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Medical tourism (also called medical travel, health tourism or global
healthcare) is a term initially coined by travel agencies and the mass
media to describe the rapidly growing practice of traveling across
international borders to obtain health care.
Such services typically include elective procedures as well as complex
specialized surgeries such as joint replacement knee or hip, cardiac
surgery, dental surgery and cosmetic surgeries However, virtually
every type of health care, including psychiatry, alternative
treatments, convalescent care and even burial services are available.
As a practical matter, providers and customers commonly use
informal channels of communication-connection-contract, and in such
cases this tends to mean less regulatory or legal oversight to assure
quality and less formal recourse to reimbursement or redress, if
Over 50 countries have identified medical tourism as a national
industry. However, accreditation and other measures of quality vary
widely across the globe, and there are risks and ethical issues that
make this method of accessing medical care controversial. Also, some
destinations may become hazardous or even dangerous for medical
tourists to conItemplate.
Medical tourism is actually thousands of years old. In ancient Greece,
pilgrims and patients came from all over the Mediterranean to the
sanctuary of the healing god, Asklepios, at Epidaurus. In Roman
Britain, patients took the waters at a shrine at Bath, a practice that
continued for 2,000 years. From the 18th century wealthy Europeans
traveled to spas from Germany to the Nile. In the 21st century,
relatively low-cost jet travel has taken the industry beyond the
wealthy and desperate.
The concept of medical tourism is not a new one. The first recorded
instance of medical tourism dates back thousands of years to when
Greek pilgrims traveled from all over the Mediterranean to the small
territory in the Saronic Gulf called Epidauria. This territory was the
sanctuary of the healing god Asclepius. Epidauria became the original
travel destination for medical tourism.
Spa towns and sanitariums may be considered an early form of
medical tourism. In eighteenth century England, for example, patients
visited spas because they were places with supposedly health-giving
mineral water streating diseases from gout to liver disorders and
History of medical tourism in India includes all major aspects of health
tourism, as medical tourism is an ancient practice in India. In India,
medical tourism includes several health care and various complex
surgical procedures such as cardiac surgery, cosmetic surgery, hip
replacement or knee surgery and dental. In principle, the concept of
medical tourism is not something new in India. According to medical
tourism in India, medical tourism is an ancient practice of tourism on
the procedure for medical treatment and medical sites in India. As a
cosmopolitan nation, India has a rich history of ayurveda and
procedures for Ayurvedic treatment. The history of medical tourism in
India also includes former Ayurvedic treatment in India and best
destinations offer medical treatment in India.
1. Potential Savings — The driving force behind the medical tourism
market is the potential for savings. For those without insurance or
those needing operations that insurance won't cover, medical tourism
can be an affordable alternative to the skyrocketing costs of health
care. Costs for major surgeries in the United States can run into the
hundreds of thousands of dollars while the same surgery in a country
like India or Thailand can be as little as a tenth of that. The cost
differential isn’t caused by a lack of quality, but because a good
portion of health cares costs in the U.S. is tied up in administrative
and insurance costs. While there is a risk involved with not having a
firm legal recourse if something goes wrong, you can at least know
that your money is going towards your actual care rather than to
shuffle some papers around.
Shorter Waits — Even people who live in countries with public
health care coverage often choose to take their treatment abroad
because overburdened hospitals and doctors can have long wait
periods for surgeries on conditions that are not life-threatening. While
a bum knee might not be life threatening, it sure can make your life
difficult and uncomfortable, and for some waiting months to get
surgery simply isn't an option. In most countries where medical
tourism is popular, wait times are almost non-existent. Patients can
usually be scheduled for a surgery within a few days or weeks
allowing patients convenience not available at home.
4. Quality — If most people are honest, they will admit that the first
place that comes to mind when they think of world-class health care
isn't India or the Philippines Yet this is a bit of an unfair stereotype.
Many of the countries where medical tourism has become popular
have made significant investments in the industry to ensure that
patients are happy and healthy. Many doctors have been trained
abroad, and some are leaders in their fields. With careful research, it's
possible to get the same if not better treatment abroad than you
could at home.
6. Relaxing Recovery — Traveling for medical treatment gives you the
added benefit of helping yourself to a relaxing vacation while you're
in recovery. Depending on the location you choose and the type of
surgery you have, you could spend a relaxing week on the beach, a
mountain resort, or just living it up in a luxury hotel. While it isn't
advisable to party too hard after surgery, being away from home can
give you a break from the stresses of everyday life and allow you to
relax and concentrate on getting better.
8. Insurance Coverage — While it isn't a guarantee, there are some
insurance plans that will cover treatment that is performed outside of
your home country provided that it isn't an elective procedure. More
and more insurance providers are covering treatment abroad. As it
saves them in costs as well.
10. You Can Bring Friends and Family — Because of the reduced
cost of treatment abroad, if can be completely feasible to bring others
along and still spend less than you would have at home. This can help
make foreign treatment less scary, and also provide a vacation for the
whole family. Some hospitals can even provide accommodation for
relatives at less than the cost of a hotel.
12. Same Facilities and Equipment as Home — Because medical
tourism is such a big industry, hospitals are making big investments
in equipment and technology to help them draw more patients. Some
hospitals have even made names for themselves as world-class
research centers. Essentially, there is little difference between these
facilities and those at home. In fact, many top hospitals in medical
tourism destination countries are associated with a well-respected
hospital in the United States.
14. Package Deals — If you are unsure where to start when getting
medical treatment abroad, package deals can be a great time saver.
Many companies specialize in providing patients with not only their
treatment, but vacations afterwards, travel to and from the airport
and all of the accommodations needed. It can make travel much less
stressful to let someone else do all the work. The best part about
these kinds of deals is that even with all the extras, they can still be
cheaper than treatment at home.
16. Surgical Options — While the most popular options with medical
tourists are cosmetic and dental surgeries, the reality is that there is
a growing market for a wide variety of procedures including heart
surgery and orthopedic hip and knee replacements. Chances are good
that if you need a particular type of care that there will be a surgeon
specialized in it to help you out.
18. Luxury Accommodations — Many hospitals that cater to medical
tourists are corporately owned and therefore are in staunch
competition with other hospitals to draw you in to their facilities. This
can be a real boon to patients, who benefit from private rooms and
luxury accommodations that are often much nicer than they would be
able to afford at home.
20. Service — Patients can usually expect a high level of personal care
and attention from hospitals and clinics that are popular with medical
tourists. Many have very low staff to patient ratios and many pride
themselves on friendly patient relations.
22. Travel is Affordable — While fuel costs have risen in the past
few years, air travel is still an affordable and relatively convenient
way to travel. With the wide variety of websites that cater to getting
you the lowest rate on flights and hotels, the costs of traveling to a
foreign country can be nominal when compared to the savings from
not having surgery at home.
While medical tourism isn't the answer for everyone, it's easy to see
why it's become such a popular option for people all over the world.
Not only can it save you a bundle, but you'll also get the benefit of
getting surgery quickly and being able to relax and take in the sights
while you're recovering. While it's up to you to decide if it's the right
option for your care, with rising health care costs it's definitely
something to consider.
One of the most important things to remember about medical tourism
is that other countries might not regulate professional licensing and
certification as closely as the United States and Europe. While a great
majority of the doctors working in these countries will be more than
qualified it is always best to check out the credentials of any doctor
you wish to work with before ever undergoing any procedure. Many
doctors are western trained and some are even certified with U.S.
medical associations, and will be easy find out information about. You
may also be able to contact the licensing agencies of the country you
are considering to check out certifications there as well. Undergoing
surgery is always a risk, but you can help mitigate the chances of
botched procedures by checking out your doctor beforehand.
Another thing to watch out for is traveling too soon after your surgery.
Flying immediately after or within a few days of a surgery can cause
some very serious complications. The combination of high altitude
and sitting for long periods of time can cause blood clots and
pulmonary embolisms, both potentially fatal conditions. Less
seriously, you also put yourself at risk of swelling and infections. To
be safe, give yourself at least a week, if not a little more, to recover
after your treatment.
You'll also need to be vigilant in making sure you get adequate follow-
up care. Many hospitals are in the business of getting patients in and
out quickly and post-operative care can be very limited in some
cases. Getting this care once you return home can sometimes be
complicated and potentially pricey. Since you are in a country with
many diseases and bacteria that you may not have built up an
immunity to you can be especially vulnerable to infection, so you'll
need to choose a hospital that offers not only great surgical care, but
also will check up on you afterwards to ensure you're healing properly
and are healthy enough to travel home.
Finally, while part of the allure of medical tourism is the vacation it
can also be one of the risks. Drinking, spending too much time in the
sun, or just not resting enough can lead to complications with your
recovery including hematomas, scarring and infection. While you can
and should enjoy your visit, do remember to take it easy so your body
can recover.
Going abroad for surgery can be a great way to potentially save tens
of thousands of dollars but it's certainly not without its risks. You
should spend time researching and doctors and hospitals and keep
your recovery time in mind when planning your trip. Risks can be
managed if you're careful and educate yourself and can help you
make your experience a rewarding and healthy one.

Arm Lift (Brachioplasty) Surgery :-

Brachioplasty, also commonly referred to as an arm lift, is a surgical
procedure performed when there is an excessive amount of loose skin
on the upper arms. This can be attributed to aging, or in extreme
cases of weight loss, when the condition skin had previously been
stretched to such a great extent causing the condition to arise. The
only way to fix this problem of sagging skin is to perform an arm lift.

Procedure information
This operation is recommended in extreme cases only. Someone with
a small amount of sagging in the upper arm will probably not find a
brachioplasty to be suitable. Unless the procedure is urgent, it should
not be considered as a cosmetic option.

To perform this operation, an incision must be made from the armpit

all the way down to the elbow, which leaves scarring. During the
surgery, patients are put under general anesthesia or fully sedated.
The procedure usually takes 1 or 2 hours in a private clinic or a

Recovery time
After the brachioplasty operation has finished, the patient will be
considered an outpatient. No overnight stay at hospital is required.
The main problem with this surgery is the inevitable scarring. No
doctor can predict just how any one person will react and heal, with
some faring better than others.

After being discharged from hospital, you’re arm will be wrapped in a

surgical bandage that you should wear for the first few days. Once the
incision has healed, usually taking 1 week, a visit to the hospital or
clinic will be required to remove the stitches and receive further
advice from the surgeon.

Cosmetic Surgery
Technically referred to as augmentation mammoplasty, breast
augmentation is a procedure undertaken by women for various
reasons. This procedure is desirable for women who, for personal
reasons, feel their breasts are too small or wish to achieve greater
symmetry when the breasts are disproportionate in size or shape.The
surgery is also available to women who have lost volume due to
weight loss or pregnancy. A breast lift is employed when the breasts
have lost firmness or have become saggy.

Procedure information
There are choices available as far as types of implants are available.
The surgeon will help to determine the best solution based on your
anatomy, your body type and your desired result. Different implant
manufacturers often release new sizes or textures for augmentation

The implant itself contains either saline solution or elastic silicone gel.
The implant shell is a solid silicone rubber. Both varieties have been
approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, which means they
have been subjected to rigorous tests and then approved by an
independent panel of physicians.

Patients are administered with a general anesthetic before an incision

is made either around the areola, in the armpit or at the base of the
breast where the implant will be inserted.

Recovery time
After breast augmentation surgery, you can be expected to return to
work within a few days. For these first days, there will be stiffness,
soreness around the breast and you may experience fatigue. Most
women are up and about within 24 to 48 hours following the
operation. There may be a burning sensation in the first 2 weeks, but
this will fade, along with any bruising.

Your breasts will be sensitive to direct contact and stimulation for 2 or

3 weeks. Patients are advised to consult with their surgeon about
when a certain level of exercise can be resumed.

Breast Lift Surgery ;-

Known in the medical world as mastopexy, breast lift surgery is a
purely cosmetic operation designed to counter the gravitational
drooping of the breast known as ptosis. This effect usually increases
with age. Surgery therefore aims to return the breast to its original
position, a procedure which can sometimes include the use of an
implant in order to increase the size of the breast, otherwise known
as a breast augmentation.

Procedure information
Breast lifts can come in numerous shapes and means. Generally they
aim to manipulate the skin and connective tissue around the breast. A
full breast lift requires an incision following the crease underneath,
around the outside of the nipple or the areola and a final incision
connecting the two down the middle of the underside of the breast.
This allows the nipple to be raised and the cone of the full breast can
be manipulated at the sane time.

A simpler operation known as the Benelli lift, or concentric

mastopexy, involves just one incision around the areola, but results
are less dramatic given that the full breast and its shape is
manipulated to a lesser degree.

Recovery time
A full breast lift almost always requires a longer recuperation period
than modified breast lifts, mostly because of the greater number of
incisions and the fact that the breast tissue is manipulated more,
meaning that soreness and swelling is more pronounced.

Generally a patient will be able to return to an everyday routine in

less than a week following a partial lift, compared to about double
that time for a full breast lift. The latter also incurs greater scarring
than a concentric mastopexy although its long-term benefits in terms
of correcting the original ptosis are almost always greater.

Breast Reduction Surgery Abroad

Breast reduction surgery is a procedure that removes glandular tissue
and fat from the breast, making it smaller. The areola can also be
reduced in size. This surgery is available to women with extremely
large breasts, who wish to reduce the size for either cosmetic or
health reasons. Excessive weight in the breasts can lead to
respiratory problems as well as skeletal deformities and back pain.
Reduction mammoplasty is designed for women who, for whatever
reason, feel their breasts are too large and wish to have them

Procedure information
Before breast reduction surgery, you may be required by your
physician to undergo a mammogram. The surgeon will also consult
you about what to eat and what to avoid leading up to surgery.

The surgery usually takes between 2 to 4 hours and general

anesthesia is always administered to patients. The most common way
to perform the surgery is to make an anchor-shaped incision around
the nipple that extends to the crease at the bottom of the breast.
When the fat and excess tissue is removed, the skin is brought to the
middle where it is rejoined.

