24 Jan Is medical or dental tourism really worth it?
For those of you that don’t know, medical tourism is traveling to another country to get a medical or dental procedure done, generally at a heavily discounted price. Depending on the procedures done, you can even get a free vacation out of it for the price difference. Is it really worth it? What is the quality like? Are they going to mess it up so you have to get it fixed again when you get back home? These are all important questions. We have a few points consider before you jump in with both feet.
This is the cornerstone of any medical tourism. Do your research. Though the research is not as easy as it would be in the states, there are still ways. There are medical organizations, online reviews, referral services, or if you know someone there, even better. Spend some time researching who you will go to, it will make a big difference.
First and foremost you want to make sure you are safe. You don’t want to be having some open heart surgery in a back alley clinic (not really a possibility but you get the idea). Make sure they have sufficient facilities and the latest training. You can also query them for their experience and credentials. See what organizations they belong to and what qualifications they have.
You can often search the term “western trained” and it helps. It doesn’t mean that non-western trained is bad; it just means that it will be more what you are used to. Like anywhere, even in the states, there are hacks and there are pros, and just like the states, you have to find the ones you want to go to. Some places are just as professional and high quality as the best medical facilities in the USA, and other places not so much. It is up to you to make sure you get to the right ones. Remember though, there is a whole country that is using these medical professionals, so they are still trained professionals.
Depending on what you want to be done, different countries offer different things. Thailand has a very strong medical tourism industry, and people from all over the world go there for things are serious as open heart or brain surgery, so it is generally one of the best choices. Thailand is also top of the list for plastic surgery. Though again, do your research just like you would in the states. Some of the hospitals in Thailand can even be confused with luxury hotels, as they are embracing medical tourism strongly. Mexico is closer for the states and also has some amazing medical practitioners. We have had dental work done in the Philippines, and it’s about 20% of the cost of the USA. The office we went to was western trained and you would not know you were in another country, it was the same as our dentist in the states.
Use common sense
Something that a lot of people seem to lack, just use common sense. If it is too cheap, you are probably not going to get the same service as if you pay a bit more. Paying more in another country will still be a significant discount on a local doctor, so it’s worth splurging a bit. If you go and you don’t feel comfortable with the facilities, you can always find another place when you are there. Just plan enough time for whatever procedure you want. If you are getting serious dental work done, don’t plan to visit for a weekend, plan for a week or 2. If you are going to get an operation, plan for recovery as well. The nice part is you can recover with a private nurse in a resort instead of at home, and still save money.
Get references, same as if you were in the states. Check reviews and check their certifications. It is also a good idea to talk to your local medical practitioner before you go, though they might paint a more gloom and doom set of warnings, as they are losing the business, they can still guide you the right way if they know you are going to do it anyway.
The best part, besides the lowered cost, is you can get a free vacation out of it for the price difference. For example, dental, if you were getting a few crowns and an implant, the money you would save will more than cover a luxury resort and the flight there. If you are going to do things, you might as well get the most out of it.
In our opinion, medical tourism is worth it, as long as you do the research and make sure you are going to a reputable and skilled professional. We can’t emphasize that enough. Just like in the states, if you do not do your research you can end up with a huge disaster that will follow you for years. Your health is the most important thing you have, so treat it wisely. Of course if you are rich, we would say hit one of the top hospitals in the world with the top doctors, but unfortunately, we aren’t all rich, so we have to find ways to get the best for the least, and medical tourism is a good way.