Brazil's Ivo Pitanguy is one of plastic surgery's founding fathers. The surgeon, now 80, has performed face- lifts, breast enhancements and the "Brazilian butt-lift" on thousands of patients. He has taught more than 600 cosmetic surgeons, who are practicing in at least 43 countries, and is the inventor of procedures reproduced around the globe, including techniques for minimizing scarring.
In 2006, 50,000 foreigners traveled to Brazil for health treatments, a 65 percent jump over 2004. It’s estimated that half of them came for plastic surgery in clinics in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and northeastern beach resorts such as Fortaleza.
Plastic surgery is thriving in the U.S. and Brazil. More than 2 million procedures were done in the U.S. in 2005, up from 1.8 million in 2003, according to ASAPS. In Brazil, there were 865,000 operations, up from 621,000 in 2003.
That makes Brazil the most-popular spot for plastic surgery outside the United States -- a world center for “lipotourism”. That's wordplay on liposuction, a procedure for removing fat from chubby stomachs and sagging thighs.
Prospective patients living in countries where health care is expensive can jet to Brazil and cut the price of procedures in half, says Dr. Roberto Rizzi of clinic “Franco e Rizzi”. This is not jyst for plastic surgery but also for other surgeries such as obesity surgery, specialty of “Franco e Rizzi” clinic.
Cosmetic surgery, a privilege of the rich until the early 1980s, has become increasingly available to just about anyone with a few thousand dollars to spend. In Brazil, the middle classes have been won over by accessible prices and offers of payment on the installment plan. A patient can get a breast-lift with implants for 4,000 reais ($1,900) and a lower-body liposuction for 2,950 reais. The patient can pay in 24 monthly installments, at 4.2 percent monthly interest, or nearly 50 percent annually.