It’s February, the month of all things pink, red and heart-shaped. For most couples, it is a time to express their love with romance and passion. And for singles, it’s a time to either crawl under a rock or get back in the game. That brings us to our question of the day: Will cosmetic surgery improve your love life? We believe, yes. But don’t take our word for it. Recently, three of our Salutara customers shared how their surgeries perked up their relationship, dating life, and self-confidence.
Spicing Up Our 31-year Marriage
Carol and Paul arriving in Prague with Salutara Founder, Petr Vankat
Shortly after celebrating 31 years of marriage, Paul and his wife Carol decided it was time to explore Europe and finally take care of some lingering dental issues during a visit to Prague, Czech Republic. After receiving a new set of dental crowns, Paul came out of the surgery room absolutely glowing. Two months after the surgery, we spoke to Paul and Carol from their home in California.
“It’s like I got a second chance. I never realized how uncomfortable and irritable I’d been before,” said Paul, a professional baseball scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I was in constant pain, especially when I ate. And I know at times it took a toll on my wife.”
Carol added, “I can see the confidence when he smiles now, which is one of Paul’s best features. And now I can finally cook for him again and share romantic meals together without worrying about any pain or discomfort. It’s been good for other areas of our relationship too, but I’ll leave that to your imagination.”
Single Mother Gets Back In The Game
Candida, before breast augmentation
Candida, after breast augmentation
Four years after the birth of her son, Candida knew it was time to do something for herself. After breastfeeding for two years, along with post-baby dieting and exercise, her breasts were significantly smaller. Before surgery, Candida told Salutara in an interview, “For the first time in my life I just want larger breasts. Similar to the size before I had my son.”
Six months after going from a B to a full C cup, we asked Candida if her new breasts had changed anything in her life.
“Well, my dating life for one,” she smiled. “I’ve always been a confident woman, so I don’t really care what people think. But I can’t help but notice now that when I walk down the street or into a bar, men and women actually turn their heads. It’s nice to be noticed, and if my breast augmentation reminded me of anything, it’s that it’s OK to put myself first sometimes- which mothers know isn’t easy. I make dating a priority now, whereas before I didn’t.”
Love Is In The Air
Ingrid after getting eight new veneers at Mediestetik Clinic, Prague
American soldier, Ingrid, is one tough cookie. For a young woman who shows zero signs of weakness, we were surprised to learn that she struggled with feelings of insecurity about the gaps between her teeth. Ingrid explained, “When I was young it didn’t bother me so much, but as I got older I guess I started to feel more self-conscious about it. I started hiding my smile in photos and always felt like it was the first thing people noticed.”
Finally, making the decision to get the smile of her dreams, Ingrid had eight dental veneers fitted over her front teeth. In the months since her procedure, Ingrid happily told us that she is in a new relationship and absolutely loving her new smile.When we asked if it had anything to do with her surgery, Ingrid replied, “I’m not sure. I like to think no, but then again I know how much my confidence has improved since getting veneers. I’m not afraid to smile in photos anymore, and maybe that confidence was what caught my boyfriend’s eye.”
Dallas Wiens, 25, was severely injured when his head touched a high-voltage electrical wire while working inside a cherry picker.
Zlaté české ručičkyachytré české hlavičky is an old Czech proverb, meaning “golden Czech hands and clever Czech heads.” In 2011, a team of surgeons gathered around an operating table in Boston, Massachusetts to perform the nation’s first (and world’s third) full facial transplant. Lead by renowned plastic surgeon, Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, the patient’s nose, palate, upper lip, and facial skin, muscles, and nerves was successfully replaced with those of a deceased donor. Born in former Czechoslovakia, Dr. Pomahac’s groundbreaking achievements in plastic surgery are celebrated universally and abroad. As for the rest of the medical community, the newly named, “Czechia”, is setting the bar extra high when it comes to performance and innovation.
In a country known more for its medieval castles, hockey, and of course, beer, the Czechs are just as serious about their medical contributions. Check out 4 ways the Czechs are ahead of the game:
1. The “Heart” Of Europe
Faithfully beating more than 100,000 times a day, the heart is unquestionably one of our most vital organs. Landlocked between Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia, the Czech Republic is often referred to as “The Heart of Europe”.
Appropriately, the Czechs are world leaders in cardiac surgery; performing the country’s first successful heart transplant in 1984. Recognized for their excellent system of healthcare for those suffering from acute coronary symptoms- especially the treatment and prevention of heart attacks- the Czech Republic is also home to state-of-the-art cardiovascular centers as well as some of the world’s top cardiac specialists.
Da Vinci Xi. The widely universal word “robot” was first coined by Czech brother Karel and Josef Čapek.
Since 2005, Prague’s Na Homolce hospital has been using robotic technology to assist in various surgeries, including cardiac. In 2016, they added a new, upgraded member to their surgical team. His name? Da Vinci Xi.Controlled by a human surgeon, Da Vinci Xi’s mechanical arms offer precision that would not otherwise be possible.
2. Second Chances
In 1932, the Czech Republic became the first country in the world to recognize plastic surgery as an independent branch of medicine. Many Czech surgeons, including Dr. Pomahač, have received international acclaim; and their success is no accident. After a minimum of 6 years at an accredited university, medical students must pass a rigorous series of exams followed by a two years residency with an experienced practitioner. It can be nearly a decade before they ever perform an operation.
