Mention the term 'medical tourism' and the majority of people will immediately think of places such as Belgium, Poland and India, all of which have been keen to promote their image among patients seeking treatment abroad.
However, an American cosmetic surgeon has revealed that New York is becoming increasingly popular among British and southern European patients, and has witnessed a 15 per cent increase in medical tourists from those regions over the last 12 months.
"With globalisation, I think the American standard of beauty is becoming more widespread," said Dr George Beraka, a cosmetic surgeon who is certified by the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities and operates in New York.
"Because more US models are pictured all over the globe, the standard for beauty has become a thin woman with large breasts, blonde hair and a heart-shaped face with high cheek bones, a chiselled nose and a narrow jaw," he continued.
The cosmetic surgeon has arranged special deals with many of the hotels in New York so that his patients will be looked after while they recover from surgery, with a nurse staying with the patient at the hotel for as long as needed.
"The choice of hotels is important because I insist patients from overseas stay at least a week," he explained, adding that for some procedures, such as a tummy tuck, he generally insists on a stay of two or three weeks.
Dr Beraka believes that the weak dollar is making the east coast of the US particularly affordable for Europeans at the present time and added: "I see more patients from England than I do from California."
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Cosmetic surgery news : 15/03/2007