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Cosmetic surgery spurs UAE medical tourism

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RITIKA SHARMA / Emirates Business

Driven by a growth in number of medical tourists opting for cosmetic surgery, UAE grabs prominence in the medical tourism industry at a global level. High quality control, luxury centric market and cost effective follow ups, coupled with a world class medical infrastructure, ensure that the country stays atop the list.
Global Cosmetic Surgery & Services Market Analysis states the global cosmetic surgery industry is currently worth over US$20 billion and is set to rise to over US$27 billion by 2019. It is notable that the commercial capital of UAE, Dubai, has the highest ratio of plastic surgeons per capita in the world, with 50 doctors for a million people, according to a 2015 report by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
Anisa Vrabac, Dubai Cosmetic Surgery clinic Spokesperson and Partner told Emirates Business, “The plastic surgery standards in the UAE are some of the highest in the world. We have stringent quality and safety standards compared to other international cosmetic surgery hubs. These standards have led Dubai to become a major hub in medical tourism, recently bypassing Lebanon which was ahead of us. This is great news because this major growth is in line with Dubai’s goals and vision to attract 20 million tourists by the year 2020, and of those, 500,000 will be medical tourists.”
Reports have been indicating to the fact that despite a world over popularity, people in UAE prefer going to foreign locations for getting such procedures done.
“At the moment many local people in the UAE are not seeking cosmetic treatments outside the country, with many visitors doing the opposite and coming to the UAE for cosmetic procedures- all this is because we have become synonymous with high quality and safety standards,” added Anisa.
UAE has one of the highest concentrations of plastic surgeons, even more than US and Brazil. In 2012, Dubai alone had approximately 107,000 medical tourists and this upholds the UAE’s rank as one of the top destinations for cosmetic surgery.
Rehan Zahra, a beauty-blogger based in Abu Dhabi told Emirates Business, “Reports state that about 750,000 medical tourists visited Dubai last year (2015), and about 12 percent of them sought cosmetic surgery. The most popular surgical procedures were liposuction, which made up 45 percent of cosmetic procedures, followed by breast surgery at 31 percent and body lift surgery at around 10 percent.”
A report, UAE Healthcare Sector Outlook 2020, by consultancy RNCOS, adds that the UAE healthcare industry is forecast to grow by seven percent during 2015-2020 and Emirate’s cosmetic surgery sector, DHA claims, is growing by 12-15 percent each year.
“Non-invasive body contouring and cellulite reduction treatments make up for around 25 percent of all cosmetic treatments in UAE while same is the case with Botox. Facial rejuvenation and laser treatments usually constitute around 13 percent and laser hair removal procedures are at over 6 percent,” Rehan added.

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