A full facelift, post-op medications, plus eight days in a luxe recovery center costs only $6,000 in Costa Rica – just one of many countries reaping financial rewards of the medical tourism boom. In light of rising health care costs and Obamacare frustrations, it’s no wonder more than a million Americans venture abroad for affordable procedures every year.
Inexpensive dental treatments, plastic surgery and gastric bypass operations are in high demand among top medical tourism destinations such as India, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Thailand and Brazil. But is traveling to another country for cheap medical treatment really worth the risk?
One Florida resident who is still suffering from botched dental implants she got overseas cautions, “I would say look for another alternative because when you go outside the U.S. it’s a gamble.”
The story of Helen Hyjek is unfortunately not unique. Like millions of U.S. residents without insurance, she was lured by the low prices offered in Costa Rica, an eco-tourism haven known for its advanced, first-rate health care system. After paying just one-third of what the implants would have cost back home, Helen says she can barely eat solid food, suffers from bleeding gums and teeth that are much too large. Hyjek must now live with her mistake, as options for legal recourse are virtually non-existent overseas.
And while plenty of patients who travel to second and third-world countries for cost-cutting medical treatment are pleased with the quality and outcome of their surgery, the horror stories of post-op complications, non-existent follow up care and gross negligence abound. America’s health insurance woes may be a strong impetus for seeking budget-friendly procedures abroad, but consider these factors before planning a medical vacation.
When examining the pros and cons of medical tourism, the perceived advantages are quite obvious:
Disadvantages and risks of medical treatment overseas:
In the end, due diligence is mandatory for any type of surgical procedure, whether undertaken in the U.S or abroad. Careful research of your prospective surgeon is encouraged, along with a thorough evaluation of hospital accreditation and post-care facilities.
For more information about plastic surgery procedures in New York, please contact Dr. Thomas Loeb at 212-327-3700.
WFTV.com, Woman shares medical tourism dental nightmare, http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/woman-shares-medical-tourism-dental-nightmare/nP343/
The Huffington Post, Costa Rica’s Medical Tourism Boom, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/26/sun-sand-and-root-canal_n_2194170.html
Latin Post, Plastic Surgery in the Dominican Republic: Is the Cheap Cost of Medical Tourism Worth the Risk? http://www.latinpost.com/articles/7701/20140221/plastic-surgery-in-the-dominican-republic-is-it-all-its-cracked-up-to-be.htm