In the last decade, medical tourism has hit the tipping point as a viable alternative to overpriced domestic procedures. Why buy a $3,000 dental crown treatment in the United States when you can get the same thing–plus a flight, hotel, and fun tourism opportunities–for less in Hungary?
Here are the 10 best countries for medical tourism, ranked by appeal, specialties, and popularity:
If you’re interested in latest-craze stem cell treatment, look to the Baltics for treatment. Haematopoietic stem cell transplantation, which helps cancer patients and people with blood diseases, is all the rage in Vilnius, the capitol of Lithuania. They also do more mundane treatments, like gastric bypass and back surgery.
Every year, nearly 200,000 people head to Turkey for eye treatments like Lasik surgery. Once your new peepers are intact, tourism companies bus you around to see beautiful sites, like the Blue Mosque. Sounds like a deal!
Ayurvedic treatments, yoga, and meditation have long been staples of Indian health tourism. Now, millions of people are also taking annual “dental holidays” to India because quality procedures can be as much as 10 times cheaper than at home. For example, a root canal only costs about $100.
Israel is famous for its low-cost cancer treatment centers. Once that marrow transplant takes, you can recover with special therapies that use Dead Sea mineral salts. Much of the population speaks English–an added bonus.
6. Costa Rica
Costa Ricans are famous for growing old gracefully. Now we know why: Costa Rica is leading the world in what they like to call “age management” in beautifully-located “medical spas.”
Austrians and Germans have been crossing the border here to get work done for years. German influence and an influx of former healthcare professionals have contributed to Hungary’s state-of-the-art medical technology. Dental procedures, from crowns to root canals, cost 40-60% less than western prices. Apparently, the anaesthesia is world class–but you probably won’t remember.
Prices for plastic surgery in Egypt are 60-70% lower than corresponding treatments in the US or UK. A thigh liposuction, for example, is done for a mere $260 in Egypt. The same procedure can cost up to $2,000 in the US and $3,000 in the UK.
3. South Africa
South Africa specializes in medical safaris. You visit the country for a safari, make a stopover for plastic surgery, and get the chance to see lions and elephants. The first human heart transplant was performed here in 1967, so quality shouldn’t be of concern.
Malaysia’s quality of care, low prices, and beautiful beaches attract customers seeking a range of treatments. You can get your knee replaced, face lifted, and cataracts removed, then spend hours recovering on the serene beach.
Thailand’s King Bhumipol’s father, Prince Mahidol, made it his life’s work to modernize the healthcare system in Thailand. During his time, he convinced the Rockefeller Foundation to fund an American medical education for a group of Thai men and women, leading to the creation of one of the world’s best medical systems. Phuket, Thailand is world renowned for “aesthetic” plastic surgery procedures such as otoplasty and blepharoplasty-your ears and eyelids will look stunning.