Except with extreme cases, the blood vessels and nerves will remain
attached to the nipple, keeping sensation and sensitivity intact.

Recovery time
After the breast reduction procedure, the affected areas are wrapped
in surgical bandages for a few days. Patients are required to wear a
surgical bra for several weeks afterwards. After 2 or 3 weeks, the
stitches can be removed.

The first menstruation after surgery may cause the patient pain as
the breasts swell. Some nipple sensitivity may be lost and random
shooting pain is normal for the first few weeks. Any strenuous
physical activity should be avoided a few weeks after the procedure.

Buttock Implant Surgery Abroad

The cosmetic procedure gluteal augmentation has been around for a
while, but has only begun to be a popular cosmetic surgery choice in
the last few years. This procedure augments the buttocks of men or
women who are unhappy with the shape. There are two options to
consider with this surgery. The first choice is to install implants to
give the buttocks their desired shape. It is also possible to use
existing body fat to round out the bottom according to the patient’s

Procedure information
When the buttocks are augmented using fat tissue, donor sites on the
patient’s body are used. Usually, the fat is taken from the hips, thighs
or the back using liposuction. The fat is then inserted into the
buttocks with a series of small incisions. This gives a more natural
look than the alternative, which is buttock implants. Patients without
fat donor sites on their body will have to use implants.
Implants are used if the patient desires a more extreme
transformation. In this case, incisions are made at the base of each
buttock and the implant is slipped in underneath the skin. With either
surgery, about 1.5 to 2 hours under general anesthesia is needed to
complete the procedure.

Recovery time
Since the buttocks is an area that takes a lot of the pressures of daily
life, healing time can be significantly longer than other forms of
cosmetic surgery. Gluteal augmentation will cause pain which can be
somewhat relieved by painkillers.

A compression garment must be worn for up to 2 weeks after surgery

and you should take extra care with your daily tasks. Some patients
can resume exercise after 2 weeks, but it’s best for the patient to
consult their surgeon with regards to resuming regular exercise.

Chemical Peel
Using a specially concocted combination of compounds, chemical
peels can take a variety of forms but generally involve the removal of
the outer layers of skin on the face so that younger, smoother layers
below are revealed. The procedure is therefore a cosmetic operation
that is also sometimes used to combat excessive acne when other,
less harsh treatments have failed. While chemical peels usually result
in smoother skin with fewer wrinkles, they also tend to lighten the
shade of the skin given that beneath layers have not been subjected
to sunlight.

Procedure information
Chemical peels come in different types, depending on the substances
used. Those available include alpha hydroxyl peels, the mildest
available, to phenol peels, which go much deeper and can last up to
20 years with often dramatic results. Usually, only one dose is used,
which is enough to remove pigmentations in the skin and even pre-
cancerous growths. Trichloroacetic peels are less severe in
concentrations of under 35 percent, but require pretreatment with
AHA or retin-A creams.

Some of the lighter peels can be performed at home without a

medical license, but patients keen on the procedure are advised to
always enlist the advice and expertise of a professional plastic
surgeon or dermatologist.
Recovery time
The duration required for full recovery varies considerably depending
on the type of peel used. Light peels may cause stinging, redness and
irritation immediately after treatment, but these effects rarely last
more than a few days.

Medium peels such as Trichloroacetic treatments usually take several

days to heal, but strong sunscreen is a must for months afterwards as
the skin is much more exposed.

Those undergoing phenol peels must use ample sun block for the rest
of their lives. Healing following such deep peels will often take a few
months, a period in which the skin can be vulnerable and sensitive.

Chin Surgery (Mentoplasty)

Chin surgery, or mentoplasty as it is otherwise known, is a plastic
surgical procedure in which the patient’s chin is reduced or enlarged
as is deemed necessary to improve the appearance of the face. The
procedure is often performed in addition to rhinoplasty (nose surgery)
when it is considered that it will be beneficial in giving balance to the
facial features. While both enlargements and reductions may fall
under the heading of ‘mentoplasty’, this term is often more specific to
the reduction procedure and the enlargement procedure, or
augmentation of the chin, is often referred to as genioplasty.

Procedure information
In a mentoplasty operation, the surgeon makes an incision in the skin,
either under the chin or beneath the lower lip from inside the mouth
depending on the area of chin he/she needs to operate on. Having
gained access to bone, the surgeon then uses electrical equipment to
shave it down and reshape it until it acquires a more natural

The augmentation procedure involves similar incisions to gain access

to the bone, after which enlargement is achieved either with the
insertion of an implant or by cutting an area of the bone, bringing it
forward and then fastening it in place with wires and/or screws.
Mentoplasty can be performed in as little as 30 minutes but more
complicated cases can take up to two hours to complete. Both
operations are performed under general anesthetic.

Recovery time
Patients can expect some swelling and discoloration in the period
following the mentoplasty operation, but this normally subsides within
a couple of weeks. The intensive healing period for either procedure is
six to ten days, during which time the patient’s diet will be important
and the surgeon will give advice on the appropriate foods. The total
healing time for the procedure is between three and five weeks.

Ear Pinning (Otoplasty) Surgery

Otoplasty is usually performed on children between the ages of 4 and
14 to bring ears that are large or prominent farther back towards the
scalp. The human ear is almost fully grown by the age of 4 years,
making it is safe to perform surgery at this time. Ear pinning is also
available to adults at no additional risk.

Procedure information
Otoplasty can be performed at a hospital, surgery clinic or a doctor’s
office. It is generally an outpatient procedure, but at times, a child
may be admitted overnight. Anesthesia varies depending on the age
of the patient. For a young child, general anesthesia may ease the
process, but for adults it’s possible to use local anesthesia instead.

The average ear pinning procedure takes 2 to 3 hours. In the most

common technique, an incision on the back of the ear is made,
exposing the cartilage beneath. The cartilage is then bent back
towards the scalp. If the ear is very prominent, permanent stitches
may be used to maintain the new shape of the ear. There may be
slight scarring where the skin is joined, but this usually fades with

Recovery time
After an otoplasty procedure, patients are usually mobile after a
couple of hours. Adult patients can leave the hospital once they are
awake, but for children the anesthesia may have a longer effect so it
may be necessary to stay overnight. Immediately following the
surgery, the head of the patient is wrapped in a sterile bandage.

For the first few days, there may be some pain and throbbing, but
medication is available to alleviate these symptoms. After 2 or 3 days,
the bandage will be replaced with a lighter one, and after a week the
stitches will either dissolve or be removed.
Ear Reshaping Surgery
Ear reshaping surgery is used to correct all types of ear deformities,
including congenital defects and protruding ears. Deformities are
typically unique and ear shaping requires a careful analysis of each
individual ear, with the exception of protruding ears. It can be
challenging to make a natural-looking ear.

Procedure information
Ear reshaping usually takes between 2 and 4 hours, and is an
outpatient procedure using either general or local anesthesia,
depending on the individual case. Typically, a small incision is made
at the back of the ear to expose the cartilage so it can be sculpted.
Stitches might be added to help maintain the new shape while the ear

Some conditions may require that a bit of the cartilage is removed.

It’s unlikely that the ears will be perfectly matched, as is the case
with natural ears. The scar at the back of the ear will fade in time.

Recovery time
Patients are usually up and about within hours of ear reshaping
surgery, although if general anesthesia is used, they may be required
to stay overnight in the hospital. The patient’s head will be wrapped
in a bandage to promote healing and the ears may ache for a few

Afterwards, the bandages will be replaced with something lighter and

the stitches can be removed or will dissolve in a week or so. Activities
that might bend or injure the ears should be avoided for a month;
however, it’s okay to go back to work in a week.

Eye Bag Removal Surgery

Reducing or reshaping bags under the eyes is a form of
blepharoplasty, or eye-lift, performed almost always for cosmetic
reasons when the lower lid becomes puffy with old age. Upper lid
surgery is generally designed to combat the appearance of wrinkles
or drooping skin, whereas lower lid procedures are most often aimed
at reducing the volume of the eye lid, sometimes through the partial
removal of fatty tissue that may have built up over time.
Procedure information
Cosmetic surgery of the lower eye lid can be performed in different
ways, with the aim of eliminating eye bags as much as possible. A
general anesthetic is always used. One method involves making
incisions just below the lower eye lashes to help minimize scarring
when the lids are then tightened. This procedure is sometimes
performed in conjunction with upper lid surgery.

An alternative is to make the incisions at the back of the lower lid,

called transconjunctival blepharoplasty, in which fat is removed from
the area around the lid in a similar way to liposuction, just on a
smaller scale. This procedure means no external scar is visible;
however, no excess skin can be removed which is why many patients
opt for an additional chemical peel which aims to improve the surface
of the skin.

Recovery time
Eye-bag removal surgery generally results in a short recovery period,
especially when the incisions are made in the rear of the lower eye
lid, as with transconjunctival blepharoplasty. In this case, swelling and
bruising can be expected to have drastically improved in less than 1
week, with no visible scarring left behind.

Expect a 2-week recovery period if incisions are made below the

lower eye lash, along with some scarring that is generally only visible
during close inspection. Elasticity and scarring are determined by the
age and skin quality of the patient.

Eyelid Lift (Blepharoplasty) Surgery

This plastic surgery procedure, also known as blepharoplasty, is
performed either when excess skin on the upper eyelid is affecting
peripheral vision in extreme cases, or for cosmetic reasons when the
skin is loose but does not impair sight. The procedure is therefore
almost always performed on older patients. This type of surgery is
also popular among East Asians who, for genetic reasons, are missing
an upper eyelid crease in about half of all cases. Surgery therefore
creates an artificial crease directly above the eye ball which gives a
more western appearance. Given the genetic motivation for this
surgery among Asians, the procedure for this purpose is typically
performed on much younger patients than in the west.

Procedure information
Eyelid surgery typically involves the removal or repositioning of
excess skin on the upper lid by the making of incisions that follow the
natural fold of the eyelid so that any scarring is not noticeable. The
skin is then pulled over the incision and the excess removed, which
creates tighter eyelids through the elimination of wrinkles or drooping

The procedure typically takes between 1 and 3 hours to perform,

depending on the extent of the surgery, and is usually done under
general anesthetic.

Recovery time
The recuperation period following blephoraplasty is generally much
shorter than in the case of a face-lift. Patients can expect a certain
amount of bruising and swelling that will typically improve in
appearance after a week and should fully reduce after a fortnight.

However, the final result of the surgery always takes considerably

longer to stabilize, usually up to 6 months at the most. Given the
swelling that occurs directly afterwards, patients may experience a
small impairment of vision, meaning driving and manual work should
not be attempted immediately after as a precaution. The full recovery
period is largely determined by skin quality and age.

Eyelid Lift (Blepharoplasty) Surgery

This plastic surgery procedure, also known as blepharoplasty, is
performed either when excess skin on the upper eyelid is affecting
peripheral vision in extreme cases, or for cosmetic reasons when the
skin is loose but does not impair sight. The procedure is therefore
almost always performed on older patients. This type of surgery is
also popular among East Asians who, for genetic reasons, are missing
an upper eyelid crease in about half of all cases. Surgery therefore
creates an artificial crease directly above the eye ball which gives a
more western appearance. Given the genetic motivation for this
surgery among Asians, the procedure for this purpose is typically
performed on much younger patients than in the west.

Procedure information
Eyelid surgery typically involves the removal or repositioning of
excess skin on the upper lid by the making of incisions that follow the
natural fold of the eyelid so that any scarring is not noticeable. The
skin is then pulled over the incision and the excess removed, which
creates tighter eyelids through the elimination of wrinkles or drooping

The procedure typically takes between 1 and 3 hours to perform,

depending on the extent of the surgery, and is usually done under
general anesthetic.

Recovery time
The recuperation period following blephoraplasty is generally much
shorter than in the case of a face-lift. Patients can expect a certain
amount of bruising and swelling that will typically improve in
appearance after a week and should fully reduce after a fortnight.

However, the final result of the surgery always takes considerably

longer to stabilize, usually up to 6 months at the most. Given the
swelling that occurs directly afterwards, patients may experience a
small impairment of vision, meaning driving and manual work should
not be attempted immediately after as a precaution. The full recovery
period is largely determined by skin quality and age.

Face Lift (Rhytidectomy) Surgery

Also known as a rhytidectomy, the face lift is among the top five most
popular plastic surgery operations. Involving the tightening of skin on
the face, which is achieved by ironing out excess wrinkles or folds of
skin, the procedure is aimed at giving the patient a more youthful
appearance. A face lift is also sometimes applied to the neck. Often
the procedure is done alongside other facial plastic surgeries such as
forehead lift, rhinoplasty (nose reshaping) or blepharoplasty (eye-lift).

Procedure information

The standard face lift generally means making an incision behind

each ear so that the skin can be separated from the deeper tissues
before it is pulled tighter across the cheek bones. This will result in
excess skin at the incision point which is then cut away before the
wounds are closed, often with stitches.

Patients are put under general anesthetic, with most operations

taking between 3 and 6 hours. The procedure has been repeatedly
improved over the years, with the top surgeons now able to create a
natural appearance that lasts longer.

Recovery time
Most patients will require at least 4 months to fully heal following a
face lift, given that the skin is separated from the deeper tissue. Often
the patient will be able to return to work a week after, with some
patients unable to work for up to 1 month. Complications related to
excess bleeding from the incision point can delay the recovery

Swelling and bruising of the face are inevitable following the surgery,
but generally improve drastically within the first week. Wounds
behind the ears should be in much better condition within the same
time period or a little longer, although scarring is common. Most scars
are difficult to notice without close inspection, as the incision points
are mostly hidden behind the ears.

Facial Implant Surgery

Facial implants are typically used by plastic surgeons to balance facial
contours of the patient to improve their appearance and thus self
esteem. Several different types of facial implants are available in
many different materials, with the jaw-line, chin and cheekbones
being the most common areas treated.

A sloping chin and jaw-line is the most common area treated with
facial implants where a small incision is made under local or general
anesthetic. Although facial implants are growing in popularity and it is
no longer a big deal to have them, price and having realistic
expectations are two major factors to bear in mind.

