How to Decide if Medical Tourism Is The Right Choice For You
When you think about it, medical tourism has been around for centuries; people would travel to ‘take in the air’ at a seaside resort or Roman baths to help restore their good health, without any real scientific understanding of the benefits. Yet, the recent surge of medical tourism tends to focus on non-essential or elective cosmetic medical procedures, such as a hair transplant in Turkey. Interestingly, medical tourism is expected to grow 21.4% between the years of 2017 and 2023. But there are questions to consider while deciding if Medical Tourism is right for you.
There are obvious benefits to travelling abroad to undergo a medical procedure, including possibly saving money and the prospect of seeing a brand new place or a culture you would otherwise not have considered experiencing. However, there are considerations to think about. Below are our recommendations to consider while trying to decide if medical tourism is the right choice for you.
The Quality Of Equipment And Care Around The World
Globalization means we have bridged the information gap with access to resources and information across the globe. This means that countries with emerging economies often have the same standard of equipment, education, care, and diligence, but are able to offer high-quality medical procedures at a much lower cost, ultimately making medicine (or cosmetic changes) more attainable for the everyday customer, rather than limiting it to the elite. Many physicians have been trained in well-known major medical centers, and hold medical accreditations for their specialty. It is always important to check to medical credentials for both the facility and doctor you are considering.
Interestingly, different countries or regions are beginning to carve out a ‘reputation’ for specialized surgeries. The world is now a hospital, where you go to different countries or continents like you would go to a different department. Specializations at the moment are fuelled and developed because of affordable pricing driving the quality of the overall procedures.
Do You Really Get To Experience The Place You Are Visiting?
Here at Wicked Good Travel Tips, you know we are all about discovering new places, experiences and cultures to enjoy and explore. This is one of the reasons medical tourism is so popular with so many people, especially those savvy folks who are booking their procedure with a clinic or service that provides package deals. In these deals you could pay a very affordable price for flights, pre-selected and certified accommodation, transfers and the desired procedure. This sounds like a great deal, especially if you are looking to travel to a country that you would find it hard to navigate around on your own or don’t know where to start when it comes to booking your own accommodations and transfers.
However, you do need to stop and think about it carefully. Let’s take the example of hair transplants. The procedure is only a day or a single session procedure, which is the same for most cosmetic procedures. Once complete, the clinic personnel will take you back to the hotel or luxury hospital, which sounds great and relaxing, but you will still be on painkillers. Inevitably you will be subject to a recuperation period, the length of which will depend on the severity of the surgery. For hair transplants, for instance, it might only be a day or so, but after this initial recuperation, you cannot be exposed to direct sunlight for two weeks. You cannot get your hair wet and you also cannot sweat, so using the spa, sauna or gym is definitely not going to happen. Suddenly, your holiday may seem a bit boring. The low-cost package is also very unlikely to offer you to stay in the hotel beyond the time that is absolutely necessary.
You could always extend your trip on either side of your procedure, but this will, of course, add to your costs. You should be aware that planning activities or excursions after your surgery might simply be unfeasible and affect your health. If you are looking forward to exploring the wonderful country you are visiting for your procedure, we recommend booking your own flights, and plan sightseeing time before the surgery date.
Follow Up Appointments
Aftercare appointments could also present an issue, but they might actually be the answer to your medical tourism wanderlust, too! It will be worth investigating whether you need follow up appointments with surgeons or doctors, and if this has to be done in-country, or it’s possible to do this remotely or where you live.
If checkups have to be done in person, or perhaps follow-up surgeries to manage scar tissue etc., could provide medical tourists with the opportunity to explore the country they have visited before. You are likely to be healed enough to enjoy all that area has to offer!