While working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Dr. Pomahač became increasingly interested in the subject of face transplants. In 2009, the first partial face transplant was successfully completed in France. Four years later, Dr. Pomahač and his surgical team performed a 17-hour operation to reconstruct the severely disfigured face of James Maki, age 59. In 2011, Dr. Pomahač led a team of 30 physicians, nurses and anesthesiologists for more than 15 hours to complete the first full transplant in the USA (see photo above).
3. Fighting Infertility
Since 1978, nearly 5 million babies have been born thanks to infertility treatment- specifically IVF. In
1984, the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia) became one of the first countries to pioneer In Vitro Fertilization and facilitate a successful birth.
As of 2017, the Czech Republic is home to over 30 fertility clinics and centers.
According to NHS, 1 in 7 couples will have difficulty conceiving. Determined to help millions of men and women realize their dream of starting a family, the Czechs continue to invest a fortune in comprehensive IVF centers and extensive reproduction procedures. Today, they rank among the highest IVF success rates; 70 % in cases involving donated eggs. Czech legislation also plays a critical role in the rapidly growing field. It permits anonymous donation and the option to choose the physical characteristics of the donated egg or sperm in order to prevent serious genetic diseases.
Approximately 1 in every 5,000 women is born without a uterus, cervix, and upper vaginal canal. The rarely-discussed, devastating syndrome, MRKH, makes it impossible to carry a fetus to term.
Historically, women with MRKH have had very few options, one of which being a uterus transplant from a live donor. In 2016, Czech doctors from the Prague-based Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) performed the sixth of now thirteen worldwide uterus transplants. Czech experts say that the next step is transplanting from dead donors. For thousands of women, this means the opportunity to carry and give birth.
Breast augmentation is still the most popular procedure for women, with over 1.5 million in 2015.
Cosmetic surgery is a hot-button topic. Ask anyone and they will either tell you it’s the best decision they’ve ever made or swear it off entirely. Whichever side of the fence you find yourself-or maybe the jury’s still out- it’s important to know the facts. Unfortunately, today most news worthy stories regarding cosmetic surgery are either completely ridiculous (and extreme), or centered around celebrities and reality television. And considering that more than 21 million people have a surgical or nonsurgical cosmetic procedure each yeah, we figured it’d be a good idea to shed some light on the facts and debunk the myths:
1. The Myth: Cosmetic surgery is the same as plastic surgery
Believe it or not, the terms “plastic surgery” and “cosmetic surgery” are NOT the same. According to Dr. Shahram Salemy, MD, “The use of these terms interchangeably has led to many misconceptions about these procedures.” He adds, “Cosmetic surgery is performed solely for aesthetics and to improve appearance [and] plastic surgery also includes reconstructive surgery to repair birth defects or damages caused by trauma or illness.”
For example, breast reconstruction after breast cancer is considered plastic surgery, while breast augmentation is cosmetic. Very often, the difference lays in the eyes of the insurance companies. Generally, most policies will cover plastic surgery and not cosmetic surgery.
2. The Myth: It is (too) expensive
Perpetuated by Hollywood’s rich and famous, it’s no wonder us ‘common folk’ believe we could never afford a bosom (among other things) like Kim Kardashian or refined nose like Megan Fox. In the past, this was often true. But today, thanks to a little phenomenon called medical travel, cosmetic surgery is becoming more affordable than ever.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of breast augmentation in the United States is around $3,678. This price only includes the surgeon’s fee. It does not include the cost of anesthesia, facilities, and materials (stitches, bandages, drapes, etc.). The price will also vary depending on doctor, patient, and region. In the UK this price is between £3,400-£5,000. Nowcompare that to an all-inclusive breast augmentation in the Czech Republic ($2,645/£2,120) and you’re looking at some serious savings without sacrificing quality.
3. The Myth: Liposuction is a quick, easy way to lose weight
“Liposuction” is a medical word for fat removal, but it’s not a treatment for weight loss or obesity.
We’d all love to lipo-away that extra weight we put on during the winter. Unfortunately, liposuction is not the answer- though it can help. Liposuction is NOT the same as bariatric surgery. Therefore it is NOT a weight-loss surgery. Liposuction removes stubborn, unwanted fat from trouble spot on the body (i.e. inner thighs, tummy, back, chin). Before undergoing the procedure, most surgeons require that you be as close to your ‘goal’ or ‘natural’ weight as possible. While lipo helps to slim and contour the body, the results will only last as long as your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
4. The Myth: Cosmetic surgery means “going under the knife”
Topping the charts with 4.6 million procedures per year, Botulinum Toxin (BOTOX®) is the most popular cosmetic procedure for both men and women worldwide. Instead of “going under the knife”, more and more patients are opting to go under the laser or needle. Thanks to new innovative technologies, even traditionally invasive procedures like liposuction have new alternatives, like Coolsculpting®. In 2017, experts predict that non-invasive procedures, like Kybella (an injectable which eliminates double-chins),will continue to grow in popularity. Benefits typically include lower prices, little to no recovery time and only the use of local anesthetics; usually in the form of creams or injectables. Other popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures include: Hyaluronic Acid, Hair Removal, Photo Rejuvenation and Nonsurgical Fat Reduction.
