While Malaysia is a known hub for general medical tourism, governmental restrictions on advertising have hindered awareness of its plastic surgery services. That seems set to change as Malaysia, like most countries in Southeast Asia, has decided to actively encourage promotion of this much more lucrative sector.
Although far from being the low-cost leader in Southeast Asia, the country's prices for plastic surgery are still attractive and on a par with the more popular Thailand.
Malaysia's main attraction to foreign patients seems to be its good value to quality ratio. Hospitals are clean (although not internationally certified), well-equipped, and English is widely spoken.
The country of nearly thirty million people is served by only about forty plastic and maxillofacial surgeons, which means a large "underground" industry is unavoidable.
With about 10% of the over 140,000 establishments in the "beauty trade" estimated to be providing unlicensed cosmetic medical services, many plastic surgeons report that they treat significant complications on a regular basis.
Many foreign patients thus employ the services of trusted medical tourism agencies to facilitate contact, transportation, and lodging.
Most Malaysian cosmetic surgery is performed in the capital of Kuala Lumpur, a modern city that is home to the country's best health care facilities. Penang, a smaller but more scenic destination, is also popular.
While generally safe, terrorism directed against tourists from the West is a threat in the less populated areas (as is true throughout much all southern-most Southeast Asia).
More on Asian Plastic Surgery in Southeast Asia >
Cosmetic Surgery in Southeast Asia
A mix of countries offering cosmetic services that range from world-class good to world-class sad
Plastic Surgery in Thailand
Thailand boasts one of the most highly-developed medical tourism programs in Asia
Plastic Surgery in Singapore
The World Health Organization ranked Singapore's health system the best in Asia
Plastic Surgery in Vietnam
While growing quickly, Vietnam suffers from minimal regulation and lax enforcement
Plastic Surgery in Malaysia
One big attraction is Malyasia's good value to quality ratio
Plastic Surgery in Indonesia
Most cosmetic surgery in Indonesia is performed by unlicensed practitioners
Plastic Surgery in the Philippines
Phiippines offers modern facilites, the latest technology, and well-trained plastic surgeons
Plastic Surgery in Cambodia
Cambodia's underdeveloped health care system trains almost no plastic surgeons of its own