Linda Briggs

Cosmetic Surgery & Dentistry Home or Abroad

Countries   |  Belgium


Map of Belgium

Medical Tourism in Belgium
Cosmetic surgery in Belgium

Belgium is a very popular destination for cosmetic surgery.  From London it's easy to get to Brussels by Eurostar.  Brugge is very easy by Ferry and many airports in the UK have destinations in Belgium

The clinical standards in Belgium are very high , and there are a lot of GMC registered surgeons in Belgium.

Belgium's health care system is famous around the world as a center of excellence, which has resulted in exceptionally high standards of health care and surgery on offer throughout Belgium.

The Belgium Health Care System for residents

In Belgium there are no long waiting lists due to the flexibility built in the health care system. Moreover, the problem associated with surgery and the risks of secondary infections are virtually eliminated in the Belgium health care system. Belgium hospitals boast of less than 0.5% secondary infection rates.

Belgium has one of the best healthcare systems in Europe.  Medical care is publicly funded through the compulsory state insurance system which covers the majority of the population, along with a number of private schemes.  Contributions to the state scheme are deducted automatically from employee salaries.  Medical fees are usually reimbursed up to around three quarters of the cost, with individuals having to top up the payments. For this reason many people also have supplementary private health insurance.  Although the social security system including health insurance is regulated by the Federal Government, the provision of health services is the responsibility of individual provinces and regions.  Primary health care is mostly delivered via private practice.

On commencing employment in Belgium, foreign nationals are required to join either the state insurance scheme or a private scheme.  You will be issued with a Social Security Identity card which should be shown whenever you receive treatment from a doctor or hospital, along with stickers which are to be attached to the doctor's bill in order for the insurance payment to be processed.

You can choose to see any doctor or specialist consultant or attend any hospital in Belgium, without referral.  You can also see practitioners offering alternative treatments, such as homeopathy, acupuncture and osteopathy, as long as they are registered as qualified with the government.

You are likely to have to pay a proportion of your medical fees at the time of your treatment, and if you have private insurance you will have to pay the full amount up front and claim reimbursement from the insurance company.

Most dentists are in private practice in Belgium, although some will accept state insurance for partial payment of treatment.

Belgium has a strong medical infrastructure in place across the country.  There is a huge network of both private and independent hospitals across Belgium that ensures high standards of health care and surgery have been consistently maintained over the years.

There are two types of hospitals in Belgium.  A general hospital (ziekenhuis) has its own staff on duty round the clock.  As soon as a patient is admitted to a hospital the staff are in charge of patient care.  Emergency numbers for an ambulance are 100 or 112.

University Hospital in Ghent, Belgium.

For visiting patients who do not qualify for state medical care, a clinic (kliniek) is a private hospital that too has its own staff.  The difference here is that the doctor will be in charge of the patient's care during a stay in a clinic.

Patients can call on the surgeon directly, have their scans immediately and after that the option to choose the timing of their surgery: this week or next.

Every year innumerable patients visit the country to obtain surgical, dental and cosmetic surgeries. With mounting health care and medical costs, diminished health insurance coverage, and long waiting lists in the home countries, going to Belgium to have optimal medical services is a practical and an attractive option.

Pharmacies usually operate a rota system to give 24-hour coverage in any area.

Childbirth in Belgium
Unlike in UK where the mother leaves the hospital within 6 hrs after the birth, Belgium hospitals allow the mother and baby to be in hospital for 4-6 days.  There is always a private room available fully fitted with bathroom and baby facilities.  There are nurses to take care of the mother and baby and advice on babycare at home.

Cosmetic Surgery in Belgium
As a visitor travelling to Belgium for Cosmetic surgery, it would be carried out in a private clinic.  Cosmetic surgery clinics cannot keep patients in over night, as all cosmetic surgery must be carried out as day case surgery by law.

You will have your cosmetic surgery and then recover for a while and then be taken to your hotel.  Most surgeons will give the patient an emergency telephone number so patients can call surgeons if they need them.  It is advisable to stay in the area for a few days to ensure you are close to your cosmetic surgeon in case there is a problem.  Of course the choice is yours, but read all about the
risk after surgery here.


A recent study of the Health of Nations by World Markets Research Centre, a leading provider of independent business and industry intelligence, Belgium topped the 175 country list with 98 points.

The hospital system in Belgium is different from the US or the UK.  Patients going to a hospital in Belgium, will need to take their own clothes for sleeping purposes, their own robe, toiletries and slippers.  Patients are also required to take their own towels.

Doctors and Surgeons in Belgium
The Belgium health care system makes every effort to keep their doctors one of the very best in the world.  Across the country there are well trained doctors and these doctors are required to keep up-to-date with the latest medical developments.

