Exotic Brazil has long attracted the rich and famous to its gorgeous beaches and luxury clinics. The Ivo Pitanguy Clinic in Rio has been a destination for royalty, celebrities, socialites, and even world leaders who sought cosmetic surgery since 1963. While Brazil continues to be a top destination for those seeking plastic surgery treatments, it is now a thriving medical tourism destination for a wide variety of health services.
In 2012, approximately 180,000 medical tourism patients traveled to Brazil for care. Those numbers mark the country as the 6th most popular destination for medical tourism in the world.
The appeal, of course, is reduced medical costs. Medical travelers can save 30-50% off many procedures. Patients from the United States receive the biggest discounts, 50-60%, along with the benefit of short travel times. Travel from major US cities to Brazil is only 8-12 hours, compared to the day or more of travel required to reach India or Asian destinations.
The secondary appeal is the beautiful climate and landscape. Who wouldn’t want to recuperate on pristine beaches with stunning ocean and cliff views in a country that believes in relaxation and pampering of self? Destinations such as Rio make it an ideal vacation for those seeking everything from fertility treatments to eye surgery.
The country has built its reputation as a medical destination for decades. There are nearly 5,000 licensed cosmetic surgeons in the country, many trained by the grandfather of plastic surgery, Ivo Pitanguy. Over half of the hospitals are privately-owned, and 15 have earned accreditation by the Joint Commission International with a few being regarded as the best centers for treatment of foreign patients throughout Latin America.
Surgeries Available in Brazil
Cosmetic surgery is by far the most popular treatment. Patients arrive in Brazil for all sorts of lifts, tucks, reductions, enhancements, and shaping surgeries as well as skin rejuvenation and botox treatments. A few surgeons specialize in reconstructive surgery for those with deformities or serious injuries. There are even places where people can get cosmetic surgery for their pets.
Many other treatments are available, as tourists can receive examinations, treatments, preventative care, and surgery for anything they would pay more for at home. There are also some experimental procedures available in Brazil that are not yet approved in the US, or would not be covered by most insurance plans.
Dental care and fertility treatments are quite popular amongst health travelers in Brazil. Eye surgery, weight loss surgery, neurosurgery and advanced cardiac surgery are also available. Other areas include oncology, pediatrics, endocrinology, urology, dermatology, orthopedics, and sports medicine.
Top Destinations in Brazil
Want a reason to travel to Brazil? How about over 4600 miles of coastline that includes some of the most famous beaches in the world? The country is also known for it’s food, shopping and nightlife, though some of the latter may have to be curtailed depending on recovery requirements of specific treatments.
San Paulo is the top of most lists of medical facilities that treat foreigners in South America. Most patients come from the US and Canada due to the combination or low health care cost and low travel prices. The city is tops in Brazil for medical research and the training of health care professionals. It is one of the top 50 cities in the world for medical technology and is on the leading edge of medical innovation and advancements. In addition to amazing food and nightlife, the largest city in Brazil is known for its cultural, historic, and natural attractions, such as amazing architecture, cultural exhibits and events, and a nearby mountain range and rainforest.
Rio de Janeiro may be the most well-known of Brazil’s amazing cities. It overlooks Guanabara Bay and includes famous beaches as well as mountains and forests. It provides stunning scenery to all who come for medical examinations, treatments, and recovery. Medically, the city attracts patients to world class health care for dental and cosmetic surgery, cardiology, neurology, and obesity treatments like bariatric surgery. Medical travelers are then able to enjoy mountains, beaches, waterfalls, restaurants, museums, a rainforest, galleries, and legendary nightlife.
Porto Alegre is another popular destination for foreign patients. It is situated near the beautiful Guaiba River in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. Medical care matches that of the other big cities while the city boasts an atmosphere similar to nearby Argentina, celebrating pampas (cowboy) history and lifestyle. The city is known for its stunning sunsets, modern shopping centers, beautiful museums, and an active cultural life including theater and cinema. Those with activity limits due to medical recovery can chose to stroll through the city’s scenic parks or ramble through the downtown area where historic architecture has been preserved with building converted to create a thriving center for arts and culture.