5. The Myth: Cosmetic surgery is only for women
By far, women still dominate the cosmetic surgery market. However, in 2015, cosmetic surgeons saw a significant rise in men looking to boost their confidence and improve their image. 3 million to be exact. Recent statistics from the American Plastic Surgery Surgeons reveal that the most popular surgical procedures for men are: Eyelid Surgery, Liposuction, Gynecomastia (male breast reduction), Rhinoplasty and Fat Grafting.
6. The Myth: The Kardashians have never had cosmetic surgery
Paul Cogan, long-time professional baseball scout for the LA Dodgers, is no stranger when it comes to finding the best. The father of 4, and husband of 31 years, travels the United States each year searching for the most talented, up-and-coming players to recruit. However, despite victories on and off the field, Paul’s dental success was striking out big time. That is until after years of quick fixes, and “bandaid” procedures, he decided to look abroad for dental crowns.
Recently, Salutara had the opportunity to sit down with Paul, and his wife Carol, to discuss their trip to Prague, the Czech Republic, and why they traveled half-way around the world for help.
From California to Europe
Salutara: Explain your decision to travel abroad for dental crowns. Had you ever traveled abroad for a medical procedure before?
Paul:Never! Up until now all my dental work has been done in the U.S.. But I have several friends who have sought medical advice abroad-mostly Asia- and they felt very comfortable with their experience. So that’s how the seed got planted. When I knew I needed crowns, I started looked into Asia and Latin America, India and Europe. From the beginning, I had a certain fondness and trust in Europe over anywhere elsewhere- but that’s just me.
Paul and his dentist post dental crown procedure at Mediestetik clinic, Prague
How important was price when making your decision? Where there any other factors?
Well, price was a factor but certainly not THE factor. I needed the comfort factor first and foremost- then price. The difference between most countries was nominal as far as cost. For me, it was Prague and Salutara that stood out from the rest and helped me to make my decision.
Working With Salutara
How about the support from Salutara when you arrived in Prague?
I almost felt like a celebrity- it was amazing. My wife and I were met at the airport by Petr and Martin (Salutara Co-Founders) and immediately felt a connection and level of trust. The whole Salutara staff was outstanding.
Carol: I have to agree. Not only did Petr and Martin met us at the airport, but they took us to our first appointment and met us at our last. They also visited with me while my husband was in the dental chair and gave me tips on where to eat and what to see in Prague. We were extremely satisfied!
Did you get to do any additional traveling or sightseeing during your trip?
Carol: Yes of course. We toured Prague Castle, the Jewish Cemetery, Wenceslaus Square, Prague Zoo and took a train trip to Vienna. Prague is a very friendly, affordable city, and easy to get around on foot or by public transport. We made the most of our time!
Paul Cogan (left) with his wife, Carol, and Salutara Co-founder, Petr Vankat, at the Marriott Hotel, Prague
And what was your experience like working with Salutara to facilitate your procedure? Did you feel like you were cared for and in good hands?
Yes I did. Salutara was professional and caring. I felt that was cared for and in good hands throughout the entire procedure. Their expertise and professionalism was evident from the very first communication via email, to the moment they said goodbye as our taxi to the airport arrived.
What questions or concerns did you have for your dentist at Mediestetik during your consultation? Were you satisfied with the clinic?
Very satisfied! Going into the consultation I basically knew what to expect, but was advised which crowns and techniques would be best. The communication was easy and the language barrier was not a problem- I mention this because I know this is a worry of many patients who travel abroad for a procedure. The dentist anticipated my needs and was quick and efficient.
Carol:I’d also like to add that the staff was extremely professional and that the facility and equipment were state of the art. We couldn’t have been more impressed!
How long did the entire procedure take? Was it painful?
For all my crowns, I spent a total of 4 hours in the dentist chair, 2 hours in preparation to create a mold and a final 2 hours to install. I didn’t need any Novocain and they were very sensitive to ensure my comfort. There was no pain at all.
The Final Score
For other people thinking about dentistry abroad, would you recommend working with Salutara and coming to the Czech Republic?
I already have and will continue to do so. People think there is a big risk involved when traveling abroad for medical care, but I give them full assurance there isn’t. Never before have I had such a pleasant dentist office experience until this.
Carol: Do not hesitate working with Salutara or Mediestetik! We plan on returning for more dental work in the future.
And most importantly, how are you enjoying your new dental crowns?
Like a kid! For the first time in ages I don’t mind smiling wider and can finally eat properly now. They feel fantastic!
What if you came into work on Monday and noticed your boss looking more, youthful? Those crows feet had disappeared, her frown lines were less noticeable, and overall, her skin was looking significantly tighter and fresher. Would you chalk it up to a well-rested weekend? Or spend the rest of the morning around the water cooler discussing if Mrs. Jones had a little extra help?