Most Belgium doctors speak English or at least understand it.  This can be attributed to the fact that medical training in Belgium often requires the use of text books that are in English.  Doctors sometimes undergo periods of study in the UK or USA.

Doctors in Belgium undergo intensive training for some years, before they choose to specialise. That depends on the type of specialisation. For instance, cosmetic surgeons will have studied for a period of around 12 years in total before they will be able to carry out cosmetic surgery.

Affiliation to hospitals.
Usually doctors in Belgium are affiliated to more than one clinic, which ensures patients have a choice if they need to be hospitalised.

Most Belgian doctors operate without administrative or nursing staff to handle phone calls or make appointments.  This means if the patients prefer to make an appointment with their GP, it's usually possible to be seen the same day.  Doctors also make house calls, and in some cases, prefer to attend patients at home by appointment rather than their clinics.

The one thing that Belgium doctors and surgeons are renowned for is, unlike doctors in other countries, they take time with their patients to answer questions and discuss the treatment.  They generally provide more personal time so that best results are achieved.

To find a GP or specialists in non-emergency medicine, there are a number of doctors in Brussels that speak English.  The US Embassy in Belgium has compiled an excellent listing of English speaking doctors in Belgium (mainly Brussels and Antwerp) including addresses, phone numbers, and Websites.

Costs and Travel
Apart from a well cared for medical system, state-of-the art hospitals and excellent doctors, surgeons and support staff , there are a number of other factors which have contributed to Belgium being a popular choice for cosmetic surgery

The most important factor is the price.  On average, the cost of a surgery in Belgium is considerably lower than in the UK, sometimes as much as 40-50%.  
Low cost here, does not mean sub-standard or inferior quality.

Another factor is the cost of traveling to Belgium.  There are a number of low cost airlines that offer reduced prices for flights to Belgium from major destinations.  This translates into cheaper and easier travel to Brussels.  Other options such as the Eurostar have meant that traveling to Belgium is a viable and cost effective solution than it was earlier.

Belgium as a country
Belgium is
situated between Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg and France.  It stretches from the scenic Ardennes region in the south, to the wind swept North Sea coastline in the North, and is interlaced by a network of canals.  The population was 10,403,951 in 2008.  Belgium is the seat of both the NATO and European Union and most West European capitals are located within 1,000 km of the capital city Brussels.

The conventional long form of the country is Kingdom of Belgium and the conventional short form is Belgium.  Belgium is known in the local long form as Royaume de Belgique / Koninkrijk Belgie and in the local short form as Belgique / Belgie.

Belgium is a secular country as the 'laicist constitution' ensuring freedom of religion.  Materially and symbolically, the Roman Catholic Church remains in a favourable position.  A recent estimate said that about 47% of the population is Catholic, while Islam was recognised as the second-largest religion at 3.5%.  The people are friendly and easy-going.

Belgium is renowned across the world for its cuisine.  Many highly ranked Belgian restaurants can be found in the world's most influential gastronomic guides.

Food in Belgium

Belgians love French fries and waffles.  Contrary to popular belief, French fries originated in Belgium and not in France.  The national dishes are "mussels with fries" and "steak and fries with salad".

Belgian chocolates are among the most loved chocolates in the world.  Some of the brands of chocolate and pralines, like Cote d'Or, Neuhaus, Callebaut, Guylian, Leonidas, and Godiva, are world famous and widely sold.  Belgium is a haven of beer lovers as it produces over 500 varieties of beer.  In Bev, has the biggest known brewer in the world by volume.

Belgian economy is stable.  It is a modern, private-enterprise economy which has been successful in capitalising on its highly developed transport network, central geographic location, and diversified commercial and industrial base.  Roughly 75% of its trade is with other EU countries.  The government has balanced its budget, and the country now boasts of equal income distribution. Belgium began using the euro currency in January 2002.

Folklore and culture in Belgium are very much part of the daily life.  Belgium has a lot of cavalcades, processions, parades, and other local festivals.  Most of these events have a religious background.

UNESCO has recognised the Carnival of Binche and the 'Processional Giants and Dragons' of Ath, Brussels, Mechelen, Dendermonde, and Mons as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.  Other examples include Hanswijk in Mechelen and Virga Jesse in Hasselt; the Walloon festival in Namur; and the August 15 festival in Liege.  A major non-official holiday is the Saint Nicholas Day, a festivity for children and, in Liege, for students.

Belgium is a great country to travel to, not just for tourism but also for cosmetic surgery and other medical purposes.  The low cost of the health system, travel and stay coupled with interesting sights and events make Belgium a happy place for a medical tourism related spot.


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Cosmetic Surgery Abroad   |   Page last updated 11 February 2021