Travel

Weighing up the Costs of Medical Tourism

There are some destinations in specific corners of the world which have turned to the medical field as a means through which to boost their tourism numbers, whether by design or as a result of just piggy-backing off the growing trend of more tourists flocking to their shores to take advantage of cheaper costs for medical procedures which are otherwise quite expensive back home. For example, a little less known hot spot for medical tourism is that of Brazil, with specific reference to orthodontics.

I mean I don’t personally ever recall seeing a travel brochure highlighting orthodontics as a reason to visit Brazil, so to be fair I guess Brazil doesn’t market itself as a destination for that particular branch of medical tourism or for any medical tourism at all, however if you actually visited the South American country you’d notice that something like 2/3 people wear braces, which means that such orthodontic services are much cheaper than they are in a place like the United States, for example.

Sticking with Brazil – it’s perhaps long since become common knowledge that cosmetic surgery is quite big in that part of the world, more in the realms of bodily enhancements such as buttock implants and breast implants, so one would assume that the high prevalence of such would suggest that that’s also cheaper in that part of the world. So Brazil is definitely a destination for medical tourism, albeit one which doesn’t necessarily market itself as one, if at all.

Other more directly-stated destinations for medial tourism would include the likes of Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia and even Thailand and the Philippines, while Eastern Europe’s Romania and the likes specifically market themselves as medical tourism destinations, emphasising cosmetic procedures.

For some travellers located in places like Europe I suppose medical tourism works out reasonably by way of the associated costs in that flights are relatively cheap and perhaps all the way cheap if you fly with budget airlines, but for someone who might be based as far west as the United States then the costs of travelling halfway around the world might negate the suggested savings one would otherwise amass travelling for medical and cosmetic medical purposes.

If you get your plastic surgery done within close proximity of your home base for example, while that might cost more than what the same procedure would cost elsewhere, there are some other associated costs which you’d need to factor in, one of which is the mentioned air fare. When you really start to drill into the costs you realise that it might be a lot more expensive to get the procedure done halfway across the world since you have to think about considerations such as multiple consultations prior to the procedure itself in addition to the many follow-up consultations you’ll inevitably have to have once the procedure has been completed.

You’d naturally want to see the same surgeon who completed the main procedure for follow-up appointments, so the costs associated with those as well need to be considered.