Cosmetic medicine in Malaga is in very good health and has a reputation for quality, thanks to the highly-qualified professionals working in the sector. With standards similar to Madrid and Barcelona, two cities at the top of the healthcare pyramid, Malaga is now a benchmark in Spain for the techniques and treatments involved in cosmetic medicine.
The provincial Health department has 432 beauty centres on its register, of which 151 are in Malaga city, and more than 100 professionals in cosmetic medicine are registered with the College of Doctors in Malaga. This branch of medicine places a special focus on minimally-invasive medical procedures which are used to make people look better.
Pedro Bonal, president of the Association of Cosmetic Medicine of Malaga (MEDESMA), says the level of training and the professional qualifications of these doctors in Malaga is extremely high and their clinics are equal to the best in Madrid and Barcelona. He stresses that many doctors who practise cosmetic medicine in the province have a long career behind them and so many years of experience that their colleagues see them as role models.
One factor which highlights Malaga's reputation is that the Spanish Society of Cosmetic Medicine (SEME) has been holding its national conference at the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos in Malaga for the past six years and will be doing so again in 2020.
The president of MEDESMA says that as Malaga has so many excellent professionals in cosmetic medicine, patients are very satisfied. He also says the lovely climate for which the Costa del Sol is famous encourages people to take more care about their appearance; they want to look good, so many of them turn to cosmetic medicine to eliminate defects on their faces or bodies.
The medical director and owner of the Miramar Medical Institute, Fernando Urdiales, who has an excellent reputation for applying laser techniques, agrees.
"You find that people in the southern regions of every country are more sociable. In Malaga, specifically, people have an active social life. They go out a lot and they like to look nice. That means that more of them consider cosmetic medicine and especially the techniques which are becoming much less intensive," he says.
He also stresses the importance to Malaga's reputation of SEME having chosen to hold its annual conferences in the provincial capital for the past six years.
MEDESMA was created in 2003, primarily to provide the best training for cosmetic doctors and to create a register of those who work in Malaga province. At present, it has 63 professional members.
"When a doctor does a Master's degree in Cosmetic Medicine, he or she acquires the basic knowledge they need to exercise their profession, but then they need to keep on training continually to stay up to date," says Pedro Bernal. "Anyone who joins our association has to comply with our code of ethics."
Although cosmetic medicine is not yet treated as a specialist subject, some universities do offer a Master's degree in it and Colleges of Doctors provide accreditation for those who want to dedicate themselves to this branch of medicine.
The president of SEME, Petra Vega, stresses that anyone who wants practise cosmetic medicine has to be a qualified doctor and also to have done a two-year Master's degree at one of the universities where the course is available. Some Colleges of Doctors also offer this facility.
Another reason that Malaga tops the list for cosmetic medicine in Spain is that it is internationally famous, and that attracts people from other countries who want to have treatment. This is what is known as health tourism, says Dr Juan Antonio López Pitalúa, the spokesman for SEME.
"Some people take advantage of their holidays in Malaga to have cosmetic beauty treatments while they are here. We have very highly trained doctors. They are professionals with a great reputation."
Marina Martín Fernández, a cosmetic doctor from Malaga who has just received an award from the International Society of Research, Health, Business Development and Technologies, says Malaga is one of the cities in which the cosmetic medicine sector has grown most, and it is among the top in Spain for treatments of this type.
At the forefront
Dr Martín says this growth is due to several factors. "On one hand there is a very high standard of professional training, which means we can offer innovative, safe, high-quality treatments to our clients. On the other hand, the large number of cosmetic medical clinics in the province directly benefits patients because as well as making treatment more accessible, it means that individually we have to maintain very high standards and be up-to-date about everything new that comes onto the market," she says.
Marina Martín explains that many patients turn to cosmetic medicine because they are looking for solutions but don't want to undergo surgery. For example, they might want to correct a chin, a nose, a dewlap etc. She is convinced that "this situation would not be possible if it were not for the open, modern and cosmopolitan mentality of the people of Malaga, who have realised that cosmetic medicine is something which can improve their quality of life," she says.
She points out that nowadays people no longer hide the fact that they have had cosmetic treatments and it is now openly discussed, compared and recommended. "Cosmetic medicine is normal and within everybody's reach. Just like we go to the gym, eat a healthy diet and protect ourselves from the sun, having cosmetic treatments completes the circle of things that make us feel better," she explains.
centres of cosmetic medicine are registered with the provincial Health department, and 151 of them are in Malaga city.
doctors are members of the Association of Cosmetic Medicine of Malaga (MEDESMA), which oversees the training of professionals in this field.