Where and why do Americans travel for cosmetic surgeries?

Americans Travelling for Cosmetic Surgeries - Where and Why Do They Do It?

While the quality of medical services in the United States is beyond doubt among the best in the world, a large number of people annually leave the US to go somewhere else to get their medical procedures done and search for cures for their ailments. This is especially true for elective procedures such as cosmetic surgery. With such high quality of specialized medical care, one would have to wonder why such a high amount of people go abroad and where do they go. In this article, we’ll try to explain why and where Americans go to get their cosmetic surgeries.

The why

Going abroad for cosmetic surgery is always an option for anyone who wishes to correct something on their body. About 13% of all people who go abroad for medical purposes are those who travel to get a cosmetic procedure. Even though the quality of those services in the US is quite high, these people still choose to leave the country. We wondered why this is so, and we came upon the following answers:

  • The cost – The cost of medical procedures (especially those not covered by insurance, like cosmetic surgeries) is infamously high in the US. The reason for this is that doctors have higher salaries, their overhead costs are higher and the medicines are more expensive. On the other hand, medical centers in countries like Mexico, or throughout Latin America, can offer these services for about half the price. This lures people from the US to go there, as they can pay for a round-trip, a few-days’ stay, and the procedure while still saving a lot of money.
  • Availability of procedure – As the FDA and the CDC heavily regulate the procedures that are available to the patients in the US. While this is generally a good thing, as Americans are safe when doing procedures, some of the procedures which are completely safe do not pass their regulation for some reason. Some types of breast augmentation, gender reassignment procedures and some face-lifting techniques are all sought after abroad, as they cannot be provided in the US.
  • Discretion – People usually don’t want other people to know when they are having a cosmetic procedure done, as it portrays insecurity. It is much better to just turn up with a new nose or a bigger set of breasts than to go about advertising it. Travelling abroad for an operation can help with getting an excuse for being absent from work, without everyone knowing immediately what it is.
  • Comprehensive packages – As going abroad requires travelling and lodging, aside from the actual procedure, the procedures are usually tucked into packages which include a round-trip ticket, transportation to and from the airport and a high-quality hotel stay. Some of the packages can include even more things, like massages during the procedure, special trips to visit the sights and similar things.
  • Visiting new places – For some, it is not just about getting a procedure done. These people look for new experiences and new places to visit and getting an operation is just another way to find out about new cultures. While this is not a primary reason why anyone would get cosmetic surgery abroad, it certainly is one of the upsides.

Where do Americans travel for cosmetic surgery?

When it comes to choosing where to go for getting a cosmetic surgery or a non-surgical cosmetic procedure, there are a few places that the people from the US prefer.

First of all, Mexico is an obvious choice because of its closeness, the number of certified medical centers that perform these procedures, and the number of expat doctors who have decided to open their own medical offices there so that they could offer cheaper treatments. Mexico is currently the #1 choice of Americans and Canadians for cosmetic procedures.

Some people from the West coast prefer going to Asia for their treatments, as it is easier for travel. Countries like South Korea, Thailand, and Philippines are highly sought after, primarily because of their expertise and the availability of specialized procedures, such as Asian features, sex change operations, etc.

Those from the East coast prefer flying to Europe, or Central and Latin America, as the procedures are still cheaper there, while not lacking in quality and professionalism. Countries like Costa Rica, Germany and even Turkey are on top of the travelling lists. Similarly to Mexico, Costa Rica has a number of expat US doctors working there, or their doctors have studied and trained in the US. 

Living in the United States definitely has its commodities, however, it is widely known that medical services in the US are extremely expensive. For this, and the other reasons named above, Americans choose foreign countries to do their cosmetic surgeries. 

We hope that we have answered at least some of the questions you may have about travelling abroad for cosmetic surgeries. If you have any further questions, you can always contact us and find out more.

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