`Beauty and the Beach: Mapping Cosmetic Surgery Tourism'

Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan
Publication Type:
Chapter
Citation:
Medical Tourism and Transnational Health Care, 2013, 1, pp. 83 - 97
Issue Date:
2013-01
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Cosmetic surgery tourism - traditionally defined as the movement of patients from one location to another to undertake' aesthetic' medical procedures - is a significant and growing area of medical tourism (Reisman, 2010). The UK's annual International Passenger Survey, produced by the Office for National Statistics, shows that approximately 100,000 UK citizens go abroad each year for medical treatment (a number riSing by about 20 per cent annually), and cosmetic surgery tourism is estimated to make up about 8S per cent of the medical tourism market in Australia (Connell, 2006). It has also been suggested that although financial crises, privatisation and the rising cost of health care may have slowed the demand for cosmetic surgery in some 'developed' countries, crossing national borders to procure those surgeries appears to be increasing as consumers seek out low-cost procedures abroad (see Bell et al., 2011). The industry itself is acquiring institutional 'thickness' as the various agencies and agents involved increasingly coalesce into assemblages, regulatory and promotional bodies, financial regimes, and complex flows of bodies, knowledge, technologies, money, ideas and images. As Mainil et al. (2010, p. 749) summarise, 'the global network society has touched the medical field and there is no going back'.
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