Procedure information
A general anesthesia is usually recommended although patients may
get away with a local anesthetic depending on the facial implant
which is to be installed. Surgical centers are the most common set-
ups for facial implants, while hospital outpatient facilities and office-
type institutions are also in evidence. Patients may be required to
stay overnight depending on the implant and their medical status.

In the case of chin implants, the process will generally take about 45
minutes. A small incision is made inside the mouth, or just under the
chin area, to create a pocket for the implant to sit in. The surgeon
then places the right sized implant for the patient’s face and sutures
and tapes up the area.
Recovery time
The sutures placed in the mouth after having chin surgery will
automatically dissolve while ones placed in the skin will be removed
after five to seven days following surgery. Some discomfort and
swelling in the area that was treated will be experienced for several
days to the extent that it may be difficult to smile and talk at first. In
addition, bruising may be evident around the chin and neck.

The plastic surgeon will instruct you on eating, dental hygiene, and
what not to do activity-wise after surgery. The main thing after having
facial implants is to not jump to conclusions and become dejected
straight after surgery as it may take several weeks for your face to
settle down.

Brow Lift Surgery

A forhead lift (also known as a brow lift or browplasty) is similar to a
face lift but instead concentrates on tightening the forehead area in a
bid to eliminate wrinkles and drooping skin usually associated with old
age. It is therefore a cosmetic procedure although occasionally the
operation is performed to eliminate a drooping eye brow which may
be impairing the patient’s vision. This form of plastic surgery is often
combined with other procedures such as a full face lift and eyelid

Procedure information
Brow lifts can take many different forms, but always involve making
small incisions to allow for the tightening of the brow area, usually
around the eyebrow itself, above the hairline or behind the ears.
When surgery is focused exclusively on the brow, incisions made
within the strip of eyebrow hair allow for the removal of excess skin
and sometimes muscle. All such operations require a general

A mid brow lift is different in that incisions are made within the
wrinkles themselves and fat removed, compared to a complete
forehead and brow lift where the incision cuts are made behind the
ears and the whole area is tightened. The most common technique
used nowadays is an endoscopic forehead lift, which sees the
incisions made above the hairline so that the area below can be
elevated and the skin flattened.
Recovery time
Numbness and swelling are normal after all types of brow lifts. The
classic procedures usually see longer-lasting effects than the newer
endoscopic methods, with numbness now replaced by itchiness which
can last for up to 6 months. Stitches are usually removed after 2
weeks regardless of the type of surgery.

Classic brow lifts may also result in a thinning of the hair where
incisions are made above the hairline, although hair loss is rarely
permanent with normal growth most often returning after a month. A
normal routine can usually be resumed 10 days after surgery.

Hair Implant Surgery

There are various reasons for hair loss, but the vast majority of hair
loss in men is due to male pattern baldness. Female pattern baldness
also exists, which can be attributed to hormonal imbalances, binge
dieting and pregnancy. It is common for people to lose anywhere from
10 to 200 strands of hair a day, but baldness occurs when the hair
does not grow back after falling out. Receiving a hair transplant or
implants is the only way to restore a full head of hair.

Procedure information
The hair transplant procedure involves taking hair from the back or
the sides of the head, using existing hair as a donor area to fill out the
bald or thinning areas. Since the hair follicles are alive and from your
own head, once they are transplanted they will continue to grow for
the rest of your lifetime. They will require cutting like your regular

Hair transplantation takes 6 to 10 hours under local anesthesia or

sedation, and is usually performed in a hospital. First, a narrow strip
of scalp is taken from the donor area and then grafted onto the bald
patch. Alternatively, the procedure can be done by placing individual
follicles in the recipient area.

Recovery time
After hair transplantation surgery, you will be allowed to leave the
hospital. The procedure does not require an overnight stay. For the
first 3 days or so after the procedure, antibiotics and pain medication
can help with any pain or swelling of the scalp. After the first 3 days,
you can resume washing the hair with a mild shampoo. Physical
exercise can be resumed after 1 week, and swimming is possible after
the stitches around the graft have been removed.

Liposuction Surgery
This form of cosmetic surgery aims to remove excess fat where
exercise and dieting have failed to slim down certain areas of the
body, most commonly around the lower abdomen and thighs. Most
liposuction patients will opt to remove a maximum of 10 pounds of
excess fat in one session to avoid leaving dents in the skin, a possible
side effect when too much is taken away.

The result is generally one of improved contouring of the body, with

the overall appearance often suggesting a greater amount of fat
reduction than has actually been performed.

Procedure information
Different types of liposuction are available, but generally the
procedure involves the removal of excess fat under general
anesthetic by making an incision in the target area before introducing
a saline solution to loosen the fat cells. The amount of fluid used
depends on the type of procedure, but generally the more that is
introduced the easier it is to break up the fat cells– typically between
1 and 4 hours. The fat is then sucked out.

Laser-assisted liposuction is a slightly different technique in which the

fat cells are melted and loosened with a laser before removal. After
the procedure, the surgeon will then decide whether to stitch up the
incision, although often it is left open to allow natural drainage of the

Recovery time
Due to the generally small incisions made and the insistence on
sterilizing all equipment and the target sight in conjunction with
antibiotics, the threat of infection is small. Otherwise, side effects
from liposuction are rare.

Usually patients are able to return to a normal daily routine 2 days

after the procedure, although bruising and numbness may last for up
to 2 weeks. Swelling may last as long as 2 months in extreme cases.
A noticeable difference in appearance can be seen within less than 1
week of liposuction treatment.

Lower Body Lift (Belt Lipectomy) Surgery

The lower body lift is a combination of procedures combining a
tummy tuck, technically known as abdominoplasty; a thigh lift and a
buttock lift, which combined are called a belt lipectomy. These
combined procedures remove excess skin and fat from the stomach,
thighs and buttocks.

This procedure requires serious surgery and is for extreme cases only;
it is not a cosmetic procedure or an alternative to weight loss.
Patients are left with permanent scarring. People who were obese and
have lost a great deal of weight usually profit from this procedure.

Procedure information
In the belt lipectomy, excess skin and fat is removed from the thighs
and buttocks, and the superficial fascia suspension system (SFS) is
resuspended in order to maintain shape and keep muscles in their
proper positions. The SFS is a collective tissue network responsible for
keeping tissues elevated.

For the stomach, a large incision is made across the midriff and the
skin is then lifted, requiring the belly button, or umbilicus, to be
separated from surrounding tissue. The vertical stomach muscles will
be pulled tightly together to strengthen the abdominal wall and
flatten the tummy. The skin is then pulled down over the muscle
tissue and a new hole is cut for the belly button before the excess
skin is removed and stitches are administered.

Recovery time
There are varying degrees of severity when dealing with lower body
lift procedures, and thus the recovery times for individuals can vary
greatly. Patients are normally required to stay at hospital for least a
day or two after the operation, while more severe cases could be
hospitalized for 2 to 3 weeks.

Physical activity is limited for the first few weeks following, and even
months in serious cases. Medication can help with the post procedure
pain, but there will be stiffness for some time.

Skin Refinishing (Dermabrasion) Surgery

Skin refinishing (dermabrasion) can be the answer for people who
have rough skin that has resulted from acne scarring, injury or
perhaps from wrinkling. The process actually helps to even out the
surface of the skin through laser resurfacing and chemical peels.

Dermaplaning is similar to skin refinishing dermabrasion where either

small areas of the skin, or indeed the entire face, can be treated. The
surgeon scrapes away the top layers of skin using a special
instrument which results in smoothing out rough areas of skin. In
addition, dermabrasion can be used in conjunction with facelifts or
chemical peels.

Procedure information
The procedure for skin refinishing (dermabrasion) involves the
surgeon taking off the skin with a motorized instrument driving a burr
which is clad with diamond particles. The surgeon will take off as
much as is deemed safe to give the best results.

Skin refinishing (dermabrasion) is a fairly quick process and the exact

time depends on the amount of skin needing treatment. Expect
anywhere from five minutes for a patch of skin to 90 minutes for the
entire face. Those with deep scarring may have to go back for several
treatments to obtain the desired effect.

Recovery time
The skin goes quite red and swollen after skin refinishing
(dermabrasion) treatment and the ensuing burning and tingling may
make eating and talking difficult. Medications along with ointment
prescribed by your surgeon will help with these unwanted sensations
and the swelling should subside within a week.

Normal activities may be resumed after about a week or so and it is

possible to be back at work within around two weeks. Be careful when
partaking in sporting activities, particularly ball sports and boxing,
and swim indoors if you are into swimming. Keeping your face out of
the sun is the most important requirement for healing until your
natural skin pigment has returned to normal. This can take as long as
12 months.

Spider Vein Removal (Sclerotherapy) Surgery

Spider vein removal (sclerotherapy) is a well known procedure that
has been in use since the 1930s to treat varicose veins and spider
veins. Patients with spider veins, particularly females, are
understandably conscious of this unsightly condition which generally
affects the lower legs the most although is not especially painful.
Luckily spider veins are easy to cure with an injection of a sodium
chloride solution (sclerotherapy) directly into the varicose vein. After
treatment, the vessel turns into scar tissue that eventually fades

Procedure information
Spider vein removal (sclerotherapy) is done in the doctor’s surgery
and takes about 30 to 45 minutes for the entire process. A sodium
chloride sterile solution is mixed with local anesthetic, lidocaine, as
well as heparin and injected into the veins with a very fine needle.
Several veins may be injected with the solution in one sitting; a
number which will depend on the amount of spider veins to be treated
and the fitness and age of the patient. The injections are slightly
uncomfortable particularly when larger spider veins are injected.

A spider vein removal (sclerotherapy) session will usually clear 50 to

80 percent of injected varicose veins. The small percentage of
patients who do not respond to treatment can try out different
solutions or perhaps laser therapy. Spider veins generally clear from
sclerotherapy after about three to six weeks, with larger veins
responding after about three months. Spider veins successfully
treated will not reappear over time, although new veins may become

Recovery time
Patients can walk immediately after treatment for spider veins and
are even able to drive home and resume regular activities, although
you should refrain from jogging and swimming for at least a week.
The doctor will instruct you on wearing support hosiery over the
treated vessels for a time to aid in the removal process.

Avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin and

ibuprofen for at least 48 hours after having spider vein removal
(sclerotherapy) treatment. It is also a good idea to try to keep the
treated areas cool – keep legs covered up from the sun, no saunas
and hot showers for 48 hours. Warm soapy water may be used to
wash the area after treatment.

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Surgery

The tummy tuck, as abdominoplasty is colloquially referred, is a
serious operation than removes excess fat and skin from the
abdominal area and helps to tighten the abdominal wall, drastically
changing the appearance of the pelvic area. Depending on the
severity of the problem, scarring can be as wide as hip-to-hip. No
matter the degree, a scar is guaranteed following this procedure.

Procedure information
Usually, around 4 or 5 hours is required to perform the full tummy
tuck operation. The time can vary depending on the individual, but a
minimum of 2 hours should be expected. The surgeon will typically
make an incision between the hip bones and loosen the tissue around
the belly button. The abdominal muscles are then pulled tight
together and the skin is pulled firmly over before excess skin is cut

A new hole is cut for the umbilicus and stitches are used to seal the
incision. A tube may be used to drain excess fluid for the first day or
two after surgery.

Recovery time
There will be abdominal swelling and pain after the procedure, and
painkilling medication is administered. The first few days after an
abdomnoplasty operation is performed, movement will be minimal.
Individual cases vary, but the patient can expect to be released the
same day if the operation was minor, while more serious cases may
be required to stay in hospital for 2 or 3 days.

It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to fully

recover from the procedure. More serious cases should allot a long
recovery time, as physical activity will be limited.

Varicose Vein Removal Surgery

A varicose vein is a swollen vein close to the surface of the skin due
to an overspill of blood through defective valves in the deep veins in
the legs. Although there may be no real symptoms with varicose
veins, there could be some aching and itching in the legs which may
eventually result in bruising and swelling. It is best to get varicose
veins treated as soon as possible to prevent any further twisting and
even possibly leg ulcers. The surgeon remedies this by first removing
the main feeder vein after which varicose vein removal can take

Procedure information
Varicose vein removal is achieved in several ways after the main
feeder vein to the varicose veins is tied off and then removed.
Another feeder vein behind the knee may also be tied off before the
varicose veins are removed through small cuts dotted down the leg.

A general anesthetic is administered along with a local anesthetic into

the groin to numb the pain from the small cuts made on the leg for
when you wake up. Varicose vein removal can be completed in one
day, with no overnight stay in the hospital required.

Recovery time
There will be some discomfort in the area for a few days after
varicose vein removal although painkillers or painkilling injections can
be had to alleviate this. The pain should disappear within a week
although the elastic sleeve provided after surgery will need to be
worn for about 10 days. You can wash the area after the stitches have
been removed.

You may drive about ten days after surgery and will be able to have
sexual intercourse after about two weeks. Speak to your doctor about
going back to work. Generally, those working in an office will need
about two weeks off and those working in jobs which require physical
labor may have to stay off work for up to four weeks. The hospital or
your general practitioner will arrange for you to have a check-up
about one month after the varicose vein removal surgery.


Gastric Bypass Surgery Abroad

Gastric bypass surgery is a combination of restrictive and
malabsorptive measures for losing weight. The stomach is separated
into a smaller and a larger portion, which results in the patient feeling
full faster after food intake. Food bypasses the first part of the small
intestine, resulting in the absorption of less food.

Lap band surgery is a restrictive method in which an adjustable band

is positioned around the stomach. This procedure also divides the
stomach into a small and a large portion, which helps to regulate food
intake while maintaining the normal digestive process. It is probably
the most secure, least distressing and only modifiable and reversible
obesity surgery available.

Note that people considered for weight loss surgery must be no less
than 100 percent or 100 pounds overweight and show a minimum
body mass index of 40 (morbid obesity).

Procedure information
In gastric bypass surgery, the stomach is stapled to create a smaller
pouch (15 to 20cc). The rest of the stomach is then stapled shut and
separated from the pouch. Following this, a part of the small intestine
is cut and attached (stapled) to the new stomach pouch, forming a
bypass. Following the procedure, fewer nutrients and calories are
absorbed by the patient.

