07 June 2017

Surgery and Safari - make South Africa your choice for post recovery and recuperation

In light of the Health Tourism Congress taking place this June in KwaZulu-Natal, we thought it would be important to highlight why South Africa should be your number one destination for medical procedures, recovery and recuperation.

South Africa has always been at the forefront of cutting-edge medical procedures. It has a history of excellence in healthcare as well as healthcare innovation, and over the years the country has emerged as a serious contender in the health tourism industry, one of the fastest growing tourism trends.

For several years South Africa, especially Cape Town, has been a popular place for international visitors to undergo surgery, where after they spend their time recuperating and enjoying the beauty that the country has to offer. This trend has not only continued but it has grown considerably. Today, South Africa enjoys a reputation for being one of the safest and most affordable places in the world to undergo surgery. Whether on safari or seeing the sights in Cape Town, post-recuperation is popular, promoted, a growing trend and very much forms part of having a surgical procedure abroad.

South African doctors enjoy a very good reputation in most parts of the world, and plastic surgeons are no exception. An entire industry of cosmetic surgery tourism came about when companies started to offer packaged deals to tourists, involving cosmetic surgery combined with a holiday. There are a number of travel agencies that facilitate this form of tourism, combining accommodation bookings and sightseeing itineraries with various cosmetic procedures.

Surgeon and Safari is one such entity, providing a host of services that span your medical, recuperative and tourism needs.  Surgeon and Safari's founder says: “South Africa has become a hub for medical procedures – and not only within the cosmetic surgery space, though this has received justifiable attention. The country's expertise in cardiology, gynaecology, oncology and orthopaedics, however, has seen it rise to prominence across Africa in these fields as well.”

If you are coming to South Africa for medical treatment, whether cosmetic or otherwise, there are several important things to consider:

  • Make sure you liaise with any potential surgeons before making any bookings – either logistical or surgical. It is important that your suitability for surgery be carefully assessed upfront.
  • Ensure that your surgeon is fully qualified and affiliated with all necessary associations and councils. These should include the Health Professions Council of South Africa, the Association of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of Southern Africa, and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
  • As with any surgery, confirm whether your surgeon makes use of a specialised anaesthetist. While many surgeons make use of general practitioners for sedation, a specialist is a safer option – though there are cost implications.
  • The type of anaesthetic used will also affect the cost. Query this prior to booking your procedure.
  • Any medical insurance will be your responsibility alone, and payment is often required in full prior to surgery. Note that most cosmetic surgery rates are above those covered by medical insurance, and some form of co-payment is usually required.
  • Patients need to plan their trips sensibly, ensuring that they have a minimum of two to three days in the country prior to their surgery to conduct formal consultations and discuss the procedure in detail.

Post-operative stay requirements will vary with the different procedures. On average, ten days to two weeks is ideal for most surgeries; the exception being breast reductions, facelifts and full tummy tucks, which ideally require a three-week post-op stay. Of course, soaking up a little of the South African sunshine is a highly recommended component of post-operative care. So, we suggest staying as long as you possibly can.

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