Sun, sandy beach and … facelift. This is what new travel agencies specializing in medical tourism offer. Here, the enticing formulas combine disorientation and cosmetic surgery. Chest redone, nose reshaped, tapered legs … all in the framework so paradisiacal of Tunisia, Thailand, Brazil or South Africa. Departure for sun surgery.

Traveling to recover a beauty. Declining the concept of medical tourism, several tour operators offer "packages", for a price up to two times lower than the only aesthetic intervention in Europe. A new mix of genres that attract more and more men and women.

The new eldorado of aesthetics

Medical tourism is on the way to becoming a small phenomenon on its own, disrupting the traditional tourism sector. And in terms of cosmetic surgery, it seems that Tunisia is particularly popular with Western customers. As Sabrina left for a facelift, Luce who came back delighted with his liposuction, 500 Westerners performed aesthetic surgery in Tunisia last year (against 200,000 in the United States). A figure which may seem insignificant but which nevertheless continues to increase. And for good reason.

Several travel agencies have recently specialized in this particular offer. This is the case of Estetika Tour: "Our company was created at the beginning of 2004 and we really started our activity in September of the same year. To date, 180 interventions have been carried out, 90% among women and 10 As far as nationality is concerned, 80% of the patients are French, 10% Swiss and the rest are English, Italian and Belgian, "explains Amor Déhissy, manager of the agency.
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As for the detail of the offer, it is rather attractive. Everything is done via internet. The patient chooses her clinic via the selected tour operator. It is then sufficient to forward an application with photographs and medical file which will be transmitted to the surgeon. Once the patient is accepted by the patient and after a preoperative assessment in the United States, an intervention date is set and the related services are developed with the travel agency. Generally, packages include intervention, clinical expenses, anesthesia, overnight hospitalization, post-operative care and pharmaceutical products, return flight, transfers and full board (nights and meals for one Or two weeks) at one of the partner hotels.

And above all, what makes the charm of these packages are the ultra competitive prices.

If it is necessary to count about 6 000 € for the only installation of breast prostheses in the United States, it is only of 2 600 € on average in Tunisia, travel included. The same goes for a rhinoplasty, which goes from 3 500 € on average in the United States to only about 2 300 € in Tunisia.

Why such a price gap? "The prices are not sold off in Tunisia, it is simply that the staff is cheaper and payroll taxes lower." Besides the euro is worth one and a half times the Tunisian dinar, a very interesting exchange rate, "Says Dr. Amir Chaibi, a cosmetic surgeon specializing in maxillofacial surgery.

Caution needs to be kept

If Tunisia has become a reference in the field of aesthetic tourism, it is because it has given itself the means. For Dr. Amir Chaibi, "Tunisia has private clinics that perfectly meet European standards with highly qualified and specialized medical and surgical teams. In agreement with Estetika Tour, I favor patients who have already consulted two or even three surgeons in their Country of origin, but if a patient chooses to consult me ​​directly in Tunisia, I can ask him to consult first of all my French colleagues, if a medical evaluation on file seems insufficient. In order to avoid the risks with the sun. Finally, Estetika Tour and I commit ourselves to take over the intervention in case of true complication or if the insufficiency of Result is obvious. "

Despite these precautions, the French Syndicate of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery is sounding the alarm: "There are some excellent cosmetic surgeons in Tunisia, most of whom have been trained in the United States. This concept "holidays / operation" developed by the tour operators, health does not sell off and medicine is not a trade, but here the whole public health code is flouted. Which precede and follow the intervention but also the article on ethics that prohibits any form of trade and compaction with a surgeon outside Europe, "explains Jean-Luc Roffe, deputy general secretary. Br>

The Directorate General of Health also points out that the French authorities have no control over these practices, carried out outside the national territory. Moreover, according to the French Tourism Code, travel agencies are not allowed to contribute, directly or indirectly through advertising or information, to the sale of cosmetic surgery services, under penalty of a possible withdrawal of license. Their insurance does not cover their liability for this type of benefit in the event of medical complications.

If despite all these warnings, you choose to embark on the adventure, follow these few tips

Cosmetic surgery, wherever practiced, remains the surgery. And one wonders if it is judicious and serious and to leave, in family, for a trip in 4X4 in the desert, and to put on the program of the holidays a liposuction ...
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