In 2015, more than 21 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures were performed worldwide. According to the ISAPS (International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery), this is an increase of over 1 million cosmetic procedures from 2014. Topping the charts with 4.6 million procedures, Botulinum Toxin (BOTOX®)continues to be the most popular cosmetic procedure for both men and women. Other popular anti-aging injectables, such as Hyaluronic Acid, have also increased 6.5% from 2014 to 2015.
So did Mrs. Jones go under the needle? Probably. And should we care? It depends who you talk to.
Which Cosmetic Procedures Are Considered Normal?
In general, eyebrows aren’t exactly raising when new cosmetic surgery statistics are released. Thanks to the media, and a bombardment of beauty advertising, girls as young as 13-years-old have expressed interest in getting breast implants. In fact, breast augmentation remains the most popular surgical procedure for women, with nearly 1.5 million performed each year.
Nearly 1.5 million were performed worldwide in 2015
ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons) President, David H. Song, comments, “While more traditional facial procedures and breast augmentations are still among the most popular, we’re seeing much more diversity in the areas of the body patients are choosing to address.”
Other popular surgeries include: Liposuction (1,181,074), Eyelid surgery (988,620), Abdominoplasty (703,361), and Rhinoplasty (534,523).
And though woman contribute to 85% of procedures performed worldwide, men are not shying away from a little nip and tuck. Popular surgeries include: Eyelid surgery (276,082), Liposuction (213,514), Gynecomastia (212,328), and Rhinoplasty (195,764).
Jenny, 42, London adds to the debate,”I recently had botox and I love it. It’s perfectly acceptable for women, and men, to spend loads of money on gym memberships, organic foods, designer clothes and yoga retreats in the name of self improvement. So what’s the big deal about a cosmetic procedure to improve your appearance? Of course if you have botox, or any cosmetic procedure, your opening the door to criticism. But in general, if it looks natural, I really don’t think people care- or notice.”
“It’s perfectly acceptable for women, and men, to spend loads of money on gym memberships, organic foods, designer clothes and yoga retreats in the name of self improvement, so what’s the big deal about cosmetic procedure to improve your appearance?”
In a recent interview with Cosmopolitan, American reality TV star, Khloe Kardashian, 32, adds, “I think plastic surgery should be viewed almost like makeup, because we’re all putting on a f*cking mask basically every day anyway, when you dye your hair, you’re changing who you are, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think people should get plastic surgery or fillers or lasers or whatever if they want it — that should be your own personal decision.”
When Does Cosmetic Surgery Become Extreme?
If botox and breast augmentation are “normal”, at least according to statistics, then which procedures are considered too extreme? Where is the line?
Before and After, Hi Def Liposculpture (six pack creation).
In a recent survey, Americans considered buttock implants, pectoral implants and jawline reduction the most extreme cosmetic procedures. Other bizarre, but popular procedures include: dimple creation surgery, Hi Def Liposculpture (six pack creation), The Bra Line Back Lift, penis enlargement/lengthening and labiaplasty.
Adam, 27, Chicago weighs in, “Personally I think it’s all too extreme. I have three sisters, so I understand the pressure they feel to look a certain way. Even as a young man, I feel it too. But I think it’s a slippery slope. Sure, maybe a little botox isn’t something to get worked up over. But it can easily be the gateway to other, more extreme procedures. Like butt implants for example. It will never be enough”
New stats from the ASPS also revealed that 2015 was another “year of the rear”, as procedures focusing on the bottom dominated surgical growth. In 2015, buttock implants were the fastest growing type of cosmetic surgery in the United States. Overall, numbers showed that on an average day, one buttock procedure was performed every 30 minutes.
“Sure, maybe a little botox isn’t something to get worked up over. But it can easily be the gateway to other, more extreme procedures in the future. It’s ridiculous”
“What I don’t understand are the people who think ‘bigger is better’. Bigger lips, bigger breasts, bigger behinds. Too me that is extreme,” adds Anne Burns, 36, a personal trainer in New York City. “Everyday in my gym I see all body types, and work with people to improve their self-confidence. For some women, breast augmentation or rhinoplasty can dramatically improve their self-esteem. However, for others you can tell that they just want to achieve some unrealistic standard. For example, young college girls getting DD breast implants and lip injections. It begins to look extremely unnatural.”
In 2015, buttock implants were the fastest growing type of cosmetic surgery in the United States.
The number of surgical and nonsurgical procedures are projected to increase in 2017. It is safe to say that the lines between what is “normal” and “extreme” will become more defined or blur even further.
“Personally, I think what is normal and extreme is obvious. When you see a woman with disproportionately large breasts, lip injections, and a face frozen in time, it’s quite shocking,” says Kim, 34, Birmingham. “In my opinion, if the procedure looks natural and makes you happy, then who cares. But when your spending thousands to look like a plastic barbie doll, then it raises some concern. In that case, I’d say it’s extreme.”
Imagine you’ve been set up on a blind date. You don’t know anything about this person except that your mutual friend thinks, “you guys would be great together”, and that he/she has an affinity for dogs and works in finance. So you put on your Sunday best, take a quick shot of liquid courage, and head off to a nice (but not too nice) restaurant to find out if the stars have finally aligned. However, when you finally meet said person, you immediately realize the one thing your friend conveniently failed to mention- they have terrible teeth.
