In an ever more globalised world, we have experienced, over the years, the growth of the plastic surgery and aesthetic medicine market in our country. Health tourism is today an undeniable reality that is born from the excellent attributes that our country boasts, especially the region of the Algarve.
We are talking about a region that offers unique conditions to travellers seeking our country to carry out their aesthetic treatment or surgical procedure. The ease of access via low-cost airlines to Faro International Airport, the quality of hotel and restaurant services or the region’s mild climate provide a range of advantages to welcome those who visit us with complete comfort.
There is also a growing number of certified health professionals and health units which provide a premium service when welcoming, treating and assisting the recovery of international patients.
As a plastic surgeon travelling frequently to the Algarve for appointments and surgeries, I see a growing demand from patients from countries such as the UK, Norway, Germany and also Spain.
I currently work at the Clínica Particular of Guia and Clínica Particular of Vilamoura (private clinics) and at the Hospital Particular of Alvor or Gambelas (private hospitals), as a result of a partnership between Grupo HPA Saúde and the plastic surgery and aesthetic medicine clinic UP Clinic. These units offer advanced surgical technology and conditions, including permanent post-op surveillance, thus providing reassurance to patients all throughout surgery and recovery.
Another option currently at the disposal of plastic surgeons in the region is the possibility of carrying out online appointments via Skype and/or WhatsApp, which allows an initial evaluation of the patient whilst they are still in their country of origin. This ensures that all surgical needs have been carefully planned by the time the patient arrives in the Algarve.
Grupo Hospital Particular do Algarve, with its units in Alvor (Portimão) and Gambelas (Faro), is committed to providing excellence in healthcare. Here you can carry out surgeries such as bodysculpting (also known as high-definition liposuction or HD Lipo), augmentation and reduction mammoplasty, rhinoplasty, and lipoabdominoplasty which are, in some cases, outpatient surgeries and which involve a range of techniques that allow for a quick recovery.
Special care was taken to create medical tourism programmes that include everything from the plastic surgery or medical procedure all the way to the airport transfer and hotel booking. This is all available on the HPA Group’s website in several languages to make the patient’s experience unique and personalised.
I currently perform facelift surgery with some frequency, which is a global face rejuvenation procedure of excellence.
The concept of undergoing a surgery or medical-surgical procedures abroad has become very attractive because it allows patients to enjoy a tourist experience in an exclusive area such as the Algarve, which offers unmatchable moments of leisure and relaxation, while recovering from a facelift or augmentation mammoplasty, for example.
Thanks to these units’ multidisciplinary teams, it is possible for the patient to travel to the Algarve, undergo surgery and have the necessary assistance until returning to his/her country of origin.
I recognise that our country, and especially the Algarve, boasts a fantastic and unique range of conditions on a European level, which set it apart as an example of health tourism destination.
The quality of medical care provided by health units and plastic surgeons combined with the Algarve’s great assets (hotels, nature, climate and gastronomy) as well as the region’s accessibility are attributes that we cannot deny or undervalue.
We should aim to improve the link between health, tourism and local council agents in order to establish the Algarve as a premium world destination for health tourism.
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By Dr David Rasteiro