In lap band surgery, an inflatable band placed around the upper

component of the stomach creates a smaller pouch that limits the
intake of food and increases the time for emptying. The patient’s food
consumption is restricted and his/her digestion slowed down,
resulting in constant weight loss.

Recovery time
Following gastric bypass surgery, the patient is normally required to
stay in hospital for about 48 to 72 hours. A great number of patients
go back to normal activities within 2 to 3 weeks. Entire surgical
recovery takes place within approximately 3 weeks.

After lap band surgery, the majority of patients can leave the hospital
on the same day as the procedure and return to standard activities
within 7 days. Full surgical convalescence will usually occur within
approximately 2 weeks.

Knee Replacement Surgery

Also known as total knee arthroplasty, knee replacement surgery is
used to restore the function of diseased knee joints and relieve the
pain associated with them. Knee problems resulting from
osteoarthritis and degenerative conditions such as avascular necrosis
are common sources of knee pain which this surgery can resolve.

During the operation, the surgeon removes the damaged bone and
cartilage from the affected area and replaces it with an artificial joint
constructed from high-tech metal alloys and polymers. The surgery
causes scarring and in rare situations, infection. After having a knee
replacement, patients will be unable to participate in activities such
as jogging and high-impact sports.

Procedure information
During the knee replacement operation, the surgeon places the knee
in a bent position where all of the joint surfaces are completely
exposed. An incision less than 12 inches is made, allowing the
surgeon to push aside the muscles, kneecap and surrounding tissues
so that he can remove the damaged joint surface. After taking
measurements of the knee for prosthesis, the rough edges of the
surrounding bones are smoothed in preparation for the new knee. The
prosthesis is then inserted and the knee rotated and bent to assure it
is balanced and functioning properly.

Recovery time
The day following surgery, a physical therapist will begin
rehabilitation using a device called a continuous passive motion
machine, which moves your knee for you while you lay in bed. After a
few days, most patients can return home and begin their recovery
program which will last several weeks. Care of the wound, exercise
and diet are all important components to a speedy recovery.

Physical activity is especially important, beginning with a gradual

walking program, followed by the resumption of normal household
activities such as climbing stairs after 3 to 4 weeks. Patients should
be able to drive a car 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure. Performing
knee-strengthening exercises several times each day is essential to
making a full recovery. More than 95 percent of patients who undergo
a knee replacement experience improved mobility and decreased

Cataract Surgery - Medical Tourism

Cataracts are a form of opacity that develops in the eye lens, causing
myopia at first and visible by the gradually cloudy and yellowing
appearance of the eye. If it isn’t treated, it can lead to vision loss or
glaucoma. Chief causes of cataracts are exposure to radiation and
ultraviolet lights, particularly among pilots, but it’s a condition that
can also arise as a secondary effect of diabetes or protein deficiencies
in the eye. Cataracts are the main cause of blindness in the world,
and statistics in the United States suggest more than 40 per cent of
those over 50 years old suffer from some form of lenticular change,
with up to 90 per cent suffering over the age of 75. The result is
cloudy eyesight, but the remedy is a simple operation to remove the
damaged lens and, if necessary, replace it with a permanent plastic
optical one.

Procedure information
Nowadays, modern surgery can remove cataracts with a simple
operation that requires no more than a local anesthetic. Two types of
surgery are employed. Extra-capsular (extracapsular cataract
extraction, or ECCE) removes the damaged part of the lens but leaves
the lens capsule intact, while the more uncommon intra-capsular
surgery (intracapsular cataract extraction, or ICCE) method is for
more serious conditions and involves removing the lens entirely and
replacing it with a permanent plastic lens.

Recovery time
Cataract operations are straight-forward and inexpensive procedures
with a 98 per cent success rate. Patients are usually able to go home
within the same day of the operation.

Patients are sometime required to take antibiotics post-operation to

prevent infection. Topical corticosteroid eye drops are used in
conjunction with the antibiotics, administered by the patient to reduce
inflammation and minimise the risk of infection. Full recovery can be
expected within one month, with many patients having no noticeable
effects after just one week.

Bariatric Surgery - Medical Tourism

This procedure, also known as gastric bypass surgery, is designed to
control food intake. It is performed on people who are very obese and
have unsuccessfully tried to lose weight through dieting and exercise.
It is a fairly complex procedure that must be carefully considered
before being undertaken. The surgery can prevent many diseases
that are commonly caused by overeating, like diabetes and heart

Procedure information
There are two ways in which bariatric surgery is performed. One is
called the Roux-en-Y bypass, which uses one long incision to perform
an open operation. It is also possible to do the procedure
laparoscopically, but as this technique is newer, long-term results
have yet to be evaluated and it is still considered risky.

The second way is called billopancreatic diversion, where parts of the

stomach are removed. This is less common due to a tendency for the
patient to develop nutritional deficiencies after the procedure.

With either technique, a portion of the stomach is stapled to reduce

its size, then a part of the small intestine is attached to the stomach,
bypassing the duodenum and thus lowering absorption of the food by
the body. This restricts food intake and controls hunger, leading to
effective weight loss.

Recovery time
It is normal for patients to stay in hospital for a day or two following
weight loss surgery. Depending on the individual, 2 to 5 weeks may
be required for a full recovery and resumption of regular daily
activities. For a while after the surgery, the patient will feel pain and
discomfort around the stomach and there will be some swelling.
Doctors can prescribe painkillers to ease the discomfort.


Medical Tourism Thailand

Popular For: Alternative Medicine, cosmetic surgery, dental care,

gender realignment, heart surgery, obesity surgery, oncology,

Visa Requirements: A valid passport and return ticket are required.

Visa not required for stays up to 30 days. Thailand has all but
established itself as king of the castle when it comes to international
medical tourism. The affordable prices combined with high levels of
quality care in a country rich in culture, natural beauty and amazing
food all combine to make Thailand the first choice for many seeking
medical treatment abroad. In fact, Thailand is one of the world’s
preferred destinations for all types of treatment including medical,
cosmetic and dental procedures.

Pros: Thailand stands as one of the world’s top tourism destinations,

which means the country is long accustomed to receiving foreign
travelers. In the big cities, English is understood, especially at private
clinics that will interest tourists looking for treatment. The cost of a
flight ticket, food and accommodation and the procedure itself can
add up to less than the price of a procedure in North America. Throw
in the fact that Thailand has much to offer as a regular tourist spot,
this Southeast Asian country is set to remain a favorite medical
tourism destination for a long time to come.

Cons: While most medical practitioners in Thailand are experienced

and well-qualified, there are some doctors whose reputations can be
less than ideal. Medical tourists should shop around to make sure
they’re getting the best treatment possible and that the price is not
the only consideration. Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia
experiences three distinct seasons, and it is important to choose the
right time to come. The rainy season can be unpleasant at times, with
hard downpours that regularly flood the streets of cities. The summer
season can see temperatures reach uncomfortable levels along with
debilitating humidity and pollution.

Thailand is a world leader in the medical tourism industry and the

country’s private hospitals and clinics are able to perform all kinds of
surgeries from heart procedures to hip and joint replacements and
recuperative operations after injury. Bangkok has several hospitals
that are used to receiving foreign patients, and the number of
hospitals means that it’s easy to get a second opinion and find a
doctor you’re comfortable with before gong under the knife.
Thailand Cosmetic surgery
Thailand’s cosmetic surgeons have profited from Thailand’s
reputation for medical tourism. The prices for elective surgery can be
a fraction of what they would be in the west, with the quality level
being consistently high. While common procedures such as face lifts,
tummy tucks and breast augmentation are widely available, Thailand
is also a world specialist in sex reassignment surgery. Procedures of
this nature include facial feminization surgery and vaginoplasty.

Thailand Dental tourism

Thailand is known for its masterful dentists. Many North Americas
make up to three trips over the period of a year to receive extended
dental surgery, and still come out saving significant amounts of
money. The dental equipment used in Thailand is on par with some of
the best in the world, and the dentists are very well trained.
Procedures available include crowns, dentures, laser teeth whitening
and bridges.

Thailand Alternative medicine

The Thais have long been practicing alternative medicine and many
practitioners using herbal medicines and holistic approaches are
available. This sector is beginning to attract foreign attention,
particularly the country’s wellness retreats, yoga workshops and
chiropractic treatments.

Thailand Health spas

The spa industry is big business in Thailand. Thais and foreigners alike
take advantage of the many spas in the cities, where saunas, steam
baths and every kind of massage are available for much less than the
going rate in the west. Spas here are well suited to catering to
international tourists and cost-saving packages are available at every


India’s medical tourism sector is expected to experience an annual growth rate of 30%,
making it Rs. 9,500-crore industry by 2015. Estimates of the value of medical tourism
to India go as high as $2 billion a year by 2012. Advantages for medical tourists include
reduced costs, the availability of latest medical technologies and a growing compliance
on international quality standards, as well as the fact that foreigners are less likely to
face a language barrier in India. The Indian government is taking steps to address
infrastructure issues that hinder the country's growth in medical tourism. Most estimates
claim treatment costs in India start at around a tenth of the price of comparable
treatment in America or Britain. The most popular treatments sought in India by
medical tourists are alternative medicine, bone-marrow transplant, cardiac bypass
surgery, eye surgery and orthopedic surgery. India is known in particular for heart
surgery, hip resurfacing and other areas of advanced medicine. Ministry of Tourism
India (MoT) is planning to extend its Market Development Assistance (MDA) scheme
to cover Joint Commission International (JCI) and National Accreditation Board of
Hospitals (NABH) certified hospitals. A policy announcement of this effect is likely
soon. The south Indian city of Chennai has been declared India's Health Capital, as it
nets in 45% of health tourists from abroad and 30-40% of domestic health tourists.
Other major cities where medical tourists are catered to include New Delhi, Mangalore
and Mumbai.

Medical Tourism Singapore

If the first consideration of a medical holiday isn’t a stringent budget,
Singapore is about as good as it gets. While some countries draw
patients in with their cut-rate fees, Singapore’s appeal lies in its
world-class medical facilities, fluent English staff and familiar
infrastructure to westerners. Medical, dental and alternative therapies
are all available on the island, and the levels of quality are high no
matter what you choose to have done. Singapore is a state deserving
of its reputation for cleanliness, order and its ultra-high standard of
private medical care. While it is by no means as cheap as say, India or
Thailand, medical staff here invariably speak a high standard of
English and the healthcare infrastructure is easily comparable with
that of western countries.

As standards of medical treatment go, Singapore is on a par with

Thailand and India. Singapore’s ultra clean and structured
environment contrasts sharply with the chaos and pollution of
Bangkok or the abject poverty and underdevelopment of Chennai,
making it a good choice for visitor’s who don’t adjust well to culture
shock. For many, this gives Singapore the edge over its two biggest
competitors despite the higher prices of treatment.

Since Singapore’s prices are still around half of what US clinics charge
for the same procedures, it’s understandable that some 200,000
visitors flock here every year in search of medical, cosmetic and
dental treatment. A reputation for state-of-the-art equipment and the
finest surgeons, many of which are trained in the US, is also a major
draw card for many would-be patients.

English is one of the country’s four official languages and the official
language of business; this has significant appeal to those visitors with
very specific needs.

Those visitors looking to make their trip both a medical tourist

excursion and a regular vacation will find Singapore a fascinating
country with modern amenities and entertainment, scenic beaches,
great food and a rich and eclectic culture.

Pros: Singapore’s reputation for spotlessness extends to its medical

facilities and standards of hygiene are as high as they can go on this
small south Asian island. Though treatment in Singapore can be more
expensive than in Thailand or India, the procedures themselves still
cost little more than half of what they would in the United States.

It’s easy to see why Singapore is one of the most preferred medical
tourism destinations in the world. The city itself is easy to get around
and very clean. English is one of the country’s official languages and
most Singaporeans are fluent. These advantages exist in the hospitals
as well, which can be a comfort for people with specific problems or

Cons: While prices of surgeries in Singapore are still significantly

cheaper than in the west, they are more expensive than in other
Asian countries with reputations as medical tourism destinations;
prices in India and Thailand are comparably cheaper. Singapore’s
location at the end of the Malay peninsula means it’s close to the
equator, and temperatures can be high and the air in summer is quite
humid. Temperature won’t be a factor in the air-conditioned clinic, but
if a post-procedure holiday is planned, the climate may be unpleasant
for some.

Medical tourism is not a new concept in Singapore, and many

companies in the west having arrangements with Singaporean clinics
that can arrange treatments and travel between your home country
and Singapore. Over 200,000 patients choose Singapore for their
surgeries every year, and hospitals and clinics are used to receiving
foreign patients. Popular medical procedures include hip and knee
replacements and cardiac surgeries.

Singapore Cosmetic Surgery

There are several clinics and hospitals in Singapore offering cosmetic
surgery. There are laser treatment clinics for hair removal and skin
conditions as well as a specific clinic for breast surgery. The whole
spectrum of popular cosmetic surgeries is available with rhinoplasty,
liposuction and breast augmentation being among the most popular
with medical tourists.

Singapore Dental Tourism

Singapore has many quality dental clinics that offer everything from
check ups and teeth whitening to more complex surgeries such as
dental implants. Dental treatment in Singapore is, however, more
expensive than in Thailand or India, but still much cheaper than in the
west at large.

Singapore Alternative Medicine

There is a sizeable Chinese population in Singapore and as such many
alternative medicine clinics exist offering traditional Chinese medicine
for all kinds of ailments. Herbal medicine and acupuncture treatments
are popular with both locals and visitors alike. As there is a wide
choice of clinics, you can shop around for the best price and the most
suitable facility for your needs and tastes.

Singapore Health Spas

Like any large city, Singapore is awash with health clubs and spas
where specific treatments are available on-the-spot. Alternatively, full
day sessions can be booked in advance, while some wellness centers
double up as hotels, allowing you to enjoy a spa holiday. Popular
treatments include Thai, aromatherapy and hot stone massages as
well as hydrotherapy.

