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The Real Cost of Medical Tourism

By Bloomberg Rankings and Nikhil Hutheesing - 2012-10-24T14:18:10Z

Photograph by John Midgley/Getty Images

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Plastic Surgery

If you're having a facelift, a nose job or breast implants, going abroad means you can recover in privacy. Costa Rica, Colombia and Brazil offer prices as much as 70 percent cheaper than in the U.S., according to the Medical Tourism Association. The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has certified about 1,900 surgeons in 90 countries who meet its standards. "Doctors are good in Latin America because demand is so high," says Edelheit. "Plastic surgery for breasts and lips is part of the culture." One possible location for cosmetic care: Hospital Universitario Fundacion Santa Fe de Bogota, in Colombia, which is JCI accredited.

$15,000: Cost of facelift surgery in the U.S.
$5,000: Cost in Colombia

Closer to home:
$6,000: Cost in Costa Rica

Breast Implants:
$10,000: Cost of breast implant surgery in the U.S.
$2,500: Cost in Colombia

Closer to home:
$3,800: Cost in Costa Rica