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How Medical Tourism Spread

Medical tourism is now more popular than ever, with over 50 countries named as a hot destination and thousands of tourists flocking new places to visit and get treated. The concept is actually not a new one, since people from the ancient times used to move out of their place of origin to visit well-known healers and places in other countries. Today, you can get the advantages of getting the best medical help, plus a vacation to boot.

About the Concept

The first documented occasion of medical tourism was thousands of years ago when Greek pilgrims moved all throughout the Mediterranean towards Epidauria, a minor territory in the Saronic Gulf. The place was considered as the home of Asklepios, the god of healing. Epidauria was visited by thousands of people each year, for cases like fever, bone problems, heart ailments, skin disease and many more. It was the first travel destination of medical tourism.

Over the years, sanitariums and spa towns were also built and became the early types of medical tourism. Patients visited the spa towns during the 1700s to get mineral water that is believed to boost health and treat problems like bronchitis, gout and liver conditions.

Becoming Popular

Several factors triggered the vast popularity of medical tourism. Primarily the increasing cost of health care had people asking if there were other places where they can receive the same kind of treatment without the huge expense. The next was the very long waiting periods and several requirements before they can be treated or even diagnosed. Modern medical tourism destinations provide patients only a fraction of the cost they expect to pay at their local hospital.

They can also enjoy other state-of-the-art and quality accommodations, and get their dream vacation at the same time. Some destinations are known for treating patients like royalty, so everything will be taken care of. You will be provided with a complete schedule of activities, so you do not waste your time waiting in line or running everywhere to get the needed documents for the procedure.

More Reasons

Medical tourism continued to spread as the cost of international travel became much cheaper. The technology and care standards in several countries, especially in Asia have improved significantly in the past decade, making the institutions highly competitive against the best in the United States. Medical tourists usually come from the United States, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, because individuals from these places usually have more money to spend when visiting third world countries.

Medical tourism is expected to grow ten times more from 2007 to 2017. In the United States alone, over 750,000 people traveled abroad to get treated in 2007. Experts calculated 1.5 million Americans traveling in 2008 to get treatment abroad. The United Kingdom currently advertises more about medical tourism compared to the United States. Canadians preferred the very fast medical waiting period in other destinations. Some procedures are even more convenient when done outside the United States or Europe.


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Getting Cosmetic Surgery Abroad

Cosmetic surgery is one of the biggest branches of medical tourism. Thousands of individuals flock to various countries all over the world each year to get treatments such as liposuction, face lifts, eye surgery, wart removal and many more. Cosmetic surgery in Asia is especially cheaper compared to the States. You also get to have world class accommodations and get to see new sights for a totally enjoyable vacation.

The Growth of Cosmetic Surgery

In the past decade, the number of people going for cosmetic surgery has significantly grown. With the start of medical tourism, even more individuals are going under the knife because of cheaper costs and the availability of modern equipment and technology to perform the different operations. In the past, only first world countries were capable of doing operations because of state-of-the-art tools and well-experienced surgeons.

Some countries like Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines are now widely known for their modern equipment and facilities. The doctors are also well-trained and already have a wide expertise on various cosmetic procedures. A number of medical institutions in these places now boast of having accreditation from the JCI. You can also get advantages in terms of airfare cost, transportation and hotel bookings.

Tips for Tourists

Tourists are advised to pick cosmetic clinics in country located near your place of origin. However, the availability and convenience of modern air travel has allowed people from the west to easily go halfway around the world and return in less than 10 days. American patients may travel south to Brazil, Mexico and Costa Rica, while others will go as far as the Asia Pacific or the Mediterranean to get treatment. Some of the other popular places for cosmetic surgery include Turkey, Malta, India, China and New Zealand.

Patients should plan and prepare for their travel carefully. The waiting list is significantly shorter in Asia, so you can expect to have the procedure a day or two after you arrive. You can also gain advantage of medical tourism packages wherein you get transportation to and from your hotel, meal bookings and tours around the city before and after your operation. You can talk to your travel agent to prepare a top quality hotel for your stay.

Staying Safe

Medical tourists are advised to stay a few days more after the cosmetic procedure to avoid any complications and ensure that they are truly recovered and stable before traveling back to the States. You should research a bit about the different laws and consumer protection regulations in the country you are visiting. Determine whether or not your current insurance policy will cover your case even if you are getting treatment overseas.

Go online and learn more about your cosmetic surgery. Talk to other patients who have undergone the same procedure and ask them about the different pros and cons of traveling abroad. You can minimize the risks and complications by staying prepared for these particular factors. You should also talk to your local doctor and the surgeon who will do your operation for maximum benefits.


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