Medical Tourism in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s healthcare system is very advanced, particularly in the
city of San Jose, and is considered one of the best in Latin America.
For some procedures, it ranks higher than the US. The country boasts
highly-competent specialists in plastic surgery and dentistry, which
are two areas of treatment most in demand. With additional recent
medical advancements, heart, kidney and liver transplants are now
offered, as is bone marrow transplantation. The World Health
Organization gives high marks to the quality of medical care in Costa

World-renowned as a leader in eco-tourism, Costa Rica boasts tropical

rainforests, stunning mountain vistas, fabulous beaches, an ideal
climate and friendly, welcoming people. There is now an increasing
awareness that the country is also a premier destination for quality
medical treatment at amazingly low prices.

The country’s specialists in cosmetic surgery procedures are fully-

credentialed and are experienced in the latest surgical and non-
surgical techniques available. Costa Rica’s Plastic Surgery Board
provides listings of physicians who are credentialed members of the
national association. In addition, the board will provide information on
whether a physician is currently certified or preparing for certification.
Costa Rica’s cost of living and the strong value of the US dollar in
relation to the country’s currency means medical services cost much
less here than in the US. Every year, thousands of US citizens take
advantage of the low cost of procedures and the high level of quality
care provided by Costa Rica’s cosmetic surgeons and dentists. By the
early 1990s, approximately 15 percent of all visitors to Costa Rica
entered the country specifically to undergo some sort of medical

Typically, a patient will plan on a week to 10 days in Costa Rica, which

allows time for a procedure and a short recovery period. The actual
time spent, of course, depends on the complexity of the surgery and
the number of follow-up visits required. With medical tourism
packages, a patient will often spend a few days sightseeing, undergo
the planned treatment and then spend some time in a suitable
location, such as an eco-tourist destination, for rest and additional
sightseeing or recuperation.

Medical Tourism Mexico

Popular For: Cosmetic surgery, dental care, obesity surgery

Visa Requirements: A valid passport and return ticket are required.

Tourist cards can be obtained at airports and border crossings, are
valid for 180 days and are available to most nationalities. For many
years medical tourists have traveled to Mexico for treatment, and
recent years have seen an even greater influx of patients from all
parts of the world. Mexico’s physicians and dentists are well-qualified,
with many having trained in the US. The country’s proximity to the US
has lead to it become a top destination for Americans in search of
quality, affordable medical, cosmetic and dental treatments.

Pros: In a number of Mexican cities, clinics and hospitals are very

modern and feature state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment. Many
facilities are staffed with English-speaking physicians and medical
personnel that are US board certified. Patient rooms typically are
quite large and many are private. Many medical tourists comment
that their Mexican specialists and staff relate to them much more
personally than health professionals in their own countries.

The cost of medical procedures in Mexico averages at 30 to 50

percent of US costs. There are excellent savings in dental procedures
as well. Mexico’s well-trained dentists provide high-quality treatment
at fees that run approximately one-half of what the same treatment
would cost in the US. A root canal procedure combined with a
porcelain crown, for example, costs approximately US$400 in Mexico.

Cons: Visitors are advised to exercise caution when traveling to

Mexico, where indiscriminate terrorist attacks do occur. In Mexico City
in particular muggings and robberies can be all too common. Tourists
are advised to be watchful when visiting popular attractions and
transportation centers and when on public transportation, as these
are favorites with pick pockets. It’s also strongly advised that only
authorized taxis should be used. Women travelers need to exercise
extra caution as incidents of sexual assaults have been on the rise at
some coastal resorts.

Medical tourism to Mexico is growing increasingly popular each year,

particularly among US patients. It is for this reason that cities in
Mexico on the border with the US are among the most popular
medical tourism destinations in the country. Tijuana, not far south of
San Diego, for example, boasts some of the finest medical facilities
anywhere in the Americas. Popular treatments include high-tech eye
surgery and bariatric surgeries such as lap band surgery.

Mexico Cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery in Mexico is particularly popular among US patients
who have long been crossing the border for low cost plastic surgery.
Tijuana in particular boasts several excellent clinics catering to
medical tourists with breast procedures such as breast lifts and body
and facial procedures such as vaginoplasty, tummy tucks and face
lifts available.

Mexico Dental tourism

Dental treatments are widely available in Mexico and thousands of US
citizens make the journey south of the border each year for the
quality services that are offered at very favorable rates. Crowns,
dentures and implants can all be sought here as well as cosmetic
procedures such as laser teeth whitening. Popular clinics are located
in cities such as Los Cabos, Tijuana and Baja Sur.

Mexico Alternative medicine

Specialists practicing alternative medicine can be hard to find in
Mexico, but the country is becoming popular for its alternative cancer
treatments where herbal remedies and diet supplements are used to
combat the disease.

Mexico Health spas

Mexico boasts many resorts to choose from on the lower Baja
peninsula, on the Pacific coast, and also along the Caribbean. A
number of resorts are incorporating spas, which now commonly
feature in medical tourism packages. An ideal package, which tour
operators working in cooperation with medical tourism facilities are
able to organize, can include a period of recovery at a secluded
seaside resort. One popular Pacific coast resort uses seawater from
the Pacific Ocean in its treatments.

Medical Tourism in South Africa

South Africa’s tradition in medical innovation is world-renowned, as
are its standards in providing world-class healthcare and expertise at
reasonable costs. The country has been attracting foreign patients for
numerous procedures in all health specialties and in particular for a
variety of cosmetic and dental procedures. The private and public
healthcare systems, combined with the country’s medical schools,
have worked together to produce internationally-recognized medical
specialists. South Africa’s leading position in international medicine
was well-established in 1967, when the first human heart transplant
was performed in Cape Town.

Europeans, in particular from Germany, Italy, and the UK, have been
visiting South Africa for years to undergo plastic surgery. They have
been drawn to the country due to the highly-qualified surgeons
available, the excellent private clinics and the reasonable prices.

Popular procedures include breast augmentation and reduction, face

lifts, liposuction, and nose and ear corrections. Dental surgery and
tooth implants, eye surgery and laser treatments, and fertility
treatments are popular with foreign visitors as well.

The country boasts sunshine throughout the year, extraordinary

scenery, and of course, a wide variety of wild animals in their native
habitats. These attractions, combined with the lower costs for
treatment are major enticements for thousands of travelers. Many
healthcare providers and private clinics in South Africa have realized
that their country’s natural wonders can have a positive impact on
the recovery process for their patients and encourage both post-
operative relaxation and exploration.


Africa and Middle East

Countries in this region involved in medical tourism include Brunei, Saudi Arabia,
South Africa and Tunisia.

Israel is emerging as a popular destination for medical tourists.[39] In 2006, 15,000
foreigners traveled to the country for medical procedures, bringing in $40 million of
revenue. Medical tourists choose Israel for several reasons. Some come from European
nations such as Romania where certain procedures are not available. Others come to
Israel, perhaps most commonly from the US, because they can receive quality health
care at a fraction of the cost it would be at home, for both surgeries and in-vitro
fertilization treatments. Other medical tourists come to Israel to visit the Dead Sea, a
world-famous therapeutic resort. The Israel Ministry of Tourism and several
professional medical services providers have set out to generate awareness of Israel's
medical capabilities.

Jordan is an emerging medical tourism destination, with related revenues exceeding one
billion dollars in 2007. More than 250,000 patients from other countries sought
treatment in Jordan that year. This included an estimated 45,000 Iraqis and
approximately 25,000 patients each from Palestine and Sudan. An estimated 1,800 US
citizens, 1,200 UK citizens, and 400 Canadians also sought treatment in Jordan that
year. Treatment costs can be as low as 25 percent of costs in the US. The World Bank
rated the kingdom as number one in the region and fifth in the world as a medical
tourism hub in a study.

Hospitals in Dubai and other emirates have expressed intent to develop in medical
tourism. Some have American-sourced international healthcare accreditation, while
others are looking towards the UK, Australia and Canada for accreditation services.
The Americas
Countries in the Americas that are treating foreign patients include Argentina, Bolivia,
Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico,
Panama, Peru and Uruguay.

Brazil has long been known as a destination for cosmetic surgery. For non-cosmetic
procedures, Brazil is only now entering the global market. However, Albert Einstein
Jewish Hospital in São Paulo was the first JCI-accredited facility outside of the US, and
more than a dozen Brazilian medical facilities have since been similarly accredited.
Brazil requires visas for US citizens based on a reciprocal arrangement since Brazilians
are required to obtain a visa to visit the US.

Canada has entered the medical tourism field. In comparison to US health costs,
medical tourism patients can save 30 to 60 percent on health costs in Canada. Canada's
quality of healthcare is cited by the World Health Organization as equal to if not better
than that of the US in most categories.

Cuba has been a popular medical tourism destination for more than 40 years. Thousands
of patients travel to Cuba, particularly from Latin America and Europe, attracted by the
"fine reputation of Cuban doctors, the low prices and nearby beaches on which to
recuperate." In 2006, Cuba attracted nearly 20,000 health tourists. Medical treatments
included joint replacement, cancer treatment, eye surgery, cosmetic surgery and
addictions rehabilitation. Costs are about 60 to 80 percent less than US costs. Cuba has
hospitals for Cuban residents and others that focus on serving foreigners and diplomats.
In the 2007 American documentary film, Sicko, which criticizes the US healthcare
system, producer Michael Moore leads a group of uninsured American patients to Cuba
to obtain more affordable medical treatment. Sicko has greatly increased foreigners'
interest in Cuban healthcare. A recent Miami Herald story focused on the high quality
of health care that Canadian and American medical tourism patients receive in Cuba.

The Cuban government has developed Cuban medical tourism to generate income for
the country. Residents of Canada, the UK and most other countries can travel to Cuba
without any difficulty a tourist visa is generally required. For Americans, however,
because of the US trade policy towards Cuba, travelers must either obtain US
government approval, or, more frequently, travel to Cuba from Canada, Mexico, the
Bahamas, Jamaica or the Dominican Republic. Cuban immigration authorities do not
stamp the passports of US visitors so that Americans can keep their travels a private
matter. To date no Cuban facility has achieved JCI Accreditation.

In Panama, health and medical tourism is growing rapidly. Factors drawing medical
tourists include Panama's tourist appeal, position as a hub for international travel, and
use of the American dollar as the official currency. Many of Panama’s doctors are
bilingual, board certified, and accustomed to working with the same medical equipment
and technology used in the United States and Europe. On most procedures, Panama
offers savings of more than 50% compared to the US and Europe. No Panamanian
hospitals currently have international healthcare accreditation, whether through US,
British, Australian or Canadian sources.
United States
Although much attention has been given to the growing trend of uninsured Americans
traveling to foreign countries, a report from 2008 found that a plurality of an estimated
60,000 to 85,000 medical tourists were traveling to the United States for the purpose of
receiving in-patient medical care The availability of advanced medical technology and
sophisticated training of physicians are cited as driving motivators for growth in
foreigners traveling to the U.S. for medical care. Also, it has been noted that the decline
in value of the U.S. dollar is offering additional incentive for foreign travel to the U.S.
However, costs differences between the US and many locations in Asia far outweigh
any currency fluctuations. Several major medical centers and teaching hospitals offer
international patient centers that cater to patients from foreign countries who seek
medical treatment in the U.S. Many of these organizations offer service coordinators to
assist international patients with arrangements for medical care, accommodations,
finances and transportation including air ambulance services. It should be noted that
many locations in the US that offer medical care comparable in price to foreign medical
facilities are not Joint Commission Accredited.

Uruguay recently entered the medical tourism market. A private medical tourism
initiative, Uruhealth, has been created with support from the Ministries of Tourism[57]
and Public Health. The initiative involves the infrastructure, human resources and
experience of two healthcare companies: MP Personalized Medicine (Montevideo) and
SEMM-Mautone Hospital (Punta del Este)


China is fast emerging as a desirable destination for individuals seeking medical care in
a wide range of medical specialties, including cardiology, neurology, orthopedics and
others. A number of private and government hospitals in major cities have established
international departments. Many leading hospitals provide treatments integrating
Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western medical technology and techniques. China
is home to leading stem cell research and treatment hospitals that offer Westerners who
want to take advantage of stem cell treatments that are still considered experimental or
have yet to be approved in their home country.

Hong Kong
As of 2006, Hong Kong had 12 private hospitals and 39 public hospitals, providing
3,124 and 27,755 beds respectively. A wide range of health care services are offered.
All 12 of Hong Kong's private hospitals have been surveyed and accredited by the UK's
Trent Accreditation Scheme since early 2001. This has been a major factor in the ascent
of standards in Hong Kong's private hospitals. The Trent scheme works closely with the
hospitals it assesses to generate standards appropriate to the locality (with respect to
culture, geography, public health, primary care interfaces etc.), and always uses
combinations of UK-sourced and Hong Kong-sourced surveyors. Some of Hong Kong's
private hospitals have now gone on to obtain dual international accreditation, with both
Trent and JCI (and have therefore attained a standard surpassing some of the best
hospitals in Thailand and Singapore). Others are looking towards dual international
accreditation with Trent and the Australian group. Hong Kong public hospitals have yet
to commit to external accreditation.

Republic of Korea
Listed on CNN.com as one of the “hot destinations” for medical tourism, Korea is
quickly establishing itself in the field of medical tourism. Korea is especially popular
with Japanese cosmetic surgery patients due to the cheap costs and high standards of
care practiced by Korean medical facilities. In 2008, Korea had 27,480 foreign-based
patients and the Korean health ministry expects that number to increase to 140,000 by
2015. Due to legislation passed in May 2009, state-licensed clinics and hospitals are
now allowed to directly seek out foreign patients through various promotional activities.
Korean hospitals and clinics provide a variety of medical services for medical tourists
including comprehensive health screening, cancer treatment, organ transplantation,
joint/rheumatism care, spinal treatment, ophthalmology, dental care, infertility
treatment, otorhinolaryngology, and Korean traditional medicine. Currently, the most
popular treatments for medical tourists are cosmetic procedures such as eyelid surgery,
nose jobs, facelifts, and skin lightening. Over 30 Korean hospitals and clinics are
member providers under the Council for Korea Medicine Overseas Promotion
(CKMOP). Among these facilities are the “Big Four” – Seoul National University
Hospital, Samsung Medical Center, Asan Medical Center, and Yonsei Severance
Hospital. Severance Hospital is Korea’s only JCI accredited hospital and with over
2,000 beds, is also the world’s largest JCI accredited hospital.

