Morocco: An Increasingly Popular Destination for Plastic Surgeries For Westerners

Many people know Morocco for several things, including being a popular tourist destination. But not many people would think of this North African country as a place to go when looking to have plastic or cosmetic surgery.Cosmetic Surgery Morocco

It is common to think of the country as conservatively Islamic. This could make it difficult to think of it as a place where these procedures would be allowed. But they are.

An increasing number of Moroccans, particularly the wealthy ones, are going for plastic and cosmetic surgery. People from outside the country are also choosing Morocco for these procedures. What is responsible for the rising popularity? Read on.

Plastic Surgery vs. Cosmetic Surgery

Plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery are often regarded as being synonymous. They are similar in almost all respects, but purpose. In a better sense, plastic surgery applies to correction of a deformity while cosmetic surgery entails enhancement of body parts merely for aesthetics.

However, plastic surgery in this article is more or less the same as cosmetic surgery. This is because procedures defined as such and performed in Morocco include facial rejuvenation, rhinoplasty, liposuction, breast enlargement, and tummy tucks.

These are actually cosmetic procedures and usually, do not have a reconstruction of damaged body parts as their focus.

Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeries in Morocco

It might seem that plastic and cosmetic surgical procedures are only a recent phenomenon in Morocco. They are not.

These procedures actually have a long history there, dating back to several decades ago. It is said that the country was where the first center for cosmetic surgery was opened in the region.

Morocco is becoming more and more a popular medical tourism destination, with plastic and cosmetic surgeries leading the way. The demand for these procedures is rising steadily. As of 2011, up to about 1,200 cosmetic surgeries were reportedly being done each month.

A 2011 report by the BBC had it that there were not enough surgeons to handle the demand for plastic surgery.

There were only about 50 board certified plastic surgeons in the entire country that year. But that was still a significant improvement from just four in 1990, according to a president of the Moroccan Society for Plastic Surgery.

The estimate has it that up to 15 percent of cosmetic procedures done each year are on clients from foreign countries.

Demand for plastic surgery in Morocco is so significant that an Emirati property firm decided to build a large complex for these procedures. The $40m facility, dubbed Marrakesh Healthcare City, is intended mainly for medical tourists.

Most plastic surgeons and clinics can be found in Rabat, the administrative capital, and Casablanca, the economic capital.

Who are the Main Clients?

The most popular cosmetic procedures that surgeons perform in Morocco are breast enhancement, Rhinoplasty, facial rejuvenation, and liposuction. What that essentially means in that the majority of clients are women.

According to the Moroccan Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery, about three in every four clients are women.

Locals account for the highest number of clients, even though some religious scholars express reservations about the procedures.

An increasing number of Moroccan women are taking an interest in plastic surgery to look younger and enhance their looks. These women are becoming more independent and are also able to afford to have the procedures.

Some of these local women are reportedly choosing cosmetic surgery to keep their husbands from following other women.

Professor Salaheddine Slaoui, a specialist in these procedures, also told the BBC that some of the women were merely interested in having “the European look.”

However, it’s not only women who are taking more interest in plastic surgery. An increasing number of men also appear to be going for these procedures. These are mainly interested in penoplasty, or enlargement of the penis.

Maria Reghai, a plastic surgeon based in Casablanca, was quoted in the report by The Independent as saying that consultations for penoplasty increased almost five times within a period of one year.

Reasons Foreigners Go for Plastic Surgery in Morocco

Cheaper costs

It may already be obvious from the discussion so far that people go for plastic and cosmetic procedures in Morocco mainly for financial reasons. This is why more and more Europeans and people from other continents are going there.

For instance, Marcella, a young Spanish mother, said she chose Morocco for her tummy tuck procedure because the cost was three times lower than what she’d have paid in Spain, as reported by The Independent. But she did her due diligence before agreeing to have the operation there.

The costs of these surgeries are significantly cheaper partly because there is no value-added tax.

World Renowned surgeons Such As Dr. Fahd Benslimane

People don’t always choose to have plastic surgery in the Kingdom of Morocco just because of cheaper prices. The decision is also influenced by the existence of well-trained specialists to supervise procedures.

A good number of these surgeons were trained in places such as Europe and the United States. This means they have sufficient expertise to carry out the operations.

Most of the specialists had their training in France, Morocco’s former colonial master.

