • Most health insurance won’t cover plastic surgery, so medical tourism can give you access to the care you want. Even if your surgery is covered by insurance, you might find that the out-of-pocket costs associated with treatments in your home country are more than what it would cost to travel to another country for the procedure.

  • You can recover in private. Many people prefer to have plastic surgery and other operations overseas, so they can recover comfortably at a hotel without family or friends dropping in during the healing process.

  • Established global standards of medical care, combined with advancements in technology within the healthcare field, have improved health care throughout the world, giving patients more options.

  • Many of the medical professionals who offer their services to patients from abroad are not only trained, but also certified, in Western nations, including the U.K. and the U.S.

  • There are also medical centers throughout the world that are accredited by international organizations to prove their excellence, and some are members of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

study abroad
study abroad

Things to Consider Before You Get Plastic Surgery Abroad

Medical tourism can provide many benefits for patients, but there are also some risks that you need to consider before hopping on a plane and heading off to Brazil for a nose job or to Thailand for a face lift.


Generally, regardless of where you are traveling to receive your medical treatments, you should be aware that:


  • There may be an increased risk of developing blood clots if you fly after having surgery. Therefore, always plan for an appropriate amount of recuperation time. Then, when you are on your flight home, make it a point to get up and move around often to keep the blood flowing.  

  • If you don’t speak the native language fluently and if you aren’t planning on traveling with someone who knows the language and can speak on your behalf, it could be difficult to communicate with your doctor and nurses in a foreign country. This could increase the risk of complications and misunderstandings regarding your care. Taking someone with you or arranging for a translator may be beneficial if you have concerns about language barriers--especially if your doctor is in high demand and the hospital staff may not have the same level of language skills as your doctor.

  • In some nations, there is the risk that medications will be of a poorer quality than what you would receive at home. Medications might even be counterfeit in foreign countries. You can avoid problems by getting your prescriptions from legitimate pharmacies (you can ask your country’s embassy to help you find one) and always asking for a receipt. Never shop from street vendors, open markets, or suspicious looking establishments, and avoid medications that are priced super cheap. Also, closely examine the pills themselves and their packaging, especially if you know what the medications are supposed to look like.

  • Antibiotic resistance is a serious problem all over the world, and it could be more widespread in countries where medical tourism is common. Bacterial strains that are resistant to antibiotics can result in complications that include serious infections. The right medical facility will order tests to determine the specific antibiotics that you need, as well as answer your questions regarding any antibiotic-resistant strains that they’ve dealt within the past. When given antibiotics, always take them exactly as prescribed.     

  • There have already been outbreaks of infectious diseases amongst medical tourists who have returned home to the U.S. Some patients, including those who suffered from complications, are reluctant to tell their doctors about the care that they received overseas, and some may not even have the right documentation regarding the treatments they received. If you experience difficulties when you return home, be open and honest with your primary care physician and be sure to furnish all the records regarding the care you received abroad.

Paying for Medical Procedures in Other Countries

Another thing you need to consider when you become a medical tourist is how you will pay for the treatments you will receive and the procedures you will undergo. Make sure you get a quote for exactly how much you will be expected to pay, and consider the costs of traveling to and from your destination, as well as the cost of your hotel during your stay.


Keep in mind that foreign currencies can be volatile, so using a specialist money transfer service like OFX, could help you save substantially compared to transferring money overseas with your bank.* With OFX, you can also lock in an exchange rate, so you’ll know exactly what you’ll be paying even if you won’t be having your procedure for another 6 months. Think of it like this: by using OFX instead of your bank or credit card to pay for a medical procedure, you may save enough to cover the cost of a hotel for a week. So get out there, and get ready to turn heads with your new look. 













IMPORTANT: The contents of this blog do not constitute financial advice and are provided for general information purposes only without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. UKForex Limited (trading as “OFX”) and its affiliates make no recommendation as to the merits of any financial strategy or product referred to in the blog. OFX makes no warranty, express or implied, concerning the suitability, completeness, quality or exactness of the information and models provided in this blog.

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