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Is health travel a smart option?

You have probably read about it, but what does it really involve? More and more people seem to be traveling in search of expert health care these days. It is a big thing to undertake, especially for those who are in poor health to begin with, yet many say it was well worth their while.

If you have been thinking about getting an unusual procedure, could it be worthwhile for you?

Why do people travel?

There are two main reasons why people undertake health travel: because of a medical need that cannot be addressed close to home, and because they want to improve their bodies.

This latter situation does not necessarily mean it is something trivial – for instance, some people travel to have facial scars treated so that they can be more confident in public spaces, with Thailand well ahead of most countries in the art of facial reconstruction.

Sometimes the doctors available locally simply cannot help with a particular kind of treatment; people travel to see HealthQuest’s Dr. Sol Cogan, for example, and similar professionals.

Although all countries seek to develop the necessary resources for treating common health issues, when it comes to rarer issues there is often a limited amount they can do, while international centers of expertise, where leading specialists happen to come together, then attract more.

Such centers are often supported by hotels that aim their services directly at health travelers, and though the quality of such services varies in different locales, they generally make the experience of traveling much easier.

Finding specialists

Some countries are particularly well-equipped to provide specific types of medical service:

  • Czech Republic – nose reshaping and reconstruction.
  • Poland – breast enlargement procedures.
  • Turkey – hair transplants and scalp treatments.
  • Greece – pre-implantation genetic diagnosis for embryos (PGD).
  • Belgium – weight loss surgeries and gastric balloons.

Alongside this, there are areas of more general expertise.

Portugal, for instance, has excellent clinics offering a range of popular plastic surgeries; it is only marginally cheaper than the US, but patients can be confident that standards are high, and they can get the benefit of recovering in beautiful rural surroundings.

Important considerations

Many people are attracted to the idea of health travel because they can find the procedure they want available for a lower cost abroad, but it is important to calculate the cost of the entire trip before working out if this really represents a saving.

It is also important to look into the quality of the hospital as a really good surgical record does not necessarily mean you can be confident of things such as good general hygiene. That said, you should not assume that a poorer country necessarily means poorer service – there are quite a few places where you might be pleasantly surprised by the standard of service.

As more and more places cater to health travelers, it is getting easier to find clinics with staff who speak good English, making every aspect of treatment simpler. The health travel market is adapting to suit its customers, making it a better option than ever before.

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