Can Medical Tourism Actually Save Lives?

The Worsening State of Health Care

The Institute of Medicine (2004) estimates that, “about 18,000 Americans die each year from treatable conditions because they cannot afford healthcare.” These are shocking figures for a country that prides itself on being the most developed in the world. Want another shocking fact? 46 million Americans are without health insurance. An additional 120 million lack dental insurance. You might be wondering, “who really needs dental insurance?” Well, the cost of a dental bridge can exceed $6,000 in the States. Dental fillings range into the hundreds of dollars. Braces will set you back several thousand dollars over many months (or years).

How Can Medical Tourism Help?

Medical tourism is all about options. By flying abroad to countries with comparable care but more affordable pricing, patients can save a bundle on dental bridges, heart surgeries, and anything else they might need. While true, medical tourism is no substitute for universal health care (you still have to buy the airfare, hotel rooms, etc), it is still a better option than letting people fend for themselves in a health care industry bogged down with outrageous costs, red tape, and serious conflicts of interest.

Dangers of Medical Tourism

Thailand, India, Singapore, and Mexico are some of the leading pioneers in medical tourism. However, not all destinations offer the same types of guarantees, regulations, and restrictions that you’ve grown accustomed to in the States. There’s certainly no shortage of “unscrupulous” doctors out there who are eager to attract foreign dollars. And in the event of a botched surgery, you might not have much legal recourse. That’s why it is imperative that you understand the facts about medical tourism safety and malpractice. Some hospitals are great…others are not. Make sure you ask the right types of questions before committing to anything, either in your home country or abroad.

Can a Health Vacation Actually Make You Slimmer?

Low Cost of Gastric Bypass Surgery abroad Makes Weight Loss Even Better

Interested in affordable weight loss? Interested in an exciting vacation? A yes to either of these questions suggests you might be interested in a health vacation to Thailand for low cost gastric bypass surgery.

In addition to the aesthetic value of a renewed, slimmer figure, the weight loss achieved from the procedure can extend and ultimately save lives. From diseases to disorders, obesity ranges from harmful to deadly. Going abroad for a trimmer slimmer body might actually make you a healthier and happier person. Just be sure to check with your doctor’s credentials of course. And make sure you shop around for a facility that offers a price you can afford.

Costs and Affordability

Some medical tourism facilities report 60-70% discounts on the costs of gastric bypass surgery for travelers who go abroad. And according to Cosmetic Surgery Travel, patients may be eligible for partial reimbursement from their insurance providers.

Thai Hospitals Allow Health Vacationers to Lose Weight, Extend Life

Hospitals like Laparoscopic Bariatric Specialists International are among Bangkok, Thailand’s premier centers for gastric bypass surgery. There, surgeons routinely perform complex procedures and are efficient and effective. Health vacationers seeking to lose weight quickly learn that the procedure can also help extend their lives. Obesity can lead to heart failure, sleep apnea, diabetes, and several respiratory disorders. Reducing the exceptional weight eases the burden on just about every system in the body, including the reproductive system. According to Healthbase, “bariatric surgery enhances fertility in those who have had difficulty in conceiving.”

Does Cost Reductions of Gastric Bypass Surgery Abroad Negate the Risks?

With any surgery, the more complex the procedure, the greater the risk becomes that something may go awry. Couple the fear of something going wrong while you’re in surgery with the distance from home, and any surgery abroad can become quite intimidating. There is always a risk of malpractice and negligence. Understanding these concerns, however, can help you mitigate that risk.

Build a Dental Bridge to India!

Inci “DENTAL” Cosmetic Surgery in India!

India the land of Yoga, Ashrams, and oriental mysticism is now promising stylish smiles, spanking new crowns, beautiful dental bridges, and implants for an ever-increasing number of people from foreign shores. That’s right; medical tourism to India now includes dental cosmetic surgery.

Why Do I Need Dental Bridges?

In our image-conscious, MTV world, smiles count for a lot. People will often make their first impression based on your face and your smile. So if you want to close those picket-fence gaps in your grin, dental bridges could be the perfect solution. Dental bridges appear natural, requiring about 3 treatment visits of 45 minutes each, and they usually last for 10 years.

Is the Cost of Dental Bridges Worth It?