Do You Have A Winning Smile?
As of 2016, professional teeth whitening is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures.
For many people, bad teeth are a deal breaker. In fact, a recent study suggests that nearly 50 percent of us believe that a great smile is the most important feature in making a good impression; and even more important when considering a potential love interest.
In a recent interview, Dr Mark Hughes, founder and clinical director of the Harley Street Dental Group in London, comments on the importance of a good smile. “If someone has a strong smile, you feel they are a strong person and that is very attractive. It is becoming more and more culturally unacceptable to have discolored, missing and crooked teeth.”
Similarly, according to psychotherapist and novelist, Lucy Beresford, our brains are hardwired to associate good teeth with youth. “Having good teeth is a sign of youth and fertility-in our psyche, good teeth equal fitness and vitality.”
But what about the other 50 percent? Are bad teeth always a hard no, or can their be charm in a slightly imperfect smile?
New York native, Megan, 26, agrees with the latter. “I love a quirky smile. I think when it comes to teeth, health is more important than perfection,” says Megan. “If someone’s smile isn’t blindingly white, or they have a couple of crooked teeth or a gap, it’s definitely not a deal breaker. Just so long as they are confident in their smile and own it. Yellow, unhealthy teeth on the other hand- no way. Hygiene is important.”
“I love a quirky smile. I think when it comes to teeth, health is more important than perfection.”- Megan, 26, New York
A ‘diastema’ is a space or gap between two teeth. It is actually a very common trait among many species of mammals.
Indian fashion photographer, Anushka Menon, also doesn’t mind a few flaws. “I love the gap!” she says in a recent interview with Vogue. “When you have a face and body to go with it, that imperfection seems like the icing on the cake.”
For Samuel, a 31-year-old consultant from Queensland, there is nothing cute or charming about a bad smile. “When I meet a girl it is the first thing I notice. I’ve gone out with girls with crooked and discolored teeth before and honestly, it was distracting. Maybe I’m shallow, but I think bad teeth are a major turn off. I know that not everyone can afford braces or cosmetic surgery, but even just a little teeth whitening can go a long way.”
“I’ve gone out with girls with crooked and discolored teeth before and honestly, it was distracting. Maybe I’m shallow, but I think bad teeth are a major turn off.”- Samuel, 31, Queensland
12 out of 20 woman confessed that having a great smile is one of the biggest turns-on in a man.
Gretchen, a 34-year-old mother of two from London, also advocates getting a little help if your smile isn’t naturally as appealing as you’d like.
“When I was in my early twenties I had a terrible time dating and meeting men. Growing up, my family did not have enough money for braces, so I always had slight space between my front teeth. I’m not sure it was something other people noticed much, but it absolutely killed my self-esteem. I could never laugh and flirt with confidence like my girlfriends. And any time we took group photos I’d give my best, toothless grin. So at 25 I decided to save up and get porcelain veneers. For me it was about feeling comfortable in my own skin and finally fixing a pesky problem. I think my newfound confidence must have been noticeable because I met my now husband about 6 weeks after the procedure.”
Ultra popular dating app, Tinder, also released recent data to support that people who smile in their profile photos (regardless of the shape, color or size of their teeth) receive 10 times more ‘swipes right’ than those who don’t.
“I think it’s all personal preference,” Adam, 23, Philadelphia adds. “When I meet someone out at a bar, or online, I am much more interested in their personality and interests, rather than how white or straight their teeth are. Sure, looks are important, but someone’s smile is only a small fraction of what makes them “datable” or attractive.”
Your teeth are often the first thing people notice when they meet you; and your smile can make or break a lasting, good first impression. Like many young men or women, Ingrid, 26, wished she had a better smile. Recently we had the opportunity to sit down with Ingrid, and discuss how cosmetic dentistry and dental veneers have totally transformed her smile and confidence. Here’s what she had to say:
Ingrid, 26, after being fitted with 8 new veneers at the Mediestetik Clinic in Prague, Czech Republic
Q: Welcome Ingrid, and thanks for taking time to chat with us today! Your currently living in Germany, right?
A: Hey, thanks for having me. And yes, I am from the United States but have been living in Germany for several years. It’s been a great experience living abroad and seeing more of the world.
Q: Excellent! And you recently had 8 brand new dental veneers fitted. Tell us a little bit about why you chose this procedure.
A: Well, since I was a child I’ve always had gaps between my teeth. When I was young it didn’t bother me so much, but as I got older I guess I started to feel more self-conscious about it. I started hiding my smile in photos and always felt like it was the first thing people noticed. Basically, I wanted to close the gaps and make my smile as close to perfect as possible.
Ingrid in Prague, Czech Republic, before her first appointment
Q: How long had you been thinking about cosmetic dentistry before your procedure?
A:Well, I had always thought about fixing my teeth, but it wasn’t until I was around 19 years old that I started to seriously consider it. However, at the time I didn’t exactly know what dental veneers were or how much they cost until I started to do some research. Then my problem became finding out where to go and who to talk to about them. I really needed help looking for affordable prices and reputable clinics.
Q: What made you decide to come to Prague for your dental treatment?
