Once you have made the decision to have elective and non-emergency surgery, time becomes your friend because there is less pressure for an immediate decision. By beginning the research into that facelift or similar procedure, you learn the similarities and differences of your home country’s medical practices and may consider becoming a medical tourist, which is the method of traveling outside your home country for surgical or medical treatment. Let’s see why some prefer to leave their country for important events such as a surgery.
The Lure Of Lower Cost
For example, you need a tummy tuck. Such procedures list at A$8,000 in Thailand and A$30,000 in Australia. There is an old saying warning against “Knowing The Price Of Everything And The Value Of Nothing,” and that may well apply to medical tourism. Add the cost of your travel to your surgery and work the numbers.
Southeast Asia Experiences Growth In Medical Tourism
Recent estimates prove that more than 15,000 Australians per year seek medical treatment abroad. This means that countries such as Thailand cater to their clients’ needs to the best of their ability to obtain a share of the more than A$300 million estimated spent on overseas medical treatment. Local insurance companies have recently promoted medical tourism packages for cosmetic surgery and dental care.
What Exactly Does Medical Tourism Mean?
Medical tourism covers cosmetic surgery and dental procedures such as crowns and implants. The term expands to mean eye, cardiac, orthopedic surgeries and gastric bypasses. By including wellness checks and fertility treatments, you can see that medical tourism offers a wide range of services in non-emergency care. Let’s continue into getting more details on the travel itself.
Airlines Restrict Travel For Post-Operatives
Airlines recognize that post-operatives are at risk for infections that may include bringing home a resistant strain of bacteria. For these reasons, airlines seek to minimize health risks to vulnerable passengers who need days or even weeks to travel safely. Restrictions on mobility serve to make strenuous travel more difficult and since the threat of deep venous thrombosis and embolisms, commonly known as blood clots, exists even in healthy passengers, airlines do not allow travel within 24 hours of superficial plastic surgery. More complex surgeries require from one to four days clearance afterwards before flying. Pressurization in a cruising aircraft is lower than regular pressurization and since surgery within the eye has the potential for air to be trapped, there is a waiting period of from eight to 42 days to avoid serious eye complications.
Regulation Of Medical Tourism
The Australian health care profession provides offshore accreditation through the Australian Council On Healthcare Standards (ACHS) upon request. This is particularly important because some offshore procedures and treatments are non-approved and experimental, such as stem cell cancer treatments. By marketing to selected medical tourists with specialized needs, hospitals corner their share of the market and need accreditation to ensure high quality training of personnel, operative and post-operative care. For instance, there are 42 Joint Commission International accredited hospitals in Thailand alone. By now, you have researched thoroughly and need a list of questions to guarantee the best possible outcome.
Questions To Ask
- Is the medical facility accredited?
- Is its staff qualified and credentialed?
- How does my procedure compare here and abroad statistically for complications?
- How about pre- and post-operative care?
- Can I go behind the scenes to discover who is financing the facility?
- Can I visit the facility and meet the staff, even if only online?
Take a moment to consider travel as if you were not going to have a procedure. If you pin down details six to eight weeks before travel time, you feel more secure. The same situation applies when you factor in consulting with your home physician to gather advice and the best sense of being well cared for.