Thanks to the growing field of dental cosmetic surgery in India, medical tourists now have access to countless experienced dentists, high-tech facilities, and multispecialty centers to fulfill their dreams of a “Hollywoodian smile.” But unlike dental work in Hollywood, the cost of dental bridges in India won’t break the bank. Depending on the quality you choose, the cost of a dental bridge comes to about $70 per tooth.

Medical Tourism to India at a Fraction of the Cost?

By choosing to receive dental and cosmetic treatment in India, you can meet your healthcare needs, set aside the cost of high insurance premiums, and get access to top quality service at affordable prices. What’s more, you can combine that trip to the dentist (which most people dislike) with a relaxing vacation in a new country (which most people enjoy). Countless people have already taken the plunge, and it is very likely that the number of medical tourists to India will only increase as the word gets out.

Britons Sink Their Teeth into Medical Vacations

Britons Seek Dental Tourism Help Online

UK newspapers report that traffic from Britons researching overseas dental treatments on dental tourism help site RevaHealth.com has increased 53% in the last year. Scotland on Sunday reporter Emma Lunn says that the number of Britons going abroad for a dental or medical vacation “is soaring” because “they are regularly saving thousands of pounds.” Using the site’s dental savings calculator, users found that traveling abroad for a medical vacation saved them an average of £3,745, or 63%. “Most people searching on the site want dental implants, dental veneers, or teeth whitening, and the most popular destinations are Hungary and Poland,” writes Lunn.

Cutting the Cost of Dental Veneers and Other Cosmetic Procedures

Revahealth.com says Hungary is a popular search on its site among Britons looking to cut the cost of dental veneers or teeth whitening. The site reports that Hungary is “one of the top dental destinations in the world, particularly if you are looking for a cosmetic dentist,” citing that dental tourists on medical vacations spent over 600 million euro in 2006 on dental procedures in the scenic country. This trend is far from new, however, as a million dental tourists a year from Austria alone have been crossing the border for quite some time. The reasons for all the tourist traffic include low prices and quality care. “Hungarian dentists are some of the most highly trained and qualified in Europe,” reports Revahealth.com, “and thanks to low labor and laboratory costs, they are also among some of the most price-competitive.”

One Journalist’s Medical Vacation

Sandra Lawrence, a writer for the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, reported on her dental tourism experience in a recent issue. After her dentist announced she needed a dental implant and told her the price, she was shocked. “£2,900?” she told her UK dentist, “I could have a holiday for that!” After researching dental tourism packages, she decided on Budapest and packed her bags. Lawrence says she saved £1,000 with a medical vacation in Hungary and is happy with the results of her procedure.

Britons Flock to France for Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Long Waits Drive Patients to France

The UK’s Evening Star newspaper is reporting that a new survey by a health vacation provider found that nearly 70,000 Britons will travel abroad for medical care this year (2007). Escaping long waits for procedures, people from the UK are traveling as far a field as the Philippines or as close as France to cut the cost of everything from total knee replacement surgery to laser teeth whitening. As more and more Britons take health vacations, the population becomes bettered educated about medical tourism and how this new phenomenon can save both time and money. The survey predicts that “200,000 health tourists will go abroad for major surgery” by 2010.

Health Vacations across the Channel

A popular destination for those seeking knee or hip surgery is just across the Channel. Paul Smith, a consultant at a health vacation provider, told the UK’s Telegraph newspaper that “people want to go to France because they are often in too much pain to wait the six months it takes to see a consultant and have surgery in Britain.” The newspaper notes that French surgeons “specialize in minimally invasive knee surgery that is not routinely available” in many hospitals in the UK. Saving money is another factor motivating Britons to travel. The cost of total knee replacement surgery in the UK can cost £12,500, while the price is £7,000 in France.

Dispelling Myths about Medical Tourism

Vicky Bingham, 64, of Sudbourne in the UK, told the Evening Star about her health vacation experience. She reports that she had planned to receive knee surgery in the UK, but was faced with an eight month wait and a price tag of £12-14,000. “I had to do something as I was in such pain I could hardly move,” she says. Bingham chose The Clinique Sainte Isabelle in Abbeville, northern France, for her procedure, and reports that it cost significantly less than what it would have been at home. For her, the experience dispelled any lingering myths about medical tourism and she will return soon for hip surgery. “Having been once already, I know the nursing care if perfect, the wards are clean and I’ll get a great service.”

