Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility
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Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility

Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld

The growth of international travel for purposes of medical treatment has been accompanied by increased academic research and analysis. This Handbook explores the emergence of medical travel and patient mobility and the implications for patients and health systems. Bringing together leading scholars and analysts from across the globe, this unprecedented Handbook examines the regional and national experiences of medical tourism, including coverage of the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The chapters explore topics on issues of risk, law and ethics; and include treatment-focused discussions which highlight patient decision-making, patient experience and treatment outcomes for cosmetic, transplantation, dentil, fertility and bariatric treatment.
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Chapter 42: Cosmetic surgery tourism

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.

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