Malaysia has ambitions to develop itself as a medical tourism hub. The country has
excellent hospitals, English is widely spoken, and many staff have been trained to a
high level in the UK or in the US. There is a highly active Association for Private
Hospitals of Malaysia working to develop medical tourism. However, while Malaysia
has a national accreditation scheme (MSQH), few of Malaysia's hospitals currently hold
international healthcare accreditation, whether British, American or Australian.
Malaysian hospitals International Specialist Eye Centre, Penang Adventist Hospital, and
Prince Court Medical Centre have been JCI accredited. The Ministry of Health has
launched a medical tourism page with medical tourism portals such as Wellness Visit.

New Zealand
New Zealand is a relatively new destination to medical travel. It has all the hallmarks of
a very successful destination especially for North American based patients. This
includes being a first world, developed economy with a sophisticated and
comprehensive medical system. It is first and foremost English speaking with a rich
heritage of producing world-class doctors and medical research. Many of its private
hospitals are internationally accredited, state of the art and offer an integrated package
of care. The surgeons in New Zealand are trained both in New Zealand and abroad,
usually spending years of their training in either North America or Western Europe.
While New Zealand is aligned medically and culturally to North America, the cost of
the surgical care is significantly cheaper. On average it is considered that New
Zealand’s surgical costs are around 15 to 20% the cost of the same surgical procedure in
the USA. One patient who had his prosthetic hip replaced in New Zealand said the total
cost including travel, lodging and the surgery at a private hospital was $20,000, as
opposed to the $80,000 - $140,000 he was told the operation would have cost at home.
Added to this the personalized level of medical care, the world renown natural beauty
and tranquility, the fact that New Zealand is one of the safest places in the world and
only 12 hours direct flight from the west coast of North America, then New Zealand as
a medical travel destination looks set to develop.

The Philippines has been growing as a destination for medical tourism. The US Medical
Tourism Association magazine reported that this services sub-sector grew 8.0% in 2007.
The Philippines is one of a few countries that send qualified physicians and dentists to
the US, a testament to its quality of medical education. Procedures can be performed at
a fraction of the amount that a patient would spend on the same procedure in the US or
Europe. Some medical centers are accredited by the American accreditation group Joint
Commission International (JCI).

The Taiwanese government has declared its determination for the country to become a
medical tourism center. It is estimated that the government will contribute NT$44.4
million to construct a platform for the collaboration of the government and the medical
sector in promoting medical tourism. Costs for procedures remain comparatively low.
Taiwan is known for liver transplants, joint replacement surgery, bone marrow
transplants, and reconstructive and plastic surgery.

Countries in Europe that have active medical tourism sectors include Cyprus, Germany,
Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain, and

Czech Republic
Czech Republic has built its medical tourism on spas and medical care equaling the
world standards (for example Ostrava University Hospital).

Since 2004, when Poland joined the European Union, it has become another locale for
people seeking cheaper medical treatments. The quality of care in Poland must comply
with EU standards. One well-known medical center in Poland is "medical-poland.com"
with The Clinical Hospital No. 10 and Polyclinic in Bydgoszcz.

Turkey has since many years attracted medical tourists from Europe, the United States
and the Middle East as the country combines quality healthcare, the newest medical
technologies (Cyberknife) and low-cost. Many tourists come to Turkey for medical or
cosmetic surgery but the country is also seeking to build on its geothermal resources for
an expansion of therapeutic spas. The German Hospital in Istanbul operates the
country's first ISO-certified IVF center, while Memorial Hospital was the first private
hospital to receive American JCI accreditation. Since then, over 34 hospitals and
medical institutions have achieved Joint Commission International accreditation.


The medical infrastructure and technology of India's hospitals is
actually on par with that of Europe and the United States. India enjoys
some of the best hospitals and treatment centers in the world, not to
mention being a key player in biomedical research. The government
has encouraged these developments, hoping to turn India into a
global health destination, and India's education system turns out tens
of thousands of highly qualified doctors and nurses each year.
Many hospitals in India are corporately owned (therefore not subject
to the overcrowding that plagues many of the public hospitals) and
perform complicated heart surgeries, cosmetic treatments, dental
care and even preventative health screenings. The Escorts Heart
Institute performs over 15,000 operations each year while
maintaining a mortality rate that is actually less than half of that in
many U.S. and European hospitals. Many hospitals can't be
differentiated from those back home once inside.
Despite this level of quality, prices for treatment in India are some of
the lowest in any of the countries popular with medical tourists. Many
procedures can be done in India for a tenth of the cost of those done
in the U.S, and most can be arranged to be done within less than a
week, avoiding long waits for necessary surgeries.
Aside from medical treatment, India is also a popular tourist
destination. India is a large country with a fascinating history and
wealth of cultural diversity. Visitors can also relax with yoga and
Ayurvedic massage to help speed their recovery. India is also home to
the famous Taj Mahal as well as miles of beaches with aquamarine
water and beautiful mountain retreats. Many package deals are
available for those wishing to relieve themselves of the hassle of
arranging their own accommodations and activities in a foreign land.
More and more people have started traveling to India for Medical
Treatment and during the past year alone, over 150000 people
traveled to India for their medical requirements. Medical Tourism is
finally coming of age.
India boasts of several good private owned hospitals with facilities
second to none. They have some of the best doctors, with most top
end being educated in USA and UK. When it comes to becoming a
doctor, India also has some of the strangest criteria. Language is
another plus factor - English, which is widely spoken throughout the
country and in all good hospitals. Furthermore, the costs are much
lower than most countries and most importantly, there are no waiting
lists. With all the media hype about medical tourism, most hospitals
have geared themselves up for medical tourists from abroad.
Medical Tourism companies in India such as Health Line have
introduced several packages for patients traveling to India, which
include holidays, and hotel stays during their travel apart from other
basic requirements such as airport pickup, meetings with doctor’s
post and pre-surgery etc. Such packages make it convenient for the
patient to have peace of mind during travel without the tension of
what to do next.
For all those still hesitant to travel abroad for treatment, try getting a
package deal with a company such as Health Line and you will get an
idea of how much you can save. No coss are incurred for getting a
quote or medical advise over email. Doctors are very willing to help
patients abroad feel comfortable and will be more than happy to
respond to your queries through such medical tourism companies.
With the introduction of the medical visa, it will now be easier than
ever to travel to India. If your treatment requires an extension, the
medical visa can be extended without any problem. Ending on one
final note, do not forget to include your medical reports before
traveling to India.
India’s medical tourism sector is expected to experience an annual
growth rate of 30%, making it Rs. 9,500-crore industry by 2015.
Estimates of the value of medical tourism to India go as high as $2
billion a year by 2012. Advantages for medical tourists include
reduced costs, the availability of latest medical technologies and a
growing compliance on international quality standards, as well as the
fact that foreigners are less likely to face a language barrier in India.
The Indian government is taking steps to address infrastructure issues
that hinder the country's growth in medical tourism.
Ministry of Tourism India(MoT) is planning to extend its Market
Development Assistance (MDA) scheme to cover Joint Commission
International (JCI) and National Accreditation Board of Hospitals
(NABH) certified hospitals. A policy announcement of this effect is
likely soon.
The south Indian city of Chennai has been declared India's Health
Capital, as it nets in 45% of health tourists from abroad and 30-40%
of domestic health tourists .Other major cities where medical tourists
are catered to include New Delhi, Mangalore and Mumbai.

india is quickly becoming a hub for medical tourists seeking quality

healthcare at an affordable cost. Nearly 4,50,000 foreigners sought
medical treatment in India last year with Singapore not too far behind
and Thailand in the lead with over a million medical tourists . As the
Indian healthcare delivery system strives to match international
standards the Indian healthcare industry will be able to tap into a
substantial portion of the medical tourism market. Already 13 Indian
hospitals have been accredited by the Joint Commission International
(JCI). Accreditation and compliance with quality expectations are
important since they provide tourists with confidence that the
services are meeting international standards. Reduced costs, access
to the latest medical technology, growing compliance to international
quality standards and ease of communication all work towards India’s
It is not uncommon to see citizens of other nations seek high quality
medical care in the US over the past several decades; however in
recent times the pattern seems to be reversing. As healthcare costs in
the US are rising, price sensitivity is soaring and people are looking at
medical value travel as a viable alternative option. In the past the
growth potential of the medical travel industry in India has been
hindered by capacity and infrastructure constraints but that situation
is now changing with strong economic progress in India as well as in
other developing nations .With more and more hospitals receiving JCI
accreditations outside the US, concerns on safety and quality of care
are becoming less of an issue for those choosing to travel for medical
treatment at an affordable cost. The combined cost of travel and
treatment in India is still a fraction of the amount spent on just
medical treatment alone in many western countries.
In order to attract foreign patients many Indian hospitals are
promoting their international quality of healthcare delivery by turning
to international accreditation agencies to standardize their protocols
and obtain the required approvals on safety and quality of care.
Medical tourism can be broadly defined as provision of 'cost effective'
private medical care in collaboration with the tourism industry for
patients needing surgical and other forms of specialized treatment.
This process is being facilitated by the corporate sector involved in
medical care as well as the tourism industry - both private and public.

Medical or Health tourism has become a common form of vacationing,

and covers a broad spectrum of medical services. It mixes leisure, fun
and relaxation together with wellness and healthcare.

The idea of the health holiday is to offer you an opportunity to get

away from your daily routine and come into a different relaxing
surrounding. Here you can enjoy being close to the beach and the
mountains. At the same time you are able to receive an orientation
that will help you improve your life in terms of your health and
general well being. It is like rejuvenation and cleans up process on all
levels - physical, mental and emotional.

Many people from the developed world come to India for the
rejuvenation promised by yoga and Ayurvedic massage, but few
consider it a destination for hip replacement or brain surgery.
However, a nice blend of top-class medical expertise at attractive
prices is helping a growing number of Indian corporate hospitals lure
foreign patients, including from developed nations such as the UK and
the US.

As more and more patients from Europe, the US and other affluent
nations with high medicare costs look for effective options, India is
pitted against Thailand, Singapore and some other Asian countries,
which have good hospitals, salubrious climate and tourist
destinations. While Thailand and Singapore with their advanced
medical facilities and built-in medical tourism options have been
drawing foreign patients of the order of a couple of lakhs per annum,
the rapidly expanding Indian corporate hospital sector has been able
to get a few thousands for treatment.

But, things are going to change drastically in favour of India,

especially in view of the high quality expertise of medical
professionals, backed by the fast improving equipment and nursing
facilities, and above all, the cost-effectiveness of the package.

As Indian corporate hospitals are on par, if not better than the best
hospitals in Thailand, Singapore, etc there is scope for improvement,
and the country may become a preferred medical destination. In
addition to the increasingly top class medical care, a big draw for
foreign patients is also the very minimal or hardly any waitlist as is
common in European or American hospitals. In fact, priority treatment
is provided today in Indian hospitals

The Apollo Group, Escorts Hospitals in New Delhi and Jaslok Hospitals
in Mumbai are to name a few which are established names even
abroad. A list of corporate hospitals such as Global Hospitals, CARE
and Dr L.V. Prasad Eye Hospitals in Hyderabad, The Hindujas and NM
Excellence in Mumbai, also have built capabilities and are handling a
steadily increasing flow of foreign patients. India has much more
expertise than say Thailand or Malaysia. The infrastructure in some of
India's hospitals is also very good. What is more significant is that the
costs are much less, almost one-third of those in other Asian
Madras Joint Replacement Center offers different orthopedic
surgeries. It is located in Chennai, India. It serves patients from all
over India as well as patients coming in from other countries like the
UK, Canada, USA, Africa, and Middle East.

It offers knee surgeries such as knee replacement surgery, joint

replacements, cartilage surgery, and fractures and dislocation.
Surgeries are conducted in an operating theatre with guided airflow.
English speaking nurses are available to attend to the needs of
international patients. A variety of rooms are available for every
budget such as single rooms, suites, and villas. Cable TV and special
menus are offered.

For international patients, tours, reservations, and shopping activities

will be arranged by an overseas patient coordinator. Surgeons use
prosthesis imported from the US such as NexGen prosthesis from
Zimmer LPS, PFC from Johnson & Johnson, Genesis metal from Smith
and Nephew, and Oxford prosthesis from Biomet.

International patients are provided with free airport pick up and drop
facility. Foreign clients who are planning to have their surgical
procedures done can get free opinion from the Knee Surgery Centre
surgeons and ask for a quote.


The Asian Heart Institute or AHI has been founded with an aim of
particularly providing cardiac care in India. It is specifically located in
Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai. The hospital spreads across
a total land area of40,000 square feet. The hospital is just a 15-
minute drive from domestic and international airports. This hospital
has been accredited with ISO 9001:2000, JCI, and NIAHO.

The Asian Heart Institute is a 250-bed facility. It was built according to

and is currently functioning based on the guidelines of the Cleveland
Clinic in USA. The hospital offers different services under various
fields of Medicine. However, it specializes in cardiac care and

This institute has a separate department created for the service of its
international patients. This department takes care of all arrangement
for the patient from arrival in India until departure for their home
country. This department offers special services to foreign patients
such as: airport transportation, hotel accommodation for patient’s
relatives, site seeing, tour, or shopping arrangements, Internet
facilities. Patients also have a wide variety of choices when it comes
to rooms. The hospital has independent large intensive care units,
deluxe suites, deluxe rooms, twin rooms, and common rooms.