A:In Germany it’s expensive to have veneers done; same goes for the U.S. I had through some friends that it might be a lot cheaper to have dental procedures and surgeries done in Prague- and it was! Each veneer cost approximately 330 EUR/350USD.
Price per composite veneer in Germany: [450-800 EUR]
Price per composite veneer U.S.:[250-1,500 USD]
Q: And where did you first hear about Salutara?
A: I was actually just Googling cosmetic dentistry on the internet when I came across a blog post from Salutara.com. At the time I was talking to several other medical travel facilitators, but Salutara was the one I liked most. Immediately I could tell they would go above and beyond to make my trip convenient, safe and comfortable.
Q: How was your experience with the clinics and the doctors?
During the entire procedure they were extremely attentive and concerned about whether or not I was feeling okay or if I was in any pain. My surgeon and the staff at the Mediestetik Clinic were were really nice, their English was excellent, and they really made me feel 100% comfortable throughout the entire process.
Salutara Co-Founder, Petr Vankat, and Salutara client, Ingrid, exploring Prague in between appointments.
Q: And how was your experience with Salutara?
A:As soon as I contacted Salutara I got a message from Petr. I explained what I wanted and everything was really fast. I’d say in a matter of less than a week I already had everything planned and they had everything done for me. They also helped me plan my stay here; decide which clinic was best for me; were here for all of my appointments, and Petr even helped me park my car- which was really great!
Q: How do you feel about the results? And what would you tell other people thinking about cosmetic dentistry?
A:In one word: Happy. I feel extremely happy and am so excited about the results. After so many years of feeling self-conscious about my teeth, this is like a fresh start. It’s life changing. I have a beautiful smile now and I look forward to showing it off.
And for those who are thinking about getting veneers, or some kind of cosmetic dentistry, I highly recommend you do it! Life is short, and with today’s technology, having a procedure like mine is so quick and painless. Also I highly recommend looking into traveling abroad. I know people are hesitant about it, I was too even though I was already living abroad; but prices are significantly cheaper but the quality is still top-notch. You won’t regret it!
Have you ever asked yourself this question before? Many women have, but don’t like to talk about it. In our baby-bump obsessed culture, conceiving seems as about as easy as binge-watching your favorite Netflix series. We obsess over the pregnant celebrities, ohhh and aahh over gifts at our friends baby-showers. Push presents are even a thing now. Rarely do we talk about the fears and anxieties surrounding conception. And while we’re aware that infertility exists, many women worry silently if they will become another statistic.
So why are women, specifically young women, worrying that they’ll have trouble getting pregnant?
Well, as it turns out, women are only born with a finite amount of eggs- one to two million to be exact. Naturally, as women age, eggs are released, and over time, the numbers begin to drop. After age 30, the chances of having a baby begin to decrease by 3-5% each year. After 40, fertility reduces by an even greater extent.
Over the past 25 years, many women are steadily starting families later in life. In the United States, the average age of first time mothers is at an all-time high of 26 years. In the UK, it is even higher, at 28.5 years. As a result, women are more open about infertility and IVF treatments. It’s a major step forward in its own rights, but is also perpetuating some unnecessary fear in young women who have not even tried getting pregnant yet.
Is There Anything To Worry About?
Yes and No. In an interview with Bustle.com, Julianne Zweifel, a clinical psychologist and Obstetrics and Gynecology professor said, “‘[If you’re young], the odds [of getting pregnant] are still dramatically in your favor…But if you’re the person on the negative end of that percentage, it’s bad. When you are 30 years old and you have fertility problems, you are even angrier than when you’re 36.”
She adds, “You have a backdrop in society of women having kids later and later…You think, ‘Maybe this is more possible’ and you’re lulled into a false sense of security. [But] we weren’t just created in 2014 with bodies that were created in 2014. It really might work out, but the older you get, the less likely that is.”
While this may ease the minds of some young women, for others the fear of infertility is very real.
Emily, a 27 year old, Australian school teacher had this to say,
“I just got married this summer. Since then, my husband and I can’t talk about anything else besides babies. It’s our dream to start a family, but privately I worry, ‘what if I can’t get pregnant?’. At the moment we are not trying, and I have never tried before, but I always have this reoccurring feeling that for whatever reasons, my body just won’t be able to conceive.”
Fortunately, Emily is not alone. In a recent survey of 50 hopeful, future-mothers (ages 21-30), 36 reported having similar fears, despite never having tried to conceive before.
“Of course I think about. I think most women do, but we don’t like to talk about it. Not even to or girlfriends. Instead of, ‘When I get pregnant…’, more and more young women are wondering, ‘If I can get pregnant…’. (Joanne, 24, Grad Student, U.K.)
Instead of, “When I get pregnant…”, more and more young women are wondering, “If I can get pregnant…”
“It’s so weird, and my husband and I never talk about it. When I was a teenager I know I had unsafe sex a lot, and nothing ever happened, so I just feel like their must be something biologically wrong with me. Like either I was very lucky, or I have to be infertile.” (Sara, 28, Realtor, U.S.)
How Easy Is It To Get Pregnant, Really?