Buttocks Augmentation in Brazil: Cosmetic Surgery’s Newest Medical Tourism Highlight

Buttocks Augmentation in Brazil: Cosmetic Surgery’s Newest Medical Tourism Highlight

Singers, dancers, and actresses of today have turned the “behind” into a desirable asset, and those who aren’t blessed by genes are more than wiling to turn to surgeons to give themselves a “lift.” But, the dramatic costs of health care in the United States make it difficult to justify cosmetic surgeries, from face lifts to buttocks augmentation. The costs of such procedures are essentially impossible for most Americans to afford. Yet, with the buttocks being one of the most difficult areas of the body to tone or “round out,” not to mention one of the more noticeable personal features, more and more people are beginning to look into buttocks augmentation abroad. Depending on whether the surgery is a lift, fat transference, or implant insertion, the procedure may cost around $4,000 in the US, but it could be more than $1,000 cheaper abroad.

Brazilian “Butt Lifts” Create Medical Tourism Draw

Patients who travel to Brazil for gluteoplasty, affectionately known as the “Brazilian Butt Lift,” may find that they prefer this alternative to implants and Botox injections. The “butt lift” is the gluteal version of the increasingly popular and more familiar breast lift. According to the Plastic Surgery Portal, the risks of this type of buttocks augmentation are minimal with healing times of 1-2 months. During this cosmetic surgery procedure, fat is removed from the buttocks, cleaned, and strategically replaced and packed to produce a rounder, firmer rear. Though the procedure typically draws women, men, too seek this kind of enhancement. The end result of the butt lift is a sensually appealing figure. Although the cost of either type of buttocks augmentation can be expensive, when they’re combined with medical tourism, the result translates into money well spent.

Blocking Health Tourism to Britain is Causing Congestion

Medical Vacations: a Poor Holiday Choice

Many people book medical vacations because the medical procedure that they want or need is not available to them in their own country. However, those traveling to Britain for medical tourism have found themselves without access to medical procedures; for example, a pregnant woman was forced to sleep in a phone box because she had nowhere to go. In addition, those on medical vacations are overcrowding their accommodations and risking disease, and those who regard health tourism as a final option are being refused treatment for HIV and cancer.

Putting a Stop to Health Tourism

In 2004, ministers in Britain introduced new rules to prevent health tourism, and to dissuade patients who travel to the UK for free NHS care. Failed asylum seekers are also denied health care and will only receive treatment if it is deemed “immediately necessary.” Several pregnant women who flew to the UK to seek asylum or medical tourism treatment were told officially that maternity care is free, yet they continue to receive bills for their pre-natal expenses and are threatened with court action for non-payment.

A survey of hospitals in the Yorkshire region has shown that they treat very few foreign patients, regardless of whether they are asylum seekers, visiting family, or have traveled specifically for medical tourism.

A Chance at Health Care through Medical Tourism

These patients have traveled from their own country for necessary medical procedures and if they are now refused treatment, there could be significant health implications for the wider British community one exposure and infection become rampant.

Foreign patients admitted in areas around Sheffield and Leeds are often seeking life-saving medical procedures, ranging from asthma treatments to head injuries. Those patients who are clearly suffering from an injury will be treated, but those with existing conditions, such as foreigners on medical vacations, are being denied their chance for health care.
Source: Mike Waites, “Britain’s Asylum System Shamed”, Yorkshire Post, January 20

Best Indian Health Vacations at Kerala

The Indian Medical Tourism Industry

Medical tourism in India has gained immense popularity on foreign shores over the past few years, with Indian health vacations luring travellers by offering affordable healthcare and personalized service. The southern state of Kerala is striving to create the kind of infrastructure that it needs to rank among the most favoured medical tourism destinations in the world by 2010. The government plans to implement a module called “Vision 2010” to raise the potential for medical tourism in India. Addressing the media on Indian medical tourism, Kerala Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan announced that the state planned to welcome 100,000 visitors per year by 2010.

Medical Tourism in India: Scaling New Heights

Indian medical tourism is set to achieve newer breakthroughs. Realizing the potential for medical tourism in India, the government has appointed the ICRA to study the scope for growth and opportunities in the sector. Countries like Singapore, Thailand, South Africa, Argentina, and Hungary are already leaders in medical tourism. Indian health vacations have to equal if not better the facilities offered in these countries in order to become a force to reckon with in the industry.
One major factor affecting Indian medical tourism is the lack of accreditation and standardisation of hospitals and clinics. To rectify this, the government of India, especially in Kerala, is working with the National Accreditation Board. The Kerala Tourism Minister is working to upgrade all hospitals in Kerala to international standards to attract more medical tourists. “The government would also initiate vigorous campaigns to portray the medical tourism potential in other countries”, Balakrishnan stated. The Kerala government is showcasing the medical tourism potential of the state by organizing innovative road shows in countries like the United Kingdom, United States, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.

