Last update12:12:22 PM

Back You are here: Home Lifestyle Life Visit Bulgaria - Get a Makeover!

Visit Bulgaria - Get a Makeover!

As Bulgaria’s reputation as a cheap and cheerful place to holiday starts recedeing, its image as Europe’s leading destination for cosmetic, dental and health tourism continues to grow rapidly. More and more Europeans now visit the country to seek treatment for a wide variety of procedures.

Bulgaria now houses some chic, high-tech private clinics staffed by very highly qualified medical professionals who are fluent in a variety of European languages. This coupled with competitively low prices, healing mineral water reserves and an agreeable climate has fuelled the growth in this niche sector.



A nip and tuck followed by a dip in the pool

Cosmetic surgery is now de rigueur with Britain’s middle classes. What was once the domain of movie stars and the idle rich is now attracting ordinary people who want to indulge themselves whilst undergoing treatment. The procedure may be a simple matter of a few Botox injections or could involve full surgery and a short stay in the clinic. Moreover, it’s not desperate housewives who are turning to surgery to improve their looks and postpone the ageing process; there are plenty of men checking in for a variety of cosmetic procedures too.

The sheer volume of treatments available here are overwhelming and the prices are up to five times lower than in the UK; a boob job in Bulgaria will cost you around 2,500 euros, a face-lift about 1,200 euros and liposuction in the region of 300 euros. All you have to do is think of a body part you would love to change and there is a corresponding operation available. Treatment in a plush private hospital in some of the most beautiful parts of the country enables you to tailor your recovery with a walk in a pine forest, a swim in an alpine lake or a Cosmopolitan by the pool.


A gleaming white smile and a gentle massage

Years ago a trip to the dentist was perceived as a necessary evil, but today it ranks along with trips to the manicurist and beauty consultant, in fact the Bulgarian dental industry is rebranding many of the treatment names to co-inside with the demand for image centered dentistry and work like tissue recontouring is now known as a “smile makeover”. An even white smile rates high on the list of personal “must-haves” to the point where children are now fitted with braces as early as nine years old now in order to achieve this. Moreover, the cutbacks in NHS dental services has lead to high prices in British dentistry and this in turn, is encouraging people to seek treatment abroad for costly treatments like dental implants and porcelain crowns. Implants in the UK cost around £2,000 per tooth; in Bulgaria, the cost is as little as £150.

A rich golden tan and a new figure

How fantastic would it be to go on holiday for two weeks and come home a stone lighter? Slimming centres are another area where Bulgaria leads the way. Non-medicinal treatment of obesity is a safe way to shed unwanted pounds. The Black Sea resort of St. Constantine and Helena has the best clinic in the country for dealing with this growing complaint. Patients are accommodated in a four star sanatorium with doctors on call all day to monitor individual progress. The length of stay varies for between 10 and 20 days and the total package covering treatment and accommodation costs between 500 and 2,000 euros.

Relax unwind and beat your troubles behind

Bulgaria possesses over a thousand mineral springs. Many have the same chemical make up as leading spas like Baden-Baden and Vichy. The water content determines what treatments are offered at each spa. Hisar, which lies between the Balkan Mountains and Plovdiv, concentrates on the treatment of renal and gastrointestinal complaints; Pavel Banya specialises in orthopaedic illnesses, Sandanski in pulmonary diseases. It’s not only care for serious illness that is on offer at each spa – there are plenty of rehabilitation, toning and anti-stress programmes available. An intense 10-day anti-stress programme, which includes relaxing aromatherapy and gentle massage, can cost as little as 100 euros. Costs for accommodation and flights are obviously additional to the treatment costs.

Jumping the queue for major surgery

The Bulgarian healthcare market is growing rapidly and it is not just cosmetic and dental surgery, which is popular. More and more people are making the decision to have mainstream medical treatment in Bulgaria. Decisions to have major surgery abroad are inspired by the prohibitively high costs now associated with private healthcare treatment, long waiting lists for NHS treatment and fears about infection in UK hospitals. It’s not just the Brits who are choosing Bulgaria for surgical treatment; in Spain, there is a five-year waiting list for sterility treatment.

Private health insurers are also recognizing the benefits of treatment abroad and many are now prepared to cover medical expenses associated with overseas treatment. The cost of a hip replacement operation in a private UK hospital will cost £7,000. By opting for treatment in Bulgaria, you can save around £3,000. Even IVF treatment is attracting attention.

I came to Bulgaria and left with a new face…

Julia Gould from Chelmsford came to Bulgaria with the aim of getting a facelift. After watching Xtreme Makeover on Fox TV, she decided that cosmetic surgery would revive her “sagging” face. As Julia explains, “At 50, I felt like I needed a change. I didn’t want to look totally young, I just wanted to have less lines; I felt I had a forehead full of frown lines, eyes marred by crows’ feet and a double chin, which left me with no jaw line.” She researched cosmetic surgeons on the internet, focusing on Sofia because she owned an apartment there. Eventually she chose to visit Dr Dinev at Vita medical centre in Sofia because his qualifications were excellent and he was fluent in French and English having worked in Paris and London.

Julia continues, “At the appointment Dr Dinev made me feel so confident, that I knew immediately I was in safe hands. He told me that a full face-lift was not the way to go because the tendency now is not to use surgical procedures whenever possible.” Dr Dinev took over an hour at the first consultation and there was no pressure whatsoever to commit to the treatment. Finally together Dr Dinev and Julia decided that Botox would be best for her forehead and eyes, filler for the lines around her mouth and liposuction for the fat under her jaw line. She had the Botox and filler treatment the next day and it took minutes to perform and the results were noticeable instantly.

A couple of days later she went for her liposuction treatment, “On arrival, I was shown into a private room with a TV and private bathroom. There was no waiting about, a nurse arrived and I got ready for surgery. Dr Dinev arrived and explained clearly what would happen.” Things were not straightforward with Julia’s operation. She had a reaction to the anaesthetic, which raised her heart rate and blood pressure. She was injected with a sedative to calm her vitals down and once that was achieved, the operation commenced. A small incision was made under her chin, a vacuum pipe was inserted and the unwanted fat sucked out. The operation took twenty minutes to perform. She recovered in hospital with a large elastic bandage around her head to assist the area under the jaw line. Once she was feeling better, she went back to her apartment.

Overall, Julia maintains that the Botox and filler produced fantastic results and were very simple treatments to undertake. The full results were not visible until around eight days later and the injections should be repeated every six to ten months. The liposuction has produced super results and Julia feels that she has her jaw line back, “I had to keep the elastic bandage on for about three weeks, but I took it off to go out. A little bruising was evident for the first week but this was easily camouflaged by makeup when out. “Julia paid in the region of 1,000 euros for her treatment and says, “I would do it all again without hesitation. I think the problem with starting something like this is that you might never stop. I am thinking of having “gold thread” treatment in my cheeks to lift that part, and will definitely continue with the Botox.”

Clearly, Bulgaria is leading the way in an area of tourism that is gaining momentum. This new niche in the tourist market is bringing a great deal of revenue into the country, which benefits anyone with an interest here. Evidently, it is not just Bulgaria’s image that is getting a makeover!