Medical tourism is a new trend in the cosmetic and plastic surgery industries. While some patients try to stay close to home when undergoing a surgical procedure, more and more patients are finding the benefits of traveling for cosmetic surgery too good to resist. Undertaking a medical procedure in another city, country or continent requires careful planning, but can be a very rewarding experience.
This detailed guide thoroughly explains many benefits, as well as the potential pitfalls, of foreign medical travel.
Medical Tourism Defined
Travel for the sake of receiving medical treatment in another geographic location is the basis for medical touring. The idea is mutually beneficial to patients and doctors alike.
This is not the same as driving to the next town to locate the doctor of your choice. Most patients using medical touring actually travel considerable distances to undergo surgery in a foreign land.
Many health professionals dedicate a substantial part of their practice to patients who have traveled specifically to be treated by the doctor. Remember, there are distinct advantages and potential drawbacks of the medical travel industry.
Medical Tourism Patient Advantages
Most patients see the potential to save lots of money as the biggest advantage of foreign medical treatment. Many countries in the world have a developed and excellent medical system which offers comparable results at a reduced financial cost.
Plastic and cosmetic surgery is an expensive proposition for most patients and some savings would really help to reduce the monetary burden of their procedure.
In addition, patients can enjoy a wonderful vacation in a beautiful and exotic locale in which to recover from their surgery. This is particularly nice for individuals who would like to conceal their recent surgery from the public or family.
Most commonly, the treating doctor has staff members who will help to arrange everything from your flight and hotel to your surgery and even tourist activities.
When planned properly, a medical travel experience can be a financial win and can also achieve your most lofty body image goals.
Medical Tourism Doctor Advantages
Many plastic surgeons who specialize in this type of travel & treat program were actually educated in their patient’s home country, at one of the finest educational institutions available. These doctors might have the training and skills to practice anywhere in the world, but choose to stay in their own country, or a place where they prefer to be, for personal reasons.
Practicing cosmetic surgery is far less expensive in some countries than in others, due to insurance costs, medical infrastructure, facility costs and staffing costs. By importing patients from wealthy areas, a doctor can keep their operating costs low and still make a very good profit margin from their foreign clients.
For many doctors, this gives them the ability to do low cost humanitarian reparative or reconstructive work for needy people who live in their practice location.
Warnings on Medical Tourism
Planning any surgical procedure has inherent risks, but considering a medical travel excursion is even more complicated and possibly dangerous. Showing up in some strange country, as the “guest” of an unknown surgeon, sounds like the story line to a bad horror movie.
In reality, most doctors who run a medical travel practice are excellent surgeons and very helpful and sincere professionals. However, some bad doctors do try to take advantage of this process and patients are often the ones to suffer the consequences.
Common scenarios involve the patients losing their money, suffering poor surgical results or even dying in surgery. These are rare unfortunate effects of what should be a generally good and mutually beneficial experience.
Avoiding Trouble During Medical Tourism
The following methods will help you to avoid potential problems when planning a medical travel procedure:
Do not measure a foreign doctor by any less strict criteria than you would a surgeon in your own neighborhood. Make sure to inquire if they are board certified, where they were educated and what their specialty is.
Make sure to get a detailed trip itinerary, including all relevant and promised information.
Investigate a doctor thoroughly before booking the trip. Ask the doctor for referrals from patients in your home country. Take the time to follow-up on these referrals, to make sure they are legitimate.
Learn some basic information about your destination country. Try to determine what the medical regulations are and how strict the government is about enforcing proper medical procedures and practices.
Use common sense. Most patients forget this simple rule. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If something seems wrong, it probably is.
Recommendations on Medical Tourism
The most common areas for cosmetic surgery tourism include: Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cuba, Colombia, The Philippines, India, Bolivia, Argentina, South Africa, Brazil, Costa Rica, Brunei, Israel, Hungary, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, and Turkey.
While it is impossible to generalize, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia offer some of the best values in plastic and cosmetic surgery, while maintaining a quality standard at or above most western countries.
We have personally witnessed the medical facilities throughout Southeast Asia and were incredibly impressed by the personalized service, attention to detail and knowledgeable, caring staff members and doctors.
Be wary of areas with political or economic unrest, since these factors can definitely influence the outcome of your trip and surgery.
The bottom line, when it comes to medical travel, is to plan carefully and sensibly. When done right, a medical travel experience is one of the best opportunities you might ever enjoy. When done wrong, the trip might just mean the end of your life.