Plastic and cosmetic surgery in Denmark, or “plastik og kosmetisk kirurgi”, as it is called in local parlance, is becoming increasingly popular in the country. It is just one of countless manifestations of the drive for health and fitness. Due to the economic boom that the country has experienced in recent years, the affordability factor has also become less important. The devotion to cosmetic beautification has taken hold of young and old, men and women alike, affecting cities, towns and countryside.
There have already been about 320,000 Danes under the knife, or 8% of Denmark’s total adult population – and this number is expected to rise. Recent research indicates an expected increase of 20% to 30% in the coming years in the number of Danes seeking cosmetic surgery. Interestingly, every fifth woman over the age of 17 is actively considering having cosmetic surgery, while every tenth woman has already had cosmetic surgery. Eighty percent of all Danes find the idea of cosmetic surgery perfectly acceptable. Currently, about 30,000 cosmetic procedures are performed annually across the country.
What’s even more fascinating is that men make up a significant portion of all cosmetic procedures performed in Denmark. Every third Dane who has had or is considering cosmetic surgery is a man. Five percent of the adult Danish male population, about 100,000, has been under the knife, and 15% to 25% of patients in plastic and cosmetic surgery clinics are indeed male, many of whom are metrosexual.
The types of plastic and cosmetic surgeries in Denmark that attract the most patient interest relate to breast treatments, eyelids, nose, liposuction, laser hair removal, tummy and abdomen, not least facelifts.
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The increasing interest in cosmetic surgery is putting pressure on the Danish public health system in a number of ways: (i) the brightest plastic and cosmetic surgeons are moving over to private practice, shrinking the talent pool within the public domain; and (ii) the cost of certain plastic and cosmetic surgeries performed in private hospitals continues to be paid for by the public system – such as blepharoplasty, breast reduction and obesity surgery, where patients can easily claim that surgery is necessary for the healthy functioning of the body, and not because of cosmetic concerns. Under Danish law, all cosmetic procedures must be privately funded by individuals, but this gray zone of interpreting what is cosmetic versus what is essential for the healthy functioning of the body is starting to put a strain on the Danish government budget. Given the recent surge in interest in cosmetic surgery, this problem is only going to get worse. In all likelihood, the Danish public healthcare system will have to stand its ground and refuse to pay for such operations in the gray zone. If this happens, the demand for cosmetic procedures in private hospitals will clearly increase further, and with it the waiting times. As an illustration, one of the most famous private hospitals in Copenhagen, Hamlet Privathospital, has tripled its revenue from cosmetic surgery in the past six years. However, the waiting time, in some cases in private hospitals, can be up to two and a half months from the initial consultation to the actual treatment.
Traditionally, cosmetic surgery has never been fully or completely covered by health insurance, both in Denmark and in most parts of the world. And therefore, as is well known, it can be an expensive endeavor. The cost of plastic and cosmetic surgery in Denmark is high. To name a few examples of private hospital prices:
(i) Eyelid Surgery: ranges from DKK 7,000 to DKK 13,000 (USD 1,100 to USD 2,100)
(ii) Breast Reconstruction: The surgery can cost anywhere more than DKK 65,000 (USD 10,800);
(iii) Liposuction of the stomach: DKK 21,500 (USD 3,500);
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(iv) Laser hair removal: DKK 12,000 (USD 2,000)
(v) Hair Transplant: ranges from DKK 40,000 to DKK 350,000 (USD 6,600 to USD 58,000)
The high costs of plastic and cosmetic surgery and significant waiting times have led to a remarkable growth in medical travel to other countries where the cost of the same treatment is lower and therefore more affordable for Danes. Popular treatment destinations are Turkey, Poland and Hungary. An increasing number of Danes have now also started traveling to Asia, where they can benefit from both excellent surgical treatment at the most competitive rates, combined with the option of turning the journey into a leisure or holiday trip. Given the waiting lists for cosmetic surgery, even in private hospitals in Denmark, it is only natural that Danes continue to travel abroad for treatment.
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India may be the next destination for medical tourists from Denmark. The cost of medical treatment in India for foreigners is one of the cheapest in the world, if not the most competitive. In Asia, it exceeds the cost advantages of even Thailand and Singapore. The quality of the treatment is world class, unparalleled, and in some cases comparable, if not superior, to the treatment available in the United States and the United Kingdom. In 2002, the number of foreign patients traveling to India for treatment was 150,000. In 2005, that figure was nearly 500,000. Traveling to India for medical treatment is gaining momentum – India is a fast-growing hub for tourism, offering the wonders of brilliant cultural richness with the magic of India’s natural beauty. Patients can now also combine a trip to India for medical treatment with a unique, fulfilling vacation.
For more information on medical tourism to India, please refer to the information below.
Poonam Mathur – Consultant Denmark: [email protected]
Medical tourism to India: http://www.forerunnershealthcare.com
International patient experiences: http://www.forerunnershealthcare.com/international.php
Contact number: Mobile: +45 2986 2501; +45 39 67 03 97
Recent trends in plastic and cosmetic surgery
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