Cosmetic surgery market: India, the new host
Over the past decade medical tourism has increased rapidly in India. Today, people from across the globe choose to visit India to get medical aid. The increasing cosmetic surgery market in India goes hand-in-hand with the rising medical tourism market in the country. We discuss the impact and the growth pattern.
The medical tourism industry in India has been growing over the years. In 2004, India received 1,50,000 medical tourists, which further witnessed a growth of 33 per cent by 2008. Today, it is estimated that the medical tourism industry would increase to over half a million by 2015. As medical tourism has increased various fields of medicine have gained due to it and witnessed a huge number of foreign populations opting for various treatments. Thus, medical tourism has helped aid the cosmetic surgery industry in India.
Impact on cosmetic surgery market
According to an international survey conducted by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), India has been ranked fourth with 8,94,700 surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures in 2010, accounting for 5.2 per cent of all procedures done worldwide.
Cosmetic surgery over the past 5-7 years has witnessed an enormous increase in the number of foreign patients coming in every year. Due to medical tourism a number of patients that come in for other treatments have gained knowledge on the type of procedures and quality of surgery that India can offer to its patients. “Medical tourism has helped cosmetic surgery boom in India today; had there been no medical tourism people from other parts of the world would never have known what India is capable of. Also, though not every patient travels to India with the intention of undergoing a cosmetic procedure, once they come to India and witness the facility and expertise a number of patients do indulge in getting a cosmetic surgery. This has been possible due to medical tourism,” explains Dr Mandeep Singh, Consultant, Cosmetic & Plastic Surgeon, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon. Further listing the advantages of medical tourism he says, “Today, more than 40 per cent of the patients that undergo cosmetic procedures are international patients. Though the percentage is not very high, the revenue is. More than 80 per cent of the revenue is generated from international patients as they opt for elaborate procedures.’
USP of cosmetic procedures in India v/s other nations
One would agree that India is the best destination for healthcare looking at the way medical tourism is booming. The reason being India has proved itself in factors that other nations still seem to be struggling with. Cost of treatment is one of them. A number of countries are unable to provide the same services like that of India at the same cost. “Cost is definitely a huge factor in healthcare. Today, one needs to be upgraded and have the best possible equipment and facility for its patients. However, the reason we can offer services at low cost is due to the high number of patients that come in every year. As the number of patients is high, the time taken to recover the cost of a new equipment would be approximately 6 months in India, whereas in other countries it would take 2-3 years,” explains Dr Singh.
Also, the cosmetic surgery market is a cash paying service. Once a person is assured that high standards are available in India then patients would choose to come to India over and over again. For instance, a number of patients come in groups or couples as they get further discounts. A number of patients also opt for a package wherein they undergo three to four different cosmetic procedures at the same time; this not only saves them time but also becomes very economical. Further, over the past 5 years the interaction between plastic surgeons of India and the ones abroad has increased drastically; today one would find a number of Indian doctors in conferences and conclaves which was not seen before. This is because Indian doctors today want to know the requirements of the West as they too are performing the same procedures and using the same technology, hence to keep themselves updated, the interaction and participation with international doctors and hospitals has increased. This has further helped in creating goodwill for India as doctors as well as people get to know of the various procedures being done in India along with getting detailed knowledge on the various technological advancements taking place. This not just helps attract more number of people for cosmetic procedures but also helps in getting more number of investors to set up more units and technology. For instance, the face lift procedure was not being performed in India as not many people were opting for it, however, a number of hospitals do it today as they get a number of foreign patients for this particular procedure.
About ten years ago when a patient wanted to undergo a cosmetic surgery, they would not find an Indian doctor to perform it on them, and hence, would end up going abroad. “Every month there are 4-5 NRIs coming from US or UK and getting their surgeries done in India. The reason is that other countries fail to provide the support that India does. The level of care provided in India is much better than what the other countries provide,” says Dr Nina Madnani, Consultant Dermatologist,HindujaHospital.
Hence, one can conclude that the cost of treatment and availability of medical procedures are one of the major reasons behind the increasing numbers of international patients in India. Today, patients from countries such as US, UK and more would visit India as the cost of treatment in India is lower than that in their counties and people from countries such as Nigeria,Iraq, etc would come to India as the service is not available in their country. Due to these factors one can witness patients from various countries such as Middle-East, Africa, US, UK, Finland, Sweden, Nigeria, Kenya and others coming to India today.
Over the years the cosmetic surgery market has witnessed growth. “The development started in 2004-2005 and has been growing ever since.
The cosmetic surgery industry over the past 5-7 years has been increasing by 20-25 per cent almost every year and a big chunk of the revenue in the private hospitals comes from medical tourism,” says Dr Singh.
Bright and shining
Today, there is a different market for both national as well as international patients. Most of the international patients want to indulge in elaborate procedures like tummy tuck, breast enhancement, face lift and more, whereas the people in India are more inclined towards getting hair removal procedures, nose job, liposuction etc. Hence, out of the total number of people who undergo cosmetic produces 40 per cent are international patients and 60 per cent domestic. “The growth of medical tourism has indeed helped the cosmetic industry. Today, when a person comes toIndiafor medical aid they also look at dermatology procedures, non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as botox, various dental procedures, dematological procedures and more.
Hence, the overall healthcare industry has witnessed a positive change today. As for cosmetics surgery, we are more aggressive than before because of the international patients that come in as they want the best non-invasive procedure. For us to be in a position to provide what our patients needs and we need to be more aware and have a much better understanding of the global scenario,” says Dr Madnani. Adding to this Dr Singh says, “This industry requires best technology and upgradation on a regular interval. Though medical tourism has helped us get the exposure we needed, it is now time that the doctors perform the best surgeries and use the most advanced non-invasive procedure to further strengthen the field of cosmetic surgery and increase medical tourism in turn.”