The development of medical tourism has meant that people looking to receive affordable and quality healthcare are able to do so by travelling to another part of the world. Health tourism is estimated to be worth approximately $40 billion and this figure is only set to increase with travel becoming more accessible and the range of procedures being offered increasing in number due to technological advancements. If you are looking to undergo cosmetic surgery or require other forms of medical intervention, it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of leaning towards medical tourism before choosing it as the optimum solution for you.

Advantages of medical tourism

  • The factor of cost is among the significant advantage of medical tourism, particularly when a patient is faced with paying huge costs for treatment in their home country. For example, the breast enlargement cost in Turkey is significantly lower than here in the UK, which adds to the appeal of having cosmetic surgery abroad.
  • A ‘medical vacation’ not only means that patients are able to receive the care and attention they need but also allows them the opportunity to explore a new destination as an additional bonus.
  • Medical tourism is a way in which patients in need of medical attention are able to bypass lengthy waiting times in favour of being seen to quickly and with minimal complications or interruptions. It can often serve as a great alternative to domestic hospitals.
  • Some people may worry that the attention they receive abroad will be of a lesser quality than it would be at home, but this is being increasingly proven to not be the case. There are over 600 JCI accredited medical centres around the world and they are able to offer very high standards of care, rivalling those in Western countries. A Joint Commission International accredited medical facility is one which continuously works to improve the standard of healthcare internationally.

Disadvantages of medical tourism

  • Something to be mindful of when considering travelling overseas for medical attention is the fact that there may be some permits or other legal paperwork that needs to be attended to first. Being aware of the legalities of travelling to a different country will ensure that your care is not undermined.
  • As when dealing with any form of travel, something than can act as a barrier is the language and cultural barriers that one may experience as a result of being in a new place. This can make some people nervous and thus make medical tourism an off-putting option.
  • There have been instances in the past that have made people feel unsure about receiving medical attention elsewhere – from receiving insufficient treatment to incurring additional and unforeseen costs after agreeing to a particular sum of money.

Weighing up your options

In order to reap the rewards of medical tourism, it is first important that one does not fall into the trap of having preconceived ideas about what the place you are travelling to will be like based on media and other overheard stories. Each experience will be different for different people, so be sure to get in touch with accredited companies and healthcare companies who will be able to help you form a conclusion that best suits your specific needs. Take the time to conduct some thorough research into your particular medical area so that you are as informed as possible about what your treatment will entail.