By LUCY ORMONDE
Twelve thousand dollars.
That’s about how much it would cost me to get a boob job in Australia. Or at least, that’s how much I was quoted after a quick Google search for “breast implant surgery Melbourne”.* That price includes an initial consultation, the surgery itself, an anesthetic and post-op care.
The price does not include champagne on arrival, or a daily buffet breakfast – which is what I’d get if I opted for the cheaper alternative of travelling to Thailand for my hypothetical surgery.
And for an increasing number of Australian women, it’s not hypothetical.
In recent years, there has been a significant rise in the number of Australians of all ages who are travelling overseas for cosmetic surgeries. The movement is called Cosmetic Tourism and there are around 20 companies out there who specialise in creating packages for people from Australia (and other western countries) to travel to places like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia for procedures like tummy tucks, facelifts, dental work, breast implants, botox and fillers.
Let’s call them cosmetic travel agents, shall we?
Packages generally include flights, airport transfers, accommodation at a five-star hotel (presumably with a pool and those little umbrellas in your drinks, yeah?), the actual surgery, post op care and the aforementioned daily buffet breakfast. And the packages are generally a hell of a lot cheaper than the surgery only option provided in Australia. (One company charges only $4450 for a breast enhancement and 10 nights in Bangkok).
That’s right. For the price of a designer handbag you get really big fake boobs AND A BONUS HOLIDAY. WIN!
According to researcher Meredith Jones from the University of Technology Sydney, it’s a booming industry.
In fact, Jones estimates that around 15,000 Australian ‘tourists’ are travelling overseas for cosmetic surgeries every year.
Meet ‘Michelle’. She’s 53 years old travelled to Bali recently with her family and (presumably) while they were playing in the hotel pool, she went to visit a cosmetic surgeon who performed upper eye lid surgery, fillers and laser for the age spots on her hand.
Michelle wanted to have a recovery away from the people she knew and estimated she saved herself around $4500 from taking her business overseas.
“The bottom line is that I’m over 50, my eyes started to get very hooded, I couldn’t wear makeup, I looked tired and I wanted it done. It was a simple procedure. I was aware that there were risks. I was aware that in a developing country there are more risks. But I think that was up to me to manage,” Michelle said in this interview with ABC’s Natasha Mitchell.