Medical tourists flock to Dubai for cosmetic surgery

Dubai hospital reports rise in foreign patients travelling to the UAE to undergo both surgical and non-surgical treatments
Medical tourists flock to Dubai for cosmetic surgery
By Sarah Townsend
Tue 21 Jul 2015 11:16 AM

Medical tourism to the UAE is on the rise, particularly for cosmetic surgery, hospitals report.

At one hospital in Dubai, more than a quarter of patients during the summer months this year have been from outside the GCC, according to the Khaleej Times.

Cosmetic surgery provider the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital (AACSH) is one of several hospitals that have designed special packages to attract medical tourists, the newspaper reported on Monday.

It cited figures from the AACSH that reveal 27 percent of patients who visited the hospital during summer were from outside the GCC and Middle East and North Africa regions, with 35 percent travelling from within the Middle East and the rest from the GCC.

The most popular surgical procedures were liposuction, the newspaper reported, which made up 45 percent of cosmetic procedures carried out between June and August, followed by breast surgery (31 percent) and body lift surgery (10 percent).

There was also a surge in non-surgical treatments, with dermal fillers making up almost a third (32 percent) of all non-surgical treatments carried out between March and June.

And non-invasive body contouring and cellulite reduction treatments made up 25 percent of treatments; Botox made up 24 percent, facial rejuvenation laser treatments 13 percent, and laser hair removal six percent.

The increase in numbers was attributed to various initiatives by the Dubai Health Authority, in particular its ‘Be Beautiful in Dubai' campaign, which was launched in June and is a direct promotion of the emirate’s cosmetic surgery sector, which the DHA claimed at the time is growing by 12-15 percent each year.

A report, UAE Healthcare Sector Outlook 2020, by consultancy RNCOS, adds that the UAE healthcare industry is forecast to grow by seven percent during 2015-2020.

Cosmetic surgery tourism packages offered by the Government of Dubai include, visa, accommodation and insurance - although not the cost of the actual procedure.

AACSH chief medical officer Dr Matteo Vigo was quoted as saying: People have more leisure time during the summer, and therefore they prefer to undergo major cosmetic procedures [then], as they have enough time to rest and heal before heading back to work."

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