Sahara India Pariwar is entering into health care sector with its
first venture a world-class super specialty tertiary care hospital
in Lucknow. State of the art Sahara hospital will offer world
class services not only in India but also in Asia. Sahara hospital
is designed not just for the eyes but also to touch your heart.
With dedicated, expert and experienced doctors around, you
are assured of the quality, compassionate care and healing
touch. Sahara hospital will provide high quality & cost effective
services, coupled with the warmth and caring nature that only
true Indian hospitality can provide .
Location :Lucknow

Fortis Healthcare, India was established in 1996 by the
promoters of Ranbaxy Laboratories, among the world's top 10
generic companies, also India's largest pharma company.
Founded by the late Dr. Parvinder Singh, the architect of
Ranbaxy's growth, Fortis Healthcare, India is driven by the
founder's vision of "creating a world-class integrated healthcare
delivery system in India, entailing the finest medical skills
combined with compassionate patient care". From the pursuit
of this mission emanates a passion to excel. Fortis has
assembled the finest talents in medicine, be they doctors,
nurses or technicians, and even management professionals
across a wide spectrum. Enabling them to deliver the highest
quality of healthcare are state-of-the art facilities and support
infrastructure at each of their hospitals.
Location : Delhi. Noida, Mohali & Amritsa
Columbia Asia is a consortium of healthcare companies
operating across the Asian continent, with hospitals in India,
Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. There are 13 Columbia Asia
facilities in operation, 14 under construction and the land
purchased for another 12. Most of the growth will be in the
company's largest market - India. The consortium has hospitals
in India, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. There are 13
Columbia Asia facilities in operation, 14 under construction by
this fall and the land purchased for another 12. Most of the
growth will be in the company's largest market - India.

Location :Gurgaon,Bangalore,kolkata


Max Heart & Vascular Institute, Saket - A 200 bed state-of-the-

art cardiac care facility located in the heart of the capital,
designed to provide highest levels of professional expertise in
the disciplines of Cardiology, Cardio-thoracic and Vascular
surgery. The institute houses advanced diagnostic services
including 64 slice CT scanner and comprehensive nuclear
medicine services ,Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket- More
than 200 beds facility having centres of excellence in
Neurosciences (Neurology & Neurosurgery), Orthopaedics &
Joint Replacement Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology,
Paediatrics and Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery. The
institute also has all support specialities like Bariatric &
Minimally Access Surgery, Dentistry, Endocrinology, ENT,
Gastroenterology, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Mental
Health & Behavioural Sciences, Nephrology, Ophthalmology,
Preventive Health Programme, Pulmonology, Rehabilitative
Services and Urology. Max Super Speciality Hospitalis the only
hospital in the Asia Pacific region to have the world's most
advanced neurosurgical operating theatre - BrainSUITE.

Max Balaji Hospital, Patparganj; Max Hospital, Pitampura; Max

Hospital, Noida & Max Hospital, Gurgaon: These facilities cater
to the healthcare requirements in East, North-West Delhi, Noida
& Gurgaon respectively. Noida & Gurgaon are the satellite
townships of Delhi.

Max Medcentre and Max Speciality Clinic(Eye Care & Dental

Care), Panchsheel Park: Speciality OPDs and dedicated centres
for Dental Care and Eye Care take care of one's preventive &
primary healthcare requirements.

A state of the art 400 Bed facility equipped with latest
technology and truly World class Clinical Talent dedicated to
the whole range of Cardiac, Orthopedic, Neurosciences,
Minimal Access Surgery and Women & Child Services
Wockhardt Hospitals has come to be known as Asia's preferred
medical destination, then Wockhardt Hospital is the choice for
Super-Specialty healthcare.

Each specialty has leading full-time consultants, backed by

comprehensive, best-in-class technology and allied, well-
trained para-medical staff to provide world-class services,
including 24/7 emergency services.

Location : Banglore & Mumbai

The Apollo Hospitals Group is recognized as the 'Architect of
Healthcare' in India.Its history of accomplishments, with its
unique ability of resource management and able deployment of
technology and knowledge to the service of mankind, justifies
its recognition within the Healthcare Industry in India and
abroad. Today, Apollo Hospitals Group is the uncontested
leader in the delivery of healthcare of international standards
within the Asian subcontinent. Apollo Hospitals today has
become the healthcare destination for the global community,
particularly for the Asian continent providing them with
healthcare comparable with the best in the world.

Location : Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hydrabad,Banglore, Chennai &



Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) is a prestigious 500

bed multispeciality hospital, at Trivandrum, and is the first
venture of 'KIMS Health Care Management Limited', a Public
Limited Company. Commissioned in the year 2002 January, this
hospital with state of the art infrastructure is easily accessible
by road & rail. KIMS has established itself as an eminent brand
with state of the art facilities and is fast developing into a
world-class center of health care, learning and research.

More than 1000 highly trained, skilled and motivated medical

and para-medical staff handles most modern diagnostic and
operational equipments. General facilities, medical and surgical
results at KIMS are comparable with the best in the world. The
exceptional facilities at KIMS, which has been awarded the ISO
9001:2000 certificate, include a high end Cardiac Catherisation
Laboratory, Hi-Tech Operation Theatres, A 24-hour emergency
department, MRI, CT Scan, facility for Open Heart Surgery,
Blood Bank, Neurology and Neurosurgery departments,
Arthroscopy and joint replacements, Cosmetic, microvascular
and reconstruction surgeries, etc. KIMS as pioneer has taken
big leap in Medical Tourism. It is presently empanelled with
Government and Semi-Government Institutions in India,
Republic of Maldives, Sultanate of Oman, Bahrain, UAE and UK.
Today constantly growing number of International patients are
arriving from USA, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The
satisfied smile and good will of these returning patients are the
marketing tools of KIMS.

Location: Trivandrum


Apollo Hospitals \group, the largest private healthcare network
outside the United States welcomes Apollo Victor Hospitals,
Margao, and Goa. This 150 - bedded multi-specialty, tertiary
care super-specialty hospital is poised to emerge as a
benchmark in quality, standards in healthcare delivery.The
skilled nurses, technologists and administrators at Apollo Victor
Hospital, Margao, Goa aided by the state of art equipment will
provide a congenial infrastructure for the medical professionals
to offer healthcare of international standards.

Location : Goa


Sir Ganga Ram Hospital is a 650-bed multi-specialty state-of-
the-art hospital in Delhi. It provides comprehensive health care
services, and has acquired the status of a premier medical
institution. It is the only hospital in the private sector that has
maintained nearly 100% bed occupancy due to its reputation of
providing the highest level of medical services to patients from
Delhi and neighbouring states. Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New
Delhi continues to maintain its charitable character in
accordance with to the wishes of its founder. Funds generated
from the hospital services are partially utilised for providing
free health care to the poor and needy patients. All
development activities of the hospital are financed from
internal resources, with no financial assistance provided by the
government or other external agencies. The hospital is
governed by a Board of Management comprising medical
consultants of eminence, some with an international standing.
The Board of Management operates under the overall guidance
of the Sir Ganga Ram Trust Society of which Dr. Bharat Ram, an
eminent industrialist is the current chairman.

Location : New Delhi


AIIMS’ contribution in the fields of medical education, research

and specialized treatment is widely acknowledged. The main
object of the institute is to demonstrate high standard of
medical education, training of personnel and to conduct
experiments and research in various disciplines of medical


Located at Delhi and Faridabad

Escorts are steadily consolidating its presence in healthcare,

which is likely to emerge as the largest service sector industry.
Currently, Escorts is operating three large hospitals in New
Delhi, Faridabad and Amritsar. Together with 11 heart
command centres and associate hospitals, Escorts is managing
nearly 900 beds.
Escorts excellence in providing healthcare services has
received due recognition. Escorts Heart Institute and Research
Centre (EHIRC), New Delhi, has been ranked as the best cardiac
hospital in India by an Outlook-Cfore survey and has been
given the highest grade by CRISIL - an acknowledgement of the
quality of delivered patient care.

EHIRC is a leader in the fields of cardiac surgery, interventional

cardiology and cardiac diagnostics. The Institute has introduced
innovative techniques of minimally invasive and robotic
surgery. The Institute's latest addition of state-of-the-art
Cardiac Scan Centre providing a combined power of CV-MRI
and Smart Score CT Scanner to diagnose coronary artery
disease at its very early stage. This facility is the first of its kind
outside America. State-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment
has made this set-up technically the largest and the best
dedicated cardiac hospital in the world. The 332-bed Institute
has nine operating rooms and carries out nearly 15,000
procedures every year.


Located at Mumbai

An ultramodern hospital on the busiest artery in Central

Mumbai, PD Hinduja National Hospital & Medical Research
Centre was established by the Hinduja Foundation in
collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH),
Boston. The fulfillment of Founder Parmanand Deepchand
Hinduja's dream, the 351-bed hospital offers comprehensive
services covering the gamut from diagnosis and investigation
to therapy, surgery and post-operative care. As a tertiary care
hospital, the services offered are comprehensive covering
investigation & diagnosis to therapy, surgery & post-operative

The inpatient services are complemented with a day centre,

out-patient facilities and an exclusive center for health check
for executives. Hinduja Hospital was the first multi disciplinary
tertiary care hospital to have been awarded the prestigious ISO
9002 Certification from KEMA of Netherlands for Quality
Management System

The Hinduja Foundation's quest for up gradation of healthcare

facilities in India has prompted it to join hands with the 32,000
member American Association of Physicians of Indian origin
(AAPI), with the objective of bringing to India well qualified and
experienced doctors from USA to upgrade the expertise of HNH
doctors, provide quality medical care and continuing medical
education; to ensure co-operation in research and pursue joint
projects in the fields of: Coronary artery disease, Osteoporosis
and Asthma; and to provide consultancy, technology and
treatment support to AAPI dispensaries in India on case to case

Cutting Edge Technology in Diagnostics

Hinduja Hospital has a fully automated Laboratory Medicine
Department. The Laboratory offers over 500 different types of
tests some of, which are exclusive. It also offers an
emergency / Stat menu of tests with a very short turn around

The department participates in International Quality Control

programme conducted by the College of American Pathologists,
WHO & National Quality Control Programme where it has
achieved and maintained a high ranking consistently for a
number of years. Imaging forms a key part of the diagnostic
facility at the hospital.

Technology Upgrades
The hospital keeps upgrading its technology by acquiring new
state-of-the-art diagnostic & therapeutic equipment. Hinduja
Hospital was the first in India to acquire the Gamma Knife-gold
standard in Radio surgery, a non-invasive neurosurgical tool.
The hospital was also the first to acquire the Holmium Laser in
the country thus replacing the surgeon's scalpel. The Oncology
Services are wholistic & complete with installation of the Linear
Accelerator with Multileaf Collimator (MLC) & Micro MLC. The
hospital is the first centre in India to have installed the
sophisticated state of the art GE-LCA Digital Subtraction
Angiography System. In keeping with the quest for continuos
improvement in quality & technological advancement, the
hospital has recently commissioned the Bone Mineral
Densitometer (DEXA), an addition to the Imaging department.



With united states of America and united kingdom-
Significant cost differences exist between U.K. and India when
it comes to medical treatment.

India is not only cheaper but the waiting time is almost nil. This
is due to the outburst of the private sector which comprises of
hospitals and clinics with the latest technology and best

Procedure Charges in India & USA –

Procedure United States India (USD) Approx

(USD) Approx

Bone Marrow Transplant USD 2,50,000 USD 69,200

Liver Transplant USD 3,00,000 USD 69,350

Heart Surgery USD 30,000 USD 8,700

Orthopedic Surgery USD 20,000 USD 6,300

Cataract Surgery USD 2,000 USD 1,350

Smile Designing USD 8,000 USD 1,100

Metal Free Bridge USD 5,500 USD 600

Dental Implants USD 3,500 USD 900

Porcelain Metal Bridge USD 3,000 USD 600

Porcelain Metal Crown USD 1,000 USD 100

Tooth Impactions USD 2,000 USD 125

Root Canal Treatment USD 1,000 USD 110

Tooth Whitening USD 800 USD 125

Tooth Colored Composite USD 500 USD 30

Fillings / Tooth Cleaning USD 300 USD 90

United states India (USD)

(USD) Approx Approx
Breast : -Mastopexy -Reduction
USD 7,500 USD USD 2,800 USD
Mammoplasty -Mammoplasty
8,000 USD 8,000 3,300 USD 2,750
Augmentation -Replacement Of
USD 6,500 USD 3,000
Face : -Blepheroplasty (Upper & Lower) USD 6,000 USD USD 2,000 USD
-Facelift -Dermabrasion (Total face) 6,500 USD 5,500 2,800 USD 2,150
-Canthopexy w/Orbicularis suspension USD 6,000 USD 50 USD 2,200 USD 3
-Hair Transplant -Endoscopic Brow lift Per graft USD Per graft USD
-Neck lift -Otoplasty(For prominent 5,800 USD 6,100 2,300 USD 2,400
Ears) USD 4,700 USD 1,500
Nose : -Primary Rhinoplasty -Tip USD 7,300 USD USD 2,900 USD
Rhynoplasty 6,300 1,300
Body Contouring : -Abdominoplasty
USD 7,700 USD USD 3,200 USD
-Thigh Lift (Bilateral) -Total Lower Body
7,200 USD 9,500 3,150 USD 6,000
Lift(Belt Lipectomy) -Liposuction (One
USD 6,100 USD 1,750
Non – Surgical Procedures: -Laser
Hair Removal -Laser Resurfacing/ USD 225 USD 225
550 USD 575 USD
Wrinkle Reduction -Laser Acne USD 230 USD 210
500 USD 70 Per
Treatment -Laser Scar Treatment – USD 8 Per Unit

# These costs are an average and may not be the

actual cost to be incurred.


Significant cost differences exist between U.K. and India when it comes
to medical treatment. Accompanied with the cost are waiting times
which exist in U.K. for patients which range from 3 months to
over months.

India is not only cheaper but the waiting time is almost nil. This is due
to the outburst of the private sector, which comprises of hospitals and
clinics with the latest technology and best practitioners.

