While plastic surgery remains popular among patients in the United States, there are times when they search the globe to try and find a better price or vacation destination to have their desired treatment. Medical tourism refers to the act of traveling to another country in order to have a medical procedure. Even though plastic surgery is not the only reason patients want to leave the United States for a medical treatment, it is one of the most popular reasons. These patients are looking for a price they can afford and the opportunity to travel for the procedure. Before we take a look at the items patients need to know about medical tourism (risks, benefits, travel, etc.), let’s take a look at some of the facts to keep in mind when planning a medical tourism trip to a destination such as Mexico, Turkey, India, Thailand, and the Dominican Republic.
Benefits of Medical Tourism for Patients
It is important to remember that medical tourism does not include having an unexpected surgical procedure due to an injury or sudden illness while out of the country. Some of the reasons patients want to leave the country for plastic surgery include:
- Patients enjoy the opportunity to get a desired procedure like liposuction, rhinoplasty, breast augmentation, or a facelift at a lower price. These lower prices in other countries are related to the high cost of medication and diagnostic testing in the United States and the generally lower costs overseas for hospital stays and medical facility fees.
- Some immigrants to the United States are more comfortable having a medical treatment in their country of origin so there is not a language barrier to overcome.
- Many people that have plastic surgery want to hide that fact from family and friends. Patients travel out of the country (usually with one person to help them during the recovery process) so they can have the desired treatment out of view of others thanks to the extra layer of privacy.
- There is an element of luxury to medical tourism as many countries offer spa-like facilities at their hospitals. These luxury surroundings allow patients to be pampered during their stay and even enjoy private nursing care in some medical facilities.
- Some patients schedule extra days off before or after the procedure so they can take the time to enjoy the sights and have some vacation time in addition to undergoing a medical procedure.
Risks of Medical Tourism for Patients
In addition to the benefits described above, there are also some risks to keep in mind when it comes to medical tourism:
- No matter which country is the medical tourism destination, there is always the need to make sure the surgeon is professionally trained and experienced in performing the procedure of choice. Before agreeing to have plastic surgery, be sure and check the credentials of the surgeon (where the person studied and trained along with their medical specialties).
- It is helpful to research the accreditations and certifications of the hospital where the treatment will take place to make sure it (at least) maintains a basic level of quality. Proper research can provide information about the actual facility and the healthcare system of the country where the procedure is scheduled to take place.
- There is often a difference between public and private hospitals in many countries which means patients will want to look for facilities that are internationally accredited as providing quality care and prioritizing patient safety.There can be risks involved in flying home after the surgery such as the development of complications such as blood clots. Try to avoid having to fly home immediately after the surgery. If this is necessary, make plans to walk up and down the aisle of the plane to improve the blood flow in the legs. Ask the surgeon about wearing compression socks on the flight home.
- Plan in advance for any potential language barriers in case English is not the primary language of the destination country. It is important for patients to make sure they can effectively communicate their needs and desired results to the surgeon and staff at the medial facility. Some ideal solutions include hiring a translator or downloading a translation app to help in communicating any potential needs.
Medical Tourism – Talk to a Doctor Before Leaving the Country
Anyone who is considering going out of the country for a medical procedure needs to discuss both the risks and benefits with their regular doctor. Plus, patients need to make sure they have properly budgeted for the trip to avoid financial surprises such as unexpected emergencies or events along the way.
Medical tourism can provide ideal results when it comes to the desired changes to the appearance of the body. As long as patients perform proper research about the surgeon and medical facilities, there is a good chance the trip will result in the final results they want to enjoy to the targeted area of the body.