Aesthetic surgery in South America

Brazil: Motherland of modern plastic surgery

Brazil is known to many people as the country of soccer, white beaches, samba and carnival. However, many people are unaware that this large Latin American country is also one of the absolute mother countries of aesthetic plastic surgery. Important plastic surgeons come from Brazil or have trained here and so-called cosmetic surgery is very well developed and socially accepted or even highly regarded in this country. According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), there are more than 5,000 plastic surgeons in Brazil. A good 2 million aesthetic treatments (invasive and non-invasive) were carried out here in 2014 – quite a lot in a country with a population of just under 200 million. Reason enough to take a closer look at aesthetic medicine in Brazil and other South American countries.

Luminaries of plastic surgery in Latin America

Hardly any doctor of our time has influenced modern plastic surgery as much as Prof. Dr. Ivo Pitanguy from Rio de Janeiro. Not only his great commitment to the field and the modern methods he coined have had an enormous influence on today’s aesthetic medicine, but also the fact that he was and still is so willing to share his knowledge with students and colleagues. Many renowned surgeons around the world report with awe and a certain pride about their internships with Prof. Pitanguy. I consider myself lucky to have met him again and again over the past 20 years and to have learned a lot from him along the way. In addition to Prof. Pitanguy, I also owe a good part of my knowledge to other Latin American colleagues. For example, I had the opportunity to work as an intern several times with the highly respected colleague Dr. Alejandro Quiroz in Tijuana (Mexico). I also had the opportunity to meet Dr. Jose Juri from Buenos Aires (Argentina), a surgeon famous for his rhinoplasty procedures, several times in the USA and Europe and received many good suggestions on these occasions. All these experienced colleagues have helped me a lot in the field of aesthetic surgery and I am very grateful to them.

Top treatments in Brazil

If we take a look at the most popular aesthetic treatments, we can see that Brazilians have a particular focus on body contouring. No other country performs so many buttock corrections and Brazil is also one of the countries with the most breast augmentation and liposuction procedures. Nevertheless, more than half a million of the 1.3 million aesthetic surgical treatments in Brazil are performed on the face or head, with eyelid correction, rhinoplasty and facelifts among the top treatments. Injection therapies to treat wrinkles are also very popular in Brazil: filler treatments with hyaluronic acid are carried out twice as often here as in Germany, for example, and Botox treatments almost three times as often.

South America as a trendsetter?

In addition to Brazil (2nd place), other Latin American countries such as Mexico (5th place) and Colombia (8th place) are among the top locations for cosmetic surgery. But does the fact that aesthetic surgery is so well established and developed in South America also mean that it can be seen as a model for the specialty in other regions of the world? “Other countries – other customs”, as the saying goes. And so every country and every region will always have its own cultural peculiarities – even when it comes to aesthetic surgery. But one thing has already become apparent in recent years: the trend towards more non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures in aesthetic medicine has already become very clear in Brazil (as well as in Mexico and the USA). Here, well over a third of all cosmetic treatments are already minimally invasive. This trend is now increasingly continuing in Switzerland, Germany and other European countries. This may not make Brazil a trendsetter in every respect, but important trends and developments in the field can be seen very clearly here.