The plastic world of cosmetic tourism

Actress Jennifer Lopez is one of the most requested looks in Brazil. Photo from AP.
Actress Jennifer Lopez is one of the most requested looks in Brazil. Photo from AP.
Some travel is less a matter of taking the plastic than having it surgically implanted. Narelle Bouveng, of AAP, compares the offshore options to having the work done in Australia.

Looking to bring back a unique souvenir from your next overseas holiday?How about some new breasts from Brazil, a yummy mummy makeover from Thailand or perhaps that designer vagina you have always wanted from Malaysia - a steal at just $A7700 ($NZ8737) which includes 10 nights accommodation in a five-star hotel.

Medical tourism is a global phenomenon; savvy surgeons are teaming up with luxury hotel operators to offer cosmetic surgery/holiday packages that can include flights, accommodation, multiple surgeries and a host of tailored extras like sightseeing for the same cost (or less) than it is to have one procedure at home.

But would you risk it? Horror stories fill blogs about exploding implants on the flight back home, aesthetics that require further, more expensive surgery to correct post-op and dubious standards when it comes to sterility.

Consequently, the choice to go under the knife whether on home or foreign soil is a personal one.

But if you are considering a bit of a nip, tuck or tighten next time you head overseas, you may be surprised to know it is not only Asia competing for aesthetic action.


Having won more international beauty contests than any other country in the past 50 years, including five Miss World titles, four Miss Universes and countless other crowns and prizes, Venezuela knows a thing or two about beauty.

Buttocks and breasts are the signature surgeries here and if you book both together, you qualify for a "package deal" at the Caribbean International Plastic Surgery Clinic.

Located on the stunning Margarita Island in Venezuela's north, the clinic recommends accommodation at Hippocampus Vacation Club (a unfortunate name), which is located only five minutes away from medical facilities that are claimed to be "first class".

Accommodation is not five-star but clean and reasonably priced.

Breast augmentation starts from $A3500, which is less than the price of having one boob done in Australia and a buttock augmentation starts from $A6600. (Visit:


You can be the girl from Ipanema with a little help from the experts at self-claimed cosmetic surgery capital of the world.

Most of the major clinics are located in and around Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Recife, servicing a large local market, but also a thriving American market which contributes to over half a million surgeries being performed here each year.

The most popular surgeries are abdominoplasty (overnight abs) and breast augmentation, with the preferred size of implant a C.

For those that like a bit of celebrity inspiration, Brazilian Supermodel Giselle Bundchen (a local in these parts) is the most requested "look" for both these surgeries, but for a famous Brazilian booty it is the derriere divas - Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Lopez who take top honours.

Cosmetic Vacations can arrange all details of your trip including a multilingual assistant, accommodation from five-star luxury through to four-star affordable and quotes its prices based on individual assessment.

You can, however, expect an approximate saving of between 40%-50% on similar surgeries offered in Australia.

Malaysia and Sri Lanka

Gorgeous Getaways are the specialists if you are thinking of having your renovation in Malaysia or Sri Lanka.

With a choice of accredited surgeons and a dizzying array of procedures you will be treated in five-star luxury while the new you has time to morph.

Privacy is assured if you are thinking about labioplasty (labia reduction) or colporraphy (vaginal tightening) with the designer vagina option a firm favourite among locals who have given birth to multiple children.

Side trips to Sabah can be arranged post-surgery with the Rainforest Retreat package offering accommodation at the gorgeous Sutera Harbour Resort.

Or choose from a range of facilities, surgeons and hotels in both Kuala Lumpur and Colombo.

Clients who are not shy about sharing the reasons for their surgery (along with those confronting before-and-after images) can be invited to "stay for free" by agreeing to appear in relevant publications.

(Visit and look for the media promotions page if this is for you.)


The most popular destination for Australian surgery travellers is Bangkok.

In this town there is a medical centre on virtually every corner offering breasts, noses and behinds right alongside the other fakes including Gucci, Chanel and Dior.

Medical facilities are said to be "cutting-edge" and some British and Australian companies have set up residence to facilitate cosmetic surgery especially for Westerners.

Gender reassignment is a popular surgical choice, as is breast augmentation, breast reduction or the aptly named TTT (Thailand Tummy Tuck).

Dental and skin treatments are extremely cheap and can sometimes be booked and completed as a same-day service, with surgeons happy to take on non-cosmetic procedures like hip replacement, gastric bypass and cardiac surgeries as well.

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