One good example of well-trained local surgeons are Dr. Fahd Benslimane. He is a world-class plastic surgeon trained in France and Brazil. He is a well-known authority on micro fat grafting. The Casablanca-based specialist also had a fellowship at the Masonic Oculoplastic Institute in Chicago.

Easy access

Another reason behind the increasing popularity of Morocco as a destination for plastic surgery is the ease of entry for some foreign clients.

The kingdom is situated near Europe. It is especially close to countries in the west and south-west of that continent. This makes it an easy decision for many Europeans choosing it as a place to have the procedures.

The North African country also has open skies agreement with countries in the European Union. This enables people from many parts of Europe to get cheap flights there.

French, English, and Spanish are foreign languages spoken in the country, apart from Arabic. This makes it more appealing to foreigners for having cosmetic procedures.

French is spoken at or near-native level in many places, while Spanish is also spoken at a similar level in some parts.

France and Spain account for the bulk of foreign clients seeking plastic surgery in Morocco. The kingdom is also increasingly becoming the preferred plastic surgery destination for people from the Middle East.

Other Factors Contributing to Growing Demand

In addition to the foregoing reasons, other factors that are boosting demand for plastic surgery in Morocco include:

Immigrant communities – The North Africa country boasts considerable immigrant communities in European countries. Some of these Moroccans in Europe prefer coming home for plastic surgery, perhaps, due to lower costs. They make a significant proportion of those traveling to the kingdom on medical tourism.

Tourist attractions – Another major draw for foreign clients is the tourism appeal of Morocco. Many people know this country more as a tourist destination. It has a reputation for its historic sites, exotic landscapes, and sunny beaches. This makes traveling there for plastic surgery somewhat like killing two birds with a stone.

Friendly climate – People from Europe and other places usually find the climate in the kingdom friendly. This is especially true of its southern parts. The weather there is typically warm all year round.

Among the other appealing things about having plastic surgery in Morocco is that it is possible to go there with your children and find people to take care of them. The Spanish woman mentioned earlier stated this as one of the benefits of having a procedure in the country.

Who are the best plastic and Cosmetic surgeons in Morocco?

The number of plastic and cosmetic surgery clinics in Morocco ranged from around 12 to 20 a few years ago. It is possible the number is higher now.

One of the most popular of these is Clinique Benslimane de Chirurgie esthétique located in Casablanca. It belongs to Doctor. Fahd Benslimane, whose facial remodeling techniques are supposedly widely known in the global scientific community.

Another notable clinic is Clinique Slaoui de Chirurgie esthétique. The modern, well-furnished clinic can be found in the suburb of Souissi in the capital city Rabat. It is run by Prof. Salaheddine Slaoui.

Some of the other best clinics for plastic surgery in Morocco include:

  • Chirurgie Esthetique Casablanca
  • Clinique Du Soleil
  • Clinique Gandhi
  • Hospital Prive Marrakech
  • Neuroclinique De Casablanca

How Long Would You Have to Stay?

The duration of your stay in Morocco when traveling there for plastic or cosmetic surgery will depend on the particular procedure you are having. You should expect to stay longer when having a complex, more invasive operation.

Experienced surgeons will not allow you to leave soon after having your surgery. They usually require that you stay for some time to allow for proper observation. This enables prompt correction of any complication.

For instance, you may expect being asked to stay around for up to two weeks after having a butt lift procedure. The length of stay may be longer or shorter for other operations. Breast transplantation may require a post-op stay of just about two days.

Generally, how fast your body is able to heal mostly determines the number of days to wait around in Morocco post-operation.


The success of your plastic surgery depends on your physical and mental conditions. Well-experienced and reputable surgeons will usually advise against a procedure if your health is not in the best shape.

It is important to have it at the back of your mind that surgeries won’t always turn out successfully. Surgeons can get some things wrong. But this is a general problem that is not limited to Morocco. A good number of surgeons in the country are trained in Western countries. Therefore, you can expect them to have sufficient expertise.

Make sure you do your due diligence if you are considering traveling to Morocco for plastic surgery. It will help to first assess whatever clinic you have in focus in person before booking.


Tourists flock to Morocco for sun, sea and…surgery | The Independent

Just what the doctor ordered: Medical tourism is providing a fillip for sector expansion | Morocco 2013 | Oxford Business Group

Morocco falls in love with plastic surgery – BBC News

Fahd Benslimane – Plastic surgeon of Plastic Surgery in Casablanca, Casablanca, Morocco | eMedEvents