In Colombia, a plastic surgery procedure is carried out every five minutes, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).
Since 2010 – the year in which ISAPS began to analyse how many of these types of procedures are performed annually in the world – Colombia has always been in the top 10 with the highest number of operations.
The last study, in 2014, revealed that the country ranks eighth world-wide and that Colombians and foreigners underwent 357,115 procedures last year. Liposuction and breast implants were the most popular choices.
Lina Triana, president of the Colombian Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (SCCP), argues that 15 years ago the country stood out as a destination for these procedures because it was cheap, but now it’s the infrastructure and doctors’ experience that attracts people.
Although there is no specific data on how many visitors come to the country to carry out plastic surgery, Colombian immigration estimated that the number of tourists who declared the reason for their trip as medical reasons has multiplied by 50 times over the last eight years to date, in their latest suvey,
Cali Christmas Combos
The end-of-year-season brings an unlimited supply of cosmetic surgery promotions and packages in the city of Cali – notorious for its obsession with body augmentation.
Combos and packages that are promoted on websites and social media promote liposuction, buttock augmentation, two girdles and medication for 1,500,000 COP for example.
You can also find deals such as buttock augmentation from 400,000 COP, an eyelid lift for 500,000 COP to 1 million COP and liposuction and breast augmentation at around 2 million COP ($623).
However, specialists say, these prices are far from what the prodedures are actually worth. The difference is based on professional experience, supplies and medical equipment.
However, these cost cutting procedures don’t come without risk, or criticism.
Speaking in an interview with El País newspaper, Alfonso Riascos, Plastic surgeon, said that on a weekly basis he sees an average of five patients in his office with irregularities in their skin, necrosis, infections and asymmetries, having practiced procedures in the ‘garage clinics’, as he refers to them.
Fernando Gutierrez, Health Secretary of Salud del Valle (Cali), in 2015 there have been four deaths of people who had cosmetic procedures at clinics across the city.
“These statistics are not true because they often do not reach the Secretariat reports of deaths or complications. There has to be a criminal or administrative complaint from the patient’s family for the case to be heard. The problem is that many of these sites are nomadic and migrate permanently to avoid controls,” said Gutierrez.