Well, statistics actually show that 85% of all couples trying to conceive will get pregnant within 12 months. Those numbers are pretty high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 94% of American women are fertile and 89% will not have any trouble getting pregnant. Similarly in Great Britain, where according to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, 90 percent of women age 19–39 will conceive after two years of actively trying to have a baby.
According to recent statistics from Baby Centre UK, out of 100 couples trying to naturally conceive naturally:
20 will conceive within one month
70 will conceive within six months
85 will conceive within one year
90 will conceive within 18 months
95 will conceive within two years
While taking up to two years to get pregnant is normal for some couples, it may feel like a long time. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a fertility problem. If you are already trying, remember to keep trying. Half of the couples under 35 who don’t get pregnant within a year, will likely conceive the following year.
Conception is the miracle of life. For centuries, pregnant bodies have been marveled at, celebrated, and even worshipped. Nowadays, baby-bumps still never cease to amazes us. Just ask any expecting mother if they had a dollar for every person who asked to touch their bellies.
However, women today (especially young mothers) face more body and beauty standards than ever before. The constant pressure to have the “perfect body”, both pre- and post- pregnancy, is even enough for some women to forego pregnancy altogether.
In an interview with several soon-to-be mommies, we asked: what worries them most about their postpartum figures?
The average woman gains approximately 12.5kg (27.6lb) during her pregnancy.
New Mommy Worries
“I’m worried about stretch-marks. I appreciate all of the women who says, ‘stretch marks are battle wounds’. Confidence is important, but personally I don’t look forward to them.” (Michelle, 26, UK)
“Saggy boobs, for sure. I’ve always had large breasts, and since getting pregnant, they’ve gotten even bigger. At first I loved it-so did my husband-but now I just worry about the shape and size they’ll return to after the birth.” (Mary-Kate, 28, UK)
“I’m actually about to have my second child, can I tell you, I still worry about my post-baby body. I’m naturally quite thin, workout several times a week and maintain a sensible diet, but after my first child, my physique totally change. I noticed more fat migrating to my tummy and thighs. Now I have a little pouch that I just can’t get rid of. No matter how much I exercise or how healthy I eat.” (Julia, 27, U.S.)
Would You Have Cosmetic Surgery?
In a recent poll, young mothers were asked if they would ever undergo any kind of cosmetic surgery (invasive or non-invasive) to help get back to their pre-baby bodies. 46% agree that they would be open to some minimally invasive or non invasive cosmetic surgery if it meant improving their self confidence and increasing their overall happiness. 12% admit that they’ve already had some work done, or are interested in a more invasive procedure.
When we asked our mommy-to-be’s, they had the following to say:
Michelle, 26, UK, opens up about her post-baby body fears.
“Sure, why not? I am proud of my body. Giving birth is beautiful. But I want to feel sexy too! I am young and I don’t want to spend the next 50+ years hiding my tummy.” – Julia
“I’ve thought about it, but I’m not sure. I think if it was something minimally invasive or noninvasive, I’d totally be open to it. Maybe a laser treatment for my stretch mark. I wish we didn’t have to have this discussion, but it’s a real fear for many young mothers. We should support one another and do what’s best for us and our bodies.” -Michelle
Quality, affordable healthcare is on the forefront of minds around the world. Out-of-pocket medical costs for critical and elective procedures continue to skyrocket, and nations offering universal care are struggling to keep up with the demand. As a result, millions of patients are crossing borders each year in order to access better healthcare options, save money, and cut down on increasingly long wait times. According to Patients Beyond Borders, the worldwide medical tourism market is estimated to be growing at a rate of 15-25%.
In a recent interview with Martin Cvetler and Petr Vankat, co-founders of Salutara, they discuss how Salutara.com is helping patients navigate the new world of medical travel, and how they plan to revolutionize the medical tourism industry.
Q: Hi Petr and Martin! Tell us a little bit about Salutara. Where did the inspiration to start an online medical travel platform come from?
Petr:Some people believe that traveling is the best way to enrich your life, and I completely agree. Several years ago I was visiting a friend in Switzerland, and came across a local travel agent who was providing citizens of the beautiful Swiss town, Thun, a chance to take advantage of high quality yet significantly lower priced Hungarian dentistry. It stroke me as a brilliant idea! I started imagining how great it would be to give people the means to find the perfect treatment, clinic and doctor, anywhere in the world.
A friendly, coherent online platform seemed like the easiest way to provide simple communication and allow patients to book their procedures directly. My mother is also an eye surgeon, so and I grew up around doctors. It only made sense.
Martin: There were other online platforms out there at the time we started building Salutara.com, but none that provided users with full, end-to-end service. Our idea wasn’t to be the same, and it still isn’t. We’ve created Salutara.com to be something like the Booking.com of medical treatments, although finding a clinic and booking a medical treatment is certainly not the same as booking a hotel room. When you’re working with patients from all over the world, with real medical concerns, building trust is the main concern.
Co-Founder, Petr Vankat and Salutara dental client, Ingrid, USA, sightseeing in Prague before her procedure.
Q: What are some of the main advantages of traveling abroad for medical treatments?
Martin: There are plenty of advantages of traveling abroad for a medical treatment. Shorter wait times, better quality, and lower prices to name a few. Patients generally want top quality for a reasonable and affordable price. Today, prices can vary 2-3 fold depending on the country. Recently, a client traveled from the USA for 5 days of extensive dental treatment. In total, she spent 8,800 USD. Back home in the USA, the same procedure would easily cost 3 times more.
