August 7th, 2011
Author: Guest Writer
By: Kathelyn Hauptman
Those unfamiliar with medical tourism may wonder why a person might travel across the world for elective medical procedures performed by some unknown doctor at a hospital whose name they may not even be able to articulate. The bottom line is money. Plastic surgery prices in the U.S. are cost prohibitive and steadily getting higher. People who would like to have elective surgery but cannot afford to pay the steep prices required by U.S. surgeons will often find names of doctors in a plastic surgery guide that lists foreign doctors who perform surgeries ranging from facelifts to liposuction. Travel expenses and international care, in most cases, turns out to cost less than paying insurance premiums, co-payments, deductibles, accounting for exclusions, caps and out-of-pocket expenses.
Medical tourism actually dates back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Japanese. However, modern medical tourism began as plastic surgery prices began to rise and Thailand and India started to simultaneously emerge as legitimate medical destinations. Today, Mexico and Costa Rica are listed in the main plastic surgery guide as premiere medical destinations, offering plastic surgery costs that are a fraction of those charged in the U.S.
Brazil, Tunisia, Thailand, Korea and India offer popular procedures such as liposuction and facelifts for sometimes less than half the cost of the same surgeries in the United States. For example, Dr. Manuel Gutierrez Romero, a surgeon in Mexico City, offers facelifts for up to 70% less than prices one would pay in America. Not counting hotel accommodations and transportation, one can expect to spend as little as $1000 for these procedures by a board certified surgeon.
Considerations for surgery abroad should include the cost recovery accommodations and the duration of the trip. It takes longer to undergo surgery in another country, so how much time allowed off work is a realistic thing to consider. The costs of transportation are another. While some surgery centres offer ground transportation to and from the airport, not all of them do. It is advisable to take a companion along to help after the surgery, and this can add a substantial amount to the costs as well