Many overseas visitors have discovered South Africa as a premier holiday destination, not only for its unsurpassed natural beauty and favourable exchange rate, but also for cosmetic surgery and other medical procedures. Board certified plastic surgeons can deliver a first world service at third world prices.
Why Cape Town, South Africa for Plastic Surgery?
The operative facilities are world class (I usually operate at the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town - one of the few private institutions at which heart transplant surgery is regularly performed). For smaller cases, I also occasionally make use of a nearby, newly built, fully licensed, state-of-the-art cosmetic day surgery facility. Patients seem to enjoy the 'out of hospital' experience, and are very well cared for by the dedicated, experienced staff.
Go home feeling (and looking) refreshed!
I consult from the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in the centre of Cape Town. Most cosmetic surgery is currently done on an outpatient basis, using a light general anaesthetic or deep intravenous sedation coupled with local anaesthetic.
Patients are usually entitled to a private room; either for the day, or for as many nights as required. For all but the most minor cases, I use a board certified anaesthesiologist (see below) to administer the sedation.
The procedure is usually very smooth, the discomfort minimal, the recovery fast, and most importantly SAFE. One most not forget that even "cosmetic surgery" carries a risk, however small, and everything possible must be done to ensure patient safety. It is comforting to know that in the unlikely event of a complication, full medical back-up is available on site.
My practice is perhaps best described as a boutique cosmetic surgery practice. Whilst I regularly perform certain reconstructive procedures, notably cleft lip and palate, breast reconstruction and skin cancer removal and reconstruction, the mainstay of my practice remains cosmetic plastic surgery. I use the term “boutique”, because the practice is small and intimate, and all patients receive very individualized care. Lia, my assistant, deals with all the logistics of patient bookings. I only ever work with one of 2 anaesthetists (see below), which ensures the smoothest surgery and recovery because we work as a team, and have done so for several years. All enquires are dealt with solely by me (as opposed to “clinical advisors”, or practice nurses), and all consultations are with me alone, assuring you of the best possible personalised care and attention before, during and after surgery.
Surgically speaking, I am relatively conservative in my general approach. I try, where possible, to do minimally invasive procedures to limit possible complications, scarring etc. My goal is to create a natural look, rather than a radical change. If I do not think that I will be able to achieve a good result and a happy patient, I will not proceed with the surgery. In this regard, when prospective patients email me requests, I always ask for some basic medical information + pics to be emailed to me for assessment. Plastic surgery is a very visual discipline, and all surgeries are tailored to the problem - there is no "cookie-cutter" approach, and I need to see if you would be suitable for the surgery.
Note: I am in a solo practice, and have not, to date, affiliated myself with any organizations that offer "package deals" of holidays and/or safaris combined with cosmetic surgery. I prefer to deal directly with the patient, and assess her suitability and fitness for the various procedures. No agents or third parties are involved in this process. Should you wish to find out more about accommodation and other travel options, please consult your local travel agent or visit the links page.
There are several companies that are involved in so-called cosmetic surgery tourism - bringing patients to South Africa with "all-inclusive" packages. Some of these companies are very reputable; others less so. Certain organizations make wild claims that they represent the "best" surgeons in South Africa, and that by contacting any surgeon not represented by them, you are putting yourself at risk. Sadly, this is nothing more than an aggressive marketing campaign, done in an attempt to discredit their opposition. Patients who contact me directly can be assured of a personal response to all emails within 48 hours, and an excellent standard of surgical care. Furthermore, I do not place patients' testimonials on my site at all - I don't believe in using patients’ kind words sent privately to thank me, as an incentive for prospective, future patients. Instead, on request, I will gladly put you in touch with any number of past patients that are happy to share their experience directly with you.
Lia Matthijssen has been with me since early 2009, having previously worked at a nearby cosmetic day surgery unit. Lia is a Dutch national, but has spent many years in South Africa, most recently in Cape Town for the past 7 years.
She is very personable and patients only have praise for her kindness. To email Lia about bookings and / or general enquiries, use email@example.com or call her on (021) 4262511.
I am fortunate to work with 2 very skilled specialist anaesthesiologists who ensure that you are comfortable and safe throughout the surgery.
Amelia Kriel MBChB (U.S.), FCA (SA)
After completing her undergraduate training at the University of Stellenbosch near Cape Town, she completed a residency at the University of Cape Town's Department of Anaesthetics. She has been practicing anaesthesiology since 1995, and completed her specialist college exams in 2002.
In 2003, she remained on as consultant anaesthetist at both Groote Schuur Hospital (Intensive Care Unit) and Red Cross Children's Hospital (paediatric anaesthesia) She commenced private practice in 2004.
Linda van Zyl MBChB (U.S.), DA, FCA (SA)
Another Stellenbosch graduate, who completed her Diploma in Anaesthetics in 2000, and then went on to complete a residency at the University of Cape Town, obtaining her FCA(SA) in 2005.
Following completion of her training, she did a further year as consultant in adult ICU, paediatric anaesthesia, and cardiothoracic anaesthesia, before completing a fellowship in the UK in cardiothoracic anaesthesia.
Both are particularly skilled at deep IV sedation (twilight anaesthesia) - the form of anaesthetic most commonly used for plastic surgery procedures, allowing no conscious recollection of the procedure, and a smooth and rapid recovery.