Weak rand buys cheap beauty.

Author:Nevin, Tom
Position:Health - Cosmetics surgery in South Africa, includes related article

Thanks to a weakening rand, prime South African property, antiques and holidays are being snapped up by the mighty dollar, pound, mark and franc. Add one more to the list: plastic surgery at a snip!

Nose jobs, boob enhancements, tummy-tucks and more-they're stacking up as South Africa's biggest medical bargain bash ever. The rich and famous-and even the not so well-heeled and little-known-are lining up with their hard-currency cheque books to have plastic surgery done in South Africa they couldn't possibly afford at home.

With the British Pound running at R16.50 and the $ at R11.50, foreigners can fly in to South Africa and buy perfection for a fraction of the medical fees they would pay back home.

For example, full body liposuction at a Beverley Hills clinic would set you back around $19,000. For under $10,000 one California fatty flew to Cape Town, underwent the best liposuction treatment available anywhere in the care of some of the world's best doctors, and lived in city centre five-star luxury for a fortnight. What's more, patients can tan their scars away on safari as part of the post-op care. Privacy and confidentiality are guaranteed.

"South African surgeons are known internationally as being caring and empathetic, and they understand that both corrective and cosmetic surgery procedure are a highly personal experience," says Lorraine Melville of Surgeon and Safari, the ship that promises to launch a thousand new faces from operations headquarters in Johannesburg.

She invites all visitors to her website to "take advantage of a favourable dollar-rand exchange rate, world-class medical expertise and turn a highly personal experience into your individual safari."

That means a single low-cost deal that takes care of the surgery, luxury living and a safari to boot. "We only use surgeons that are registered with the South African Medical and Dental Council and their respective specialist associations, thus adhering to the prescribed ethical codes of conduct," says Melville.

"Until recently there has been strict regulation preventing South African surgeons from advertising their services and therefore most of their overseas clients have been ex-South Africans knowing the quality of the medical services and facilities available. An added advantage is the favourable rate of exchange."

Melville is at pains to point out that the surgery service she arranges is not 'cheap.' "If you want cheap you go to Poland or the east," she says. "What we...

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