What is medical tourism and whether it is worth using it
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What is medical tourism and is it worth it?

The term medical tourism refers to people travelling abroad for medical treatment. Until recently, people from underdeveloped countries who had difficulty getting surgeries in their own country opted for medical tourism. Today, this trend is changing. People from highly developed countries are also opting for medical tourism. They travel to emerging countries to benefit from more affordable medical surgeries and treatments. They are also motivated to travel by the fact that medical services are sometimes not licensed in their home country, but are available in medical centres abroad.

Medical tourism is most often used for plastic surgery procedures or similar procedures such as hair transplants. However, it is worth noting that we go abroad not only to beautify ourselves. In some cases, health tourism is chosen by people with rare diseases who travel to countries where the treatment of the condition is better understood, the standards are higher or experimental therapies and drugs are available.

Why is medical tourism popular?

Medical tourism is not new. The first time the ancient Greeks travelled from the eastern Mediterranean to Epidauros, where the sanctuary of the healing god Asklepios was located. However, this branch of tourism did not develop until the 17th century, when wealthy Europeans began visiting spas with mineral waters.

Today, however, the popularity of health-oriented trips is due to other motivations. The most important reasons for medical tourism are:

  • Reducing the high cost of healthcare and surgeries in the home country,
  • Long waiting times for some operations,
  • Lack of specialists in the country of residence,
  • Ease and affordability of international travel,
  • Famous and highly specialized surgeons
  • Latest equipment and higher medical standards

It should be mentioned that in different countries the motivations for health-oriented trips will vary. Americans opt for them primarily because of the prices. The British, on the other hand, want to avoid long waiting times for treatment.  In Poland, medical tourism is mainly chosen by people who want to save on treatments. It is enough to become acquainted with offers of foreign facilities to find out that a breast, nose or hair transplant costs much less than in domestic centres. What is more, by choosing reputable clinics, you can count on much better care of high-quality specialists.

When is it worth travelling abroad for treatment?

The data shows that people with oncological, cancerous, cardiovascular and genetic diseases most often decide to receive treatment abroad. Equally popular is reaching for the offers of foreign clinics operating in the fields of aesthetic medicine, plastic surgery and dentistry.

Operation abroad – where to go?

Popular medical travel destinations include Canada, Cuba, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Israel, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the United States. Patients also like to travel to Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Ukraine. These countries are most often chosen by patients who decide to undergo plastic surgery. Europeans, due to the distance, rarely choose to travel to Asian or South American countries, more often opting for surgeries in Turkey or Ukraine. Reaching these countries is easier and faster, and at the same time they choose clinics with extensive experience and world-class specialists.

Is medical tourism safe?

The most controversial issue is the safety of medical tourism. It has had a bad press for many years. It was associated with illegal operations in Mexico or Thailand. Today, the standard of medical tourism is much higher. This is possible because clinics offering plastic surgery, aesthetic medicine or medical treatment are certified with international healthcare accreditations. Accreditation certifies the level of quality of healthcare providers and care. There are currently many accreditation systems worldwide, the most prestigious of which is JCI (Joint Commission International).

If you want to ensure your safety during treatments, it is worth choosing only certified clinics. This is confirmed by their experience and high standards. You can also entrust the organization of the trip to specialized companies such as Meditravel. Thanks to this, you are covered by comprehensive care, which includes not only the indication of the clinic and organization of treatments, but also initial consultations, selection of the type of treatment, transfer to the clinic (flights and transfers in the destination country), a personal caretaker during the stay abroad, hotel, post-operation care, etc. Thanks to this you have a guarantee that the whole trip will be organised from A to Z, and you will be taken care of by a high-quality specialist with experience.

How much does a hair transplant cost abroad?

One of the main motivations for using medical tourism is financial. In developed countries, the prices of treatments are extremely high. As a result, many patients cannot afford certain procedures. Their costs in countries such as Turkey, Ukraine and the Czech Republic, and even Hungary, are much lower. How much do the different procedures cost exactly? You can check it on meditravel.com. The cost of an operation depends on its type, its extent, the country in which it is to be performed and if additional services such as a narrator or special assistance are ordered. There are still no precise studies showing how much a Polish patient can save by choosing dental treatment in Ukraine or breast plastic surgery in the Czech Republic. However, we can refer to American studies that show the scale of savings. They indicate that an American who goes to India will pay 65-90% less, to Thailand 50-70% less and to Turkey 50-65% less.

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