Beauty Price Tag in the Form of Medical Tourism

Brow Lift Surgery in Tunisia

They say that you can’t put a price on beauty. But how about comfort? In the United States, for example, the cost of brow lift surgery can exceed $2,800. The cost of the same brow lift surgery in Tunisia is roughly the same; give or take a hundred dollars. So which do you choose? Both will help patients to restore their youthful appearance by tightening the frown lines above the eyes in the brow area. However, a Stateside procedure requires that you travel to the hospital, receive the procedure, and hide out in your home for days or weeks as your face heals from the bruising and scaring. A Tunisian procedure follows the same basic steps with some fairly important differences. You can open the curtains in your luxurious hotel room to gaze at incredible views and enjoy five star personal attention and free transportation to and from the hospital/hotel. You recover in relative anonymity as you shop, tour, and see the sights. Again, which do you choose?

Intangible Costs of Brow Lift Surgery

Health and Medical Tourism describes the potential side effects and complications of brow lifts as rare, although they do happen. Injury to the nerves that control eyebrow movement, scarring, loss of hair or numbness, infection, and bleeding are some of the potential, but unlikely risks patients may experience. Recovery varies from person to person, but on average, after 10 days, patients can resume most normal activities. Bear in mind that with medical tourism, patients have more luxury to relax before returning to life’s hustle and bustle. You’re not gonna look pretty for awhile, so being abroad brings certain intangible benefits.

Next Step: Plastic Surgery Financing

So you’ve decided to go for it. You’ve have all of your questions answered, and you’re ready to take the plunge. Now what? You pay for it; either out of pocket or through plastic surgery financing (a popular option for most). For although medical tourism is still more affordable than domestic care in certain cases (up to 70% savings in a place like Tunisia), it still requires money. A company like the Go Sculptura Group offers plastic surgery financing options with responses in roughly 30 minutes. Their packages, like many other companies’, cover hotel costs, meals, and transportation to and from the hotel and medical facility; at the time of this writing, they do not include airfare or shopping expenses. However, there are countless medical tourism brokers that can and do offer comparable deals worth exploring.

If you’re somewhat more independent (you don’t like packaged deals), you can also arrange to receive insurance or financing on your own. However this option involves a lot more research, and in most cases, you won’t have too much luck for elective procedures. But anything is worth a try, right? After all, beauty has no price.

Beautiful in Brazil with Medical Tourism

Plastic Surgery Shapes Up Brazil

Surf the internet for plastic surgery options and chances are, Brazil will top the list. Rock-bottom prices for all kinds of plastic surgery procedures (including low cost for face lifts, liposuction, and Botox) make Brazil the destination of choice for the beauty conscious and medical tourist alike. And it is not only the foreigners who flock to Brazil for a bit of plastic surgery, Miss Brazil 2001 admitted to having had about 23 cosmetic procedures.

In a country inhabited by beautiful people, Miss Brazil is not the only one who wants to look slimmer, sexier, and younger. Vanessa Nunes, 32, wasn’t happy with the way she looked, so she opted for a bit of plastic surgery. “I was looking like a girl, I was feeling like a girl, and now, right after leaving the clinic I felt different already,” says Nunes. “Something like, ‘OK people are looking now.’ I like it.” Plastic surgery brought her a type of attention and satisfaction that normal exercise and dieting never could.

Comparative Cost of Face Lift Surgery

The biggest attraction of Brazilian medical tourism is the low costs. The cost of face lift surgery including surgeon and hospital fees, meals, tests, anesthesia, implants (if required), all kinds of consultations, transfers from the airport to the hospital, medication, local mobile phone use and an English speaking personal assistant comes to about US$ 2000. When compared to North America or Europe, these costs are about 50% or even 33% of what you might have to pay back home. Though countries like India and Thailand might offer better rates, if it is beauty enhancement one is looking for, it is best to head for a country where beauty touches every facet of life, work, and play.