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Surgery abroad Sat, 17 Sep 2005

Fancy a trip down to Africa for a quick nose job, then catching the last of the African sunset while sipping cocktails and watching the elephants drink at a watering hole at the Kruger National Park?

I laughed the first time someone mentioned nip/tuck safaris or 'scalpel safaris' to me — I mean who would want to fly halfway across the globe for a cosmetic procedure and then go on a week-long safari to recover?

It’s the perfect excuse though: "Myself and Charles have decided to go on a little vacation in Africa — I heard the sun does wonders for your skin, darling" (nudge nudge, wink wink).

And you'd be surprised at how scalpel safaris are taking off in South Africa, with a steady stream of mostly British tourists snapping up the opportunity to find the fountain of youth in our very own backyard.

Botox for a bargain
Consider this: would you spend up to £4500 (about R50 000) on a simple procedure like breast enlargements or liposuction, or just R30 000 for going under the knife in SA with a safari or hotel accommodation thrown in? Not a difficult choice to make, especially when you consider that surgical standards here are said to be some of the best in the world.

Desperate housewives aside, plastic surgery is no longer reserved for the rich and bored — an increasing number of younger people are opting for this route, and with the huge demand, you don’t have to break the bank either to achieve almost movie star looks. Even young men are taking up the call to look their best with a little help from a friend called 'doctor'.

SS, based on Johannesburg, is one of the companies that have pioneered this concept of tourism and cosmetic surgery. The group has consultants in South Africa, the UK and the USA. Not only do they make all your surgery arrangements, they'll also plan your trip, provide aftercare facilities and provide transport from the moment you step off the plane to when you leave.

Lorraine Melvill, who heads the company says that if their clients are based in the UK, they will usually fly over experienced and highly-recommended local surgeons for consultations with them. But it's not only foreign clients who have fallen for the charms of the African sun, SS also has quite a few SA clients who are willing to spend a few rands on 'updating' their looks.


Taking away or adding more?
Depending on their age, according to Melvill, most women from the age of 45 and up tend to opt for tummy tucks, breast lifts and facelifts, while her younger clients generally opt for breast augmentations and liposuction.

A simple breast enlargement or nose reconstructive surgery, with a seven-day vacation thrown in of course, would set you back around R32 000. If you're willing to splash out on yourself for a facelift, including eyes, and a 12-day accommodation package, you're looking at a cool R57 000.

Another SA company offering cosmetic holidays is Evolution Cosmetic, also based in Joburg, which offers much the same services as SS. Also targeting the UK market, Evolution sets up consultations every eight weeks with their clients in London until they are completely happy with which procedures they want done.

Victoria Wagner from Evolution says that the majority of their clients are from the UK, with over 90 percent being women between the ages of 25 and 55. Their most popular procedures are breast augmentation (about R40 000), facelifts (about R55 000) and tummy tucks (about R42 000), all-inclusive package.

Like SS, Wagner says that a lot of her client referrals are from SA as well. Procedures range from brow lifts to denture implants, and even botox injections, all which are done in private hospitals in the big city centers.

Afterwards patients have the option of either staying at a hotel or private game reserve to recuperate and make a holiday out of it — no use flying half way across the world or not seeing the Big Five!

So when you return home, your friends will marvel at your new complexion and say: "You look fab, is that a new hairstyle?" and you’ll sit back and bat your eyelids while replying: "Yes, this spa I went to just did wonders for me — I feel like a completely new person."


GoSculptura offers packages offering plastic surgery in Argentina competitively priced with leading board certified plastic surgeons in leading plastic surgery clinics in Argentina.

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