Medellin, Colombia is fast becoming known as a center for cheap plastic surgery procedures in Latin America. Many tourist from all over the world are flying into this Colombian city to have their tummies tucked, their faces lifted, botox injected, their noses reshaped, breasts augmented, unwanted fat removed, lips made more plump, and even to get their butts made more full and shapely. As the cost of such procedures are often far cheaper in Colombia than the USA, Canada, and Europe, many cosmetic surgery enthusiasts are turning tourist and heading to Medellin.
Small noses, well shaped butts, big breasts, full lips, and thin stomachs seem to be the driving muses behind the Medellin cosmetic surgery explosion, and women are flocking from all corners of the globe to try to buy a body like Shakira. The women in Medellin are said to be some of the most gorgeous women in the country, and this may be due in part to the scalpel and the masked men whose business is beauty.
In Colombia, cosmetic surgery gained popularity with the narco-estética (what drug traffickers think is beautiful) fashion trend, but has now matured into a thriving industry. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested into developing Medellin’s cosmetic surgery facilities for foreign clientele, and literally hundreds of clinics have sprung up around the city. Medical tourism was actually part of Medellin’s six prong revival plan, and since its inception in 2008, this industry has brought in $7 million dollars and has serviced over 5,000 foreigners.
Though the “cheap plastic surgery” hype in Medellin may not live up to the reality. I spoke recently to a very disillusioned American who visited some of Medellin’s cosmetic surgery clinics in search of a simple botox procedure, but found the costs more than in the United States.
“In Beverly Hills I was paying $150 for botox injections, but in Medellin they were trying to charge me $300. I’m not going to pay more for botox in Colombia than in Beverly Hills!”
Adding the cost of travel to Medellin and additional living expenses when there on to the price of the various cosmetic procedures that foreigners are seeking there, and the venture may not prove to be as much of a financial incentive as it initially seemed. Knowing this, the city is aiming more to attract foreign clients who are after big medical operations rather than outpatient cosmetic surgeries.
But the prospect of combining cosmetic surgery with a vacation is attracting many foreigners to Medellin. Rhinoplasties and breast augmentations combined with coffee tours are becoming ever more popular.