Colombia has one of the busiest and most profitable cosmetic surgery industries in the world.
In 2015, the most recent year for which figures are available, Colombians and foreigners signed up to over a third of a million procedures of one sort or another, with liposuction and breast implants being the most popular choices.These may seem surprisingly large numbers to other cultures and parts of the world not so bothered by the necessity for body augmentation, but either way, with some people spending many thousands of dollars per operation and demand on the increase, it is clearly a very lucrative business to be in.
And therein lies a problem. While most of the procedures in Colombia are carried out by suitably knowledgeable and experienced surgical specialists, others are not. Such is the money to be made from performing aesthetic surgery that it’s attracted medical practitioners who haven’t necessarily achieved the relevant and required qualifications.
As a result, patients – who can find it hard to distinguish between the validity of one set of professional diplomas and another – are being put at risk of horrible complications: disfigurement, disability and even in some cases, death.