Ruth Holliday and David Bell
Cosmetic surgery tourism (CST) can be defined as travel to access procedures to enhance appearance. It is a rapidly growing form of medical tourism, normally paid for out-of-pocket and constructed as elective. This chapter presents an overview of CST informed by the results of the largest research project to date to investigate CST. Drawing on participant observation and over 200 interviews, the authors provide a picture of the CST sector and of patient experiences. The chapter describes the main drivers and the decision-making processes of patients, outlines the roles of key players such as facilitators and agents, considers the marketing of CST and in particular the role of the internet and social media, and discusses patient outcomes. CST is seen as a trailblazer for medical tourism and the globalisation of health care, and the chapter discusses the likely future developments in the field. Issues of regulation and debates about the ‘burden’ of CST on domestic health care are highlighted.