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Medical Tourism for Cosmetic Surgery a Growing Industry

Last Updated: October 31, 2013.

Medical tourism for cosmetic surgery is a growing industry, with many Americans going abroad for lower-cost elective procedures, according to an article published online Oct. 28 in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery-Global Open.

THURSDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Medical tourism for cosmetic surgery is a growing industry, with many Americans going abroad for lower-cost elective procedures, according to an article published online Oct. 28 in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery-Global Open.

Lauren E. Franzblau, and Kevin C. Chung, M.D., from the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, discuss trends in the globalization of the cosmetic surgery market and domestic and foreign factors that affect surgical tourism.

The authors note that the industry of medical tourism is growing, with increasing numbers of Americans traveling to countries such as India, Thailand, Malaysia, Cuba, and Hungary for lower-cost elective surgery procedures. Countries trying to attract medical tourism seek to reassure potential tourists with accreditation by international or national organizations; by establishing formal connections between hospitals and American universities or providers; and by recruiting western-trained and certified physicians. In addition, growth in American plastic surgery is curtailed by high costs of health care and malpractice liability. Physical safety and legal protection of medical tourists are an issue, with most destination countries offering inadequate malpractice laws and no legal recourse.

"All research suggests that medical tourism is a growing industry," the authors write. "For plastic surgeons in the United States, this means that more potential patients will be going overseas and across borders where prices are lower and standards may be approaching those of the United States."

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