Price aside, she was also extremely happy with the quality of the clinic in the Czech Republic. Based on her experience, she felt that it was better equipped than some US clinics.
Q: What is the most frequent question (or concern) patients have before traveling abroad for a medical procedure?
Petr: Price, quality and language spoken- in this order. As Martin mentioned, most people ask for good quality for an affordable price, however, some prefer quality regardless of price. And as far as languages, we direct our customers to clinics and doctors equipped with particular language skills. In the near future we’ll be launching a concierge service including interpretation on site.
Martin: We also provide every client with multiple price quotes from different clinics so they can compare and get a good feel for the price level. Our goal is to provide clients with standardized quotes that are easy to understand and compare. Simplicity is key. Our clients have busy lives and we value their time.
Q: Let’s talk about Salutara.com. What features and capabilities does your full-service, online platform provide?
Martin:The ultimate solution is a user friendly platform that connects clients with clinics for unlimited online consultations, price quotes, date booking, trip planning (when going abroad), including the transportation and accommodation. At the same time, every client has a dedicated Salutara coordinator that helps with questions before and during the trip, and helps clients make the right, and best decision for them.
Petr: Adding to what Martin said, it is also a matter of common sense. We want to solve the annoying problems people face when doing it themselves? For instance, having to approach clinics with different price lists, exchanging lengthy, exhausting e-mail back and forth (often hard to keep track of), discussing different availabilities, language skills, and of course, finding credible patient reviews. This is what we are currently solving and working on.
Q: How do you support the patients before, during and after their medical travel?
Martin: As I said before, we do and provide everything that helps to make the right decision about the clinic. Once the date of a treatment is reserved, we help each client organize everything else, including the airport transfers, accommodation and anything else they might need at the destination. Once they arrive, we make sure they are at all of their appointments on time, arrange any necessary transportation, and accompany them to the clinic if they wish.
Petr: In addition, as well as you might appreciate to be asked how everything was before leaving a restaurant, we do the same before our clients leave the country of treatment and when they arrive home. Feedback is crucial for further improvement and it also gives Salutara’s customers a chance to share a few happy “after” pictures with us, which so far they’ve loved doing.
Q: What responsibilities do you have as one of the world’s leading medical travel platforms?
Petr:It’s a good question. We are responsible for providing a variety of transparent options for customers to choose from. All data needs to be accurate and quick response times are critical for urgent treatments . This is especially true for IVF, when every seconds counts.
Martin:As Petr said, accurate and extensive information is 100% necessary, and we do not believe in cutting corners. Speedy and relevant responses are also important, as well as honesty, trust and care.
Online medical travel platform, Salutara, co-founders, Martin (right) and Petr (left)
Q: How do you ensure the safest and most comfortable experience for your patients?
Petr:Clients have the option to ask for our Salutara welcome package. Thisincludes having a personal assistant that picks them up at the airport, takes them to their hotel, and introduces them at clinic. It’s also totally natural to feel stressed before a surgery in a strange country. We understand that. Therefore, they appreciate having someone there, on the spot, ready to help provide comfort, courage and resolve any potential hick ups.
*Bringing patients a complimentary McFlurry or pumpkin spiced latte when there’s a sudden craving is just a bonus (smile).
Q: Your partnerships with clinics and physicians are a key factor in the patient’s success. How do you decide which partners meet your standards in order to provide highest level of service?
Petr: All of the clinics we work with are accredited, certified and members of various worldwide association.We do extensive research on each clinic beforehand recommending them to client. It’s also important to keep in mind that themedical field is very well connected, and the clinics we work with often recommend one another. For example, a dental clinic may recommend a plastic surgery clinic for cooperation. It is then our job to verify any personal bias- positive or negative. Also, you can tell a lot about a clinic from its management, staff and by looking into previous customers’ reviews. We take all customer feedback into consideration.
Q: Where do you see Salutara in the next few years? Which *new* treatments will you be offering?
Petr: Our goal to continually improve and provide more of what our clients want and need. In regards to treatments, there is a high demand on the market for laser eye surgeries – those are going to be next. Also dermatological procedures and so called mummy makeovers are to be added and later even more sophisticated treatments like knee or hip replacements and even proton cancer therapy.
Geographically, Salutara will expand its clinic offers to other countries such as Hungary, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand or Costa Rica and Mexico.
Q: Medical tourism is a booming industry, and shows no sign of slowing down. How does Salutara set itself apart from other medical travel agencies?
Martin:Well, in a way Salutara already has. A majority of agencies offer a limited scope of services focusing on a specific local market. For example, only bringing German customers to Hungary for dental treatments only. Salutara does not intend to be just ‘another agency’, per say, but the website/App which comes to mind every time you need a medical treatment. Salutara is transparent, easy to use, and an end-to-end service. Our goal is to facilitate direct communication with clinics/doctors, personal assistance and create a stress free process.
Salutara does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information on this site is merely to orientate and provide a general outline. It does not replace professional advice, diagnosis and treatment recommended by a physician.