United Kingdom (USD) India (USD)

Approx Approx
Open Heart Surgery USD 18,000 USD 4,800
Cranio-Facial surgery and skull
USD 13,000 USD 4,500
Neuro- surgery with
USD 21,000 USD 6,800
Complex spine surgery with
USD 13,000 USD 4,600
Simple Spine Surgery USD 6,500 USD 2,300
Simple Brain Tumor -Biopsy USD1,200 USD
USD 4,300 USD 10,000
-Surgery 4,600
USD 2,300 USD
- Lesion USD 6,500 USD 26,000
Hip Replacement USD 13,000 USD 4,500

Primarily, it is the low cost of treatment and medicines in India. There

is no compromise on the quality of medical services, which can
confidently compete, with that of even the most developed nations.
India has achieved universally acclaimed standards in complex and
significant procedures such as cosmetic surgery, dentistry, joint care
and heart surgery. And all this at 1/10th of the price compared to
developed nations.

A bone marrow transplant procedure that takes $250,000 in the U.S.

can be performed at $25,000 in India. A heart surgery that costs
50,000 $ in USA can be availed of at 10,000$ in hospitals with the
most advanced facilities. A regular medical check up, blood tests, X-
rays and ultrasounds, which make one poorer by 574$ in London
rounds is available at 84$ in most Indian diagnostic centers.

More over the overhead costs like traveling, lodging, sightseeing, food
and shopping are very affordable in India. The situation is further
complimented by favorable currency exchange rates for medical
tourists and India’s reputation for hospitality.

A well-repeated argument posed against the concept of medical

tourism in India is that in the world community, India is not
traditionally regarded as a health conscious country. The stagnating
drains and open latrines convey a rather dismal message about our
health care system. Moreover, not everyone can have fun in the
backwaters of Kerala after a major cardiac surgery or relax on the
beaches of Goa after a hip replacement.

Nevertheless, the statistics vote for India and the practical

experiences vouch for Indian medical services. No argument can deny
the 95000 international patients treated at the Apollo group of
hospitals. With a 30%, annual growth in India’s health industry India is
certainly all set to become a ‘global health destination’.
The countries where medical tourism is being actively promoted
include Greece, South Africa, Jordan, India, Malaysia, Philippines and
Singapore. India is a recent entrant into medical tourism. According to
a study by McKinsey and the Confederation of Indian Industry,
medical tourism in India could become a $1 billion business by 2012.
The report predicts that: "By 2012, if medical tourism were to reach
25 per cent of revenues of private up-market players, up to Rs 10,000
crore will be added to the revenues of these players". The Indian
government predicts that India's $17-billion-a-year health-care
industry could grow 13 per cent in each of the next six years, boosted
by medical tourism, which industry watchers say is growing at 30 per
cent annually.

In India, the Apollo group alone has so far treated 95,000

international patients, many of whom are of Indian origin. Apollo has
been a forerunner in medical tourism in India and attracts patients
from Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The group has tied
up with hospitals in Mauritius, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Yemen
besides running a hospital in Sri Lanka, and managing a hospital in

Another corporate group running a chain of hospitals, Escorts, claims

it has doubled its number of overseas patients - from 675 in 2000 to
nearly 1,200 this year. Recently, the Ruby Hospital in Kolkata signed a
contract with the British insurance company, BUPA. The management
hopes to get British patients from the queue in the National Health
Services soon. Some estimates say that foreigners account for 10 to
12 per cent of all patients in top Mumbai hospitals despite roadblocks
like poor aviation connectivity, poor road infrastructure and absence
of uniform quality standards.

Analysts say that as many as 150,000 medical tourists came to India

last year. However, the current market for medical tourism in India is
mainly limited to patients from the Middle East and South Asian
economies. Some claim that the industry would flourish even without
Western medical tourists. Afro-Asian people spend as much as $20
billion a year on health care outside their countries - Nigerians alone
spend an estimated $1 billion a year. Most of this money would be
spent in Europe and America, but it is hoped that this would now be
increasingly directed to developing countries with advanced facilities.


The key "selling points" of the medical tourism industry are its "cost
effectiveness" and its combination with the attractions of tourism. The
latter also uses the ploy of selling the "exotica" of the countries
involved as well as the packaging of health care with traditional
therapies and treatment methods.

Price advantage is, of course, a major selling point. The slogan, thus
is, "First World treatment' at Third World prices". The cost differential
across the board is huge: only a tenth and sometimes even a
sixteenth of the cost in the West. Open-heart surgery could cost up to
$70,000 in Britain and up to $150,000 in the US; in India's best
hospitals it could cost between $3,000 and $10,000. Knee surgery (on
both knees) costs 350,000 rupees ($7,700) in India; in Britain this
costs £10,000 ($16,950), more than twice as much. Dental, eye and
cosmetic surgeries in Western countries cost three to four times as
much as in India.

The price advantage is however offset today for patients from the
developed countries by concerns regarding standards, insurance
coverage and other infrastructure. This is where the tourism and
medical industries are trying to pool resources, and also putting
pressure on the government. We shall turn to their implications later.

In India the strong tradition of traditional systems of health care in

Kerala, for example, is utilized. Kerala Ayurveda centres have been
established at multiple locations in various metro cities, thus
highlighting the advantages of Ayurveda in health management. The
health tourism focus has seen Kerala participate in various trade
shows and expos wherein the advantages of this traditional form of
medicine are showcased.

A generic problem with medical tourism is that it reinforces the

medicalised view of health care. By promoting the notion that medical
services can be bought off the shelf from the lowest priced provider
anywhere in the globe, it also takes away the pressure from the
government to provide comprehensive health care to all its citizens. It
is a deepening of the whole notion of health care that is being pushed
today which emphasizes on technology and private enterprise.

The important question here is for whom is 'cost effective' services to

be provided. Clearly the services are "cost effective" for those who
can pay and in addition come from countries where medical care
costs are exorbitant - because of the failure of the government to
provide affordable medical care. It thus attracts only a small fraction
that can pay for medical care and leaves out large sections that are
denied medical care but cannot afford to pay. The demand for cost
effective specialized care is coming from the developed countries
where there has been a decline in public spending and rise in life
expectancy and non-communicable diseases that requires specialist


India offers world-class healthcare that costs substantially less than

those in developed countries, using the same technology delivered by
competent Specialists attaining similar success rates.

If a liver transplants costs in the range of 137,867 USD - 160,845 USD

in Europe and double that in the US, a few Indian hospitals have the
wherewithal to do it in around 34,466 USD - 45,955 USD. Similarly, if
a heart surgery in the US costs about Rs 45,955 USD, a leading Indian
hospital will do it in roughly 4,595 USD.

Procedure Charges in India & US (US $):

Procedure Cost (US$)

United States India
Bone Marrow Transplant 2,50,000 69,000
Liver Transplant 3,00,000 69,000
Heart Surgery 30,000 8,000
Orthopedic Surgery 20,000 6,000
Cataract Surgery 2,000 1,250
Here's a brief comparison of the cost of few of the Dental treatment
procedures between USA and India

Dental Procedure Cost in USA ($) Cost in India ($)

General Dentist
Top End Dentist
Top End Dentist
Smile designing - 8,000 1,000
Metal Free Bridge - 5,500 500
Dental Implants - 3,500 800
Porcelain Metal Bridge 1,800 3,000 300
Porcelain Metal Crown 600 1,000 80
Tooth impactions 500 2,000 100
Root canal Treatment 600 1,000 100
Tooth whitening 350 800 110
Tooth colored composite
200 500 25
Tooth cleaning 100 300 75

Medical tourism in India has evolved at a great pace and the Indian
sub-continent attracts patients from Southeast Asia, Africa and the
Middle East.
India’s medical tourism sector is a growing source of foreign
exchange as well as prestige and goodwill outside the country. Having
supported medical tourism’s rapid growth, the government is under
pressure to find ways to make the sector of benefit to public health
services that are used by most of India’s 1.1 billion populations.

Indian consulates and missions abroad face a growing number of

inquiries about “M” or medical visas. The Indian Ministry of Tourism’s
13 overseas offices are stocked with information for those intending
to travel to India for medical treatment. The new M-visas are valid for
a year and are issued for companions too.
Howard Staab, a 53-year-old from the United States, is one such
tourist. His smiling face figures in the glossy brochure on medical
tourism produced as part of Incredible India, the government’s big-
budget marketing campaign to attract tourists. India’s efforts to
promote medical tourism took off in late 2002, when the
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) produced a study on the
country’s medical tourism sector, in collaboration with international
management consultants, McKinsey & Company, which outlined
immense potential for the sector.
The following year, then finance minister Jaswant Singh called for the
country to become a “global health destination” and urged measures,
such as improvements in airport infrastructure, to smooth the arrival
and departure of medical tourists.
Medical tourism is an example of how India is profiting from
globalization and outsourcing. It is also a new form of consumer
diplomacy, whereby foreigners who receive medical services in India
help the country to promote itself as a business and tourism
India hosts medical tourists from industrialized countries, such as the
United Kingdom and the United States, but also from its neighbours
Bangladesh, China and Pakistan. It faces intense regional competition
in this sector, particularly from Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
A wide-range of services are on offer. Ministry of tourism brochures
advertise cardiac surgery, minimally invasive surgery, oncology
services, orthopedics and joint replacement, and holistic health care,
provided by about 45 hospitals promoted as “centres of excellence”.
Health tourism is often hailed as a sector where developing countries,
such as India, have huge potential due to their comparative
advantage based on providing world-class treatment at low prices
combined with attractive resorts for convalescence.
The CII estimates that 150 000 medical tourists came to India in 2005,
based on feedback from the organization’s member hospitals. Figures
for M-visa entrants are not readily available. CII spokesperson Aditya
Bahadur told the Bulletin that patients prefer to come on ordinary
tourist visas to avoid the M-visa’s requirement that they register with
the regional authorities within two weeks of arrival.
A ministry of tourism brochure predicts a “phenomenal expansion” of
the Indian health-care industry. According to the Federation of Indian
Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the health-care market, which
includes health insurance, is expected to expand by 2012 from US$
22.2 billion, or 5.2% of gross domestic product (GDP), to between US$
50 billion and US$ 69 billion, or 6.2% and 8.5% of GDP.
While impressive, these figures do not address the divide between
facilities oriented towards medical tourism and those that cater to the
health needs of the average, usually rural, Indian.
According the World Health Organization (WHO), private expenditure
on health as a percentage of total expenditure on health in 2003 was
75%. That contrasted starkly with government expenditure of 25% in
the same year, a portion which finances public health facilities that
cater to most of India’s population.
Fewer than 50% of India’s primary health centres have a labor room
or a laboratory, while fewer than one in five have a telephone
connection, according to the 2005 Reproductive and Child Health
Facility Survey. Moreover, fewer than one in three primary health-care
centres stocked essential drugs, in contrast to the situation in many
new urban medical centres.
Health care in India’s rural districts is poor, dogged by shortages of
trained health workers, a lack of funds and corruption. Many patients
resort to quacks or seek no medical care at all, since private
practitioners are beyond the means of most.
In contrast, to provide a guarantee of service quality for medical
tourists, the Indian Ministry of Health has begun accrediting hospitals
and recommending prices for services. So far 35 hospitals have
applied for accreditation.
CII has a certification system and has already approved 30 of its 120
hospital members. Under the CII system, certified hospitals must
agree to limit charges to foreigners as part of a dual pricing-system
that offers domestic patients lower prices. Non-resident Indian
medical tourists are charged the same as any others from abroad.
Still, even these lower prices are too high for the vast majority of
India’s 1.1 billion population. The CII group, which also has an ethical
code for member hospitals, is establishing a regulatory framework for
its own members, raising questions about how effective such self-
imposed rules can be.
CII lawyers are also drawing up a standard contract to ensure that any
litigation, arising from treatment, is dealt with in Indian courts.
Currently, neither medical tourists nor Indian patients can take their
cases to Indian courts. Their only recourse is India’s State and
National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, which have a
huge backlog.
“Any litigation launched against an Indian hospital will expose the
poor system of justice that exists here,” said Dr Mohan Thomas,
medical director of the Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Mumbai and
Chairman of CII’s Healthcare Committee.
But while helping to strengthen medical tourism, the Indian
government is coming under increasing pressure to use these foreign
exchange revenues to benefit the ailing and under-resourced public
health system.
The private sector hospitals argue that trickle-down payments for
hotels and other services will improve the economy as a whole. But
public health advocates say that, unless the Indian government
actually allocates more of its revenues to public health systems, the
impact will be negligible.
“The government has not examined how our patients will benefit
[from medical tourism] or whether they will lose out,” Dr Nilima
Kshirsagar, dean of one of Mumbai’s largest public hospitals, the King
Edward Memorial, told the Bulletin. “The need to benefit Indian
patients is the main goal, and medical tourism cannot be at their
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently acknowledged the need
improve public health care: “There are many parts of our country
where public-sector intervention in health is absolutely essential to
carry conviction with our people and to improve the quality of delivery
of services.”
As the medical tourism sector grows, however, little is known about
the impact this is having on its health workforce. Private hospitals
argue that medical tourism reverses the brain drain and that health
workers, who are migrating to economies where salaries are higher
and career opportunities more attractive, will stay in India if they can
work in the medical tourism sector.
There are fears, however, that medical tourism could worsen the
internal brain drain and lure professionals from the public sector and
rural areas to take jobs in urban centres.
“Although there are no ready figures that can be cited from studies,
initial observations suggest that medical tourism dampens external
migration but worsens internal migration,” said Dr Manuel Dayrit,
director of WHO’s Human Resources for Health department.
“It remains to be seen how significant these effects are going to be.
But in either case, it does not augur well for the health care of
patients who depend largely on the public sector for their services as
the end result does not contribute to the retention of well-qualified
professionals in the public sector services,” Dayrit said.
Dayrit disagreed with medical tourism proponents, who argue that
some revenues from medical tourism will find their way into public
coffers to help retain staff in the public sector. “Unless national laws
or regulations are set up so that these revenues are taxed explicitly
and channeled to the public sector to augment salaries, the likelihood
of this happening is very slim,” he said.