Changing the face of cosmetic surgery, Brazil leads the plástica revolution

by Tom Phillips ,  The Guardian | 2006-08-07

· South America is leader in nip and tuck tourism
· Delegates watch latest techniques on live link

For decades Brazil has been considered a thriving centre for cosmetic surgery, and it is now at the heart of a growing wave of surgery tourism, with foreigners jetting in for a few days on the cutting board and a week's recuperation on the beach. After the United States, home to 5,000 registered cosmetic surgeons, Brazil comes in a close second, with around 4,000.

A pair of blood-smudged surgical gloves appears on the giant screen, then a glistening scalpel, which slides with ease into the pale, yellowy skin. "These," explains the heavily accented narrator, "are all little tricks to deal with the problem of the dog ears."

It is an overcast morning in Copacabana and in a big circus tent, erected metres from one of the world's most famous beaches, hundreds of stylishly dressed delegates crane their necks up at two cinema screens. Welcome to what organisers have described as the biggest cosmetic surgery event in history. With about 2,400 surgeons from nearly 80 different countries in attendance, the biannual reunion of the International Society of Aesthetic Surgery (Isaps), which ended this weekend, is the multibillion-pound industry of cosmetic surgery in action.

That the world's leading cosmetic surgeons have packed into Rio de Janeiro's five-star beachfront hotels this week is no coincidence. For decades Brazil has been considered a thriving centre for cosmetic surgery, and it is now at the heart of a growing wave of surgery tourism, with foreigners jetting in for a few days on the cutting board and a week's recuperation on the beach. After the United States, home to 5,000 registered cosmetic surgeons, Brazil comes in a close second, with around 4,000.

In the dimly lit main hall the delegates, many wearing headsets for translations, gaze up in admiration as a Belgian surgeon explains how best to do-away with dog-ears (a surplus of skin, common with facelift operations). "We are very happy with this," chirps the doctor over a video link from a clinic down the road where, at just after 9am, he is performing the conference's opening facelift live.



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