Lebanon is making headlines today for its uprising revolution but little known to people from outside the MENA region is that Lebanon is also an extremely popular destination for medical tourism.
Lebanon has a lot to offer for medical tourists, from its sunny weather, vibrant culture and breath-taking mountainous regions and it’s only a short flight from popular transit hubs such as Istanbul, UAE and Qatar.
For years, Lebanon was the plastic surgery mecca of the Middle East and while this legacy was interrupted by politics and a decade-long civil war, once the aftermath had passed, the country took huge strides to regain its status in offering leading cosmetic surgery services in Arabia.
When travelling through Beirut, it’s normal to see women who have held onto their youthful looks by opting for cosmetic surgery. Even the younger generations casually go for Rhinoplasty and Botox treatments to keep up with the style and vibrancy of celebrities. This is a country where appearance is important.
But Why Lebanon?
You might be wondering why Lebanon, of all places, is so advanced when it comes to cosmetic trends in Arabia? To enlighten you, there are quite a few points to consider:
Affordability of Care
- The affordability of treatments, together with the convenient location in the heart of the Middle East is attractive for medical tourists coming from the Gulf and North African regions.
- Celebrities and social media continue to play a prominent role in promoting cosmetic surgery and setting image standards for both men and women. This may be a surprise to some but it’s not uncommon to see men undergoing treatments such as Rhinoplasty as well.
Medical Education & Training
- Historically high standards of medical training, patient-centred care and research has been a major factor in Lebanon’s professional success and excellent medical reputation.
- There are a large number of healthcare facilities with JCI accreditation (Joint Commission International). This accreditation is regarded as the “Gold Standard” in health care quality.
Easy Financing Options
- There is such demand for modern cosmetic treatments that people can now obtain a loan for a procedure. One example is the First National Bank, who offer loans of up to $5,000 for cosmetic surgery.
Treating Injuries from Conflict
- In addition to foreigners visiting the country to receive medical treatments, healthcare providers also see a lot of injuries that have occurred from neighbouring conflicts. These injuries often require complex cosmetic surgical treatments.
- Government authorities have actively promoted the establishment of private-sector health care facilities, as well as public-private partnerships.
Lebanese Physician Talent Pool
- Some developing Gulf countries have rapidly growing medical establishments but these are usually staffed by expats and not local physicians. However, in Lebanon the crop of local physician talent is aplenty and they are regarded by many as some of the most trustworthy in the MENA region.
- Last, but not least, investment into the latest technology has continued to spur the interest of medical tourists. Examples include simulation software and cameras that can assist with consultations for popular cosmetic procedures such as Rhinoplasty, where the patient can see a virtual image of the how they would look after the procedure is performed.
Popular Providers in Lebanon
Beirut is where the medical infrastructure is at its greatest but there are over 12,000 doctors throughout the country. Here are a handful of highly reputable medical centres popular with locals and medical tourists, catering from cancer treatments to cosmetic surgeries:
American University of Beirut Medical Centre. This centre is very popular for its cancer treatments and has seen an increase in foreign nationals of up to 58% in recent years. It is a private and independent university that features a health system of excellence.
Clemenceau Medical Center (CMC) is another institution that strives for the highest excellence in healthcare quality. The facility continues to pursue new and innovative techniques by keeping up with the latest technology. CMC also works in association with Johns Hopkins.
Bellevue Medical Center is a 160 bed general medical centre that is JCI accredited and offers a whole variety of services with centres of excellence in maternity care, diabetes, dialysis, musculoskeletal and spinal care.
As with anywhere, please conduct thorough research into your chosen destination and treatment provider before embarking on a medical tourism journey.