Cosmetic surgery is no longer just for the Michael Jacksons and Dolly Partons of the world…

Every year tens of thousands of everyday Australians are getting nipped, tucked and augmented, investing billions of dollars in the evergrowing cosmetic surgery industry.

This casual participation has meant change – in the way people view cosmetic surgery, how they undergo procedures, who’s getting the procedures, and where they’re going under the knife.

Men going under the knife

Dr Tony Kane, president of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), says this changing social opinion is seeing more men undergoing cosmetic surgery.

“In Australia, there has been an obvious increase in the number of men seeking plastic surgery procedures,” he says.

“They tend to be more concerned with their appearance than in the past so are more open to cosmetic surgery.

“Others may simply want to look younger and feel a fresher look will help them in the workforce and socially.”

The popular procedures among men include abdominoplasty (‘tummy tuck’), rhinoplasty (nose job), and breast reduction (yes, in men) – for women, breast augmentation is the most common.

Trends in cosmetic surgery

“The biggest change plastic surgeons have observed in Brisbane is a decline in the demand for liposuction,” says Dr Kane.

“Whereas one of the biggest upwards trends, for both sexes, is minimally invasive ‘injectables’ such as botox and collagen.”

bClinic nurse Priema Latha Kesawan says injectables provide more flexibility for those wanting a quick fix.

“Injectables offer so many options and no downtime, of course people opt for this – they can see an immediate improvement,” she says. “It has become a common procedure now.”

Going overseas for surgery

What’s also becoming increasingly common is cosmetic tourism, where a surgical procedure is packaged together with a nice overseas holiday, usually in Thailand.

“While the majority of people would stay in Australia, there is a growing trend towards travelling overseas for cosmetic surgery,” says Dr Kane.

The idea of going to a foreign country for surgery seems alarming, but it’s an option many are taking – like Hayley Morris, who had a breast augmentation in Thailand.

“I just felt way more comfortable going to Thailand, surprisingly,” she says. “We wanted to go on a holiday anyway, and the big cut in the cost was such a massive thing for me as well. I’m so over the moon with the results that I got and the surgeon I had.”

Cost is a deciding factor for many, says Gregory Lemon, marketing director of Gold Coast-based cosmetic tourism agency Cosmeditour, which sends around 20,000 people a year to Thailand for surgery.

“There are some procedures where there is such a massive difference between the Thai prices and the Aussie prices that it’s not even a choice for some people,” he says.

“The implants are the same, the surgeons have the same American training that the Australian surgeons have, the anaesthetist is trained the same, and the hospitals are internationally accredited.”

High quality surgery at a significantly reduced cost sounds too good to be true, and it just might be, according to Dr Kane.

“Often patients find what they thought was a cheaper option ends up costing them more if revision surgery is required when they return to Australia,” he says.

But Lemon says problems can occur no matter where you have surgery.

“There’s no question that there are some cases where people come back from overseas and they need some either urgent or remedial intervention, but the vast majority are getting great outcomes,” he says.

“People get infections from surgery here in Australia – it’s something that exists globally.”

Morris seems happy with her decision. “If I wanted anything else done I would definitely go back to Thailand, it was amazing – such a good experience and so much fun.”

Hayley’s tips for surgery in Thailand:
• Do your research – but keep an open mind
• Listen to your surgeon’s recommendations
• Be aware of communication barriers and cultural differences
• Don’t base descriptions on cup sizes – their sizes are different to ours
• Take a banana pillow