What Are the Best International Destinations for Each Treatment?
The decision of whether and where to travel internationally for medical treatment depends on many factors.
If you need a non-elective medical treatment, you’ll first want to see if your insurance covers it. For elective medical treatments, you’re very likely to benefit from price-shopping internationally, since health insurance generally doesn’t cover elective procedures.
Unfortunately, it is not as simple as saying, “I need an expensive surgery and I want to vacation in Jamaica. I’m going to find a clinic in Jamaica and kill two birds with one stone.” A destination’s attractiveness as a vacation spot should be secondary to concerns for your health, safety, and finances.
What are your particular needs?
Do you already have in mind the particular treatment(s) that you will need, the minimum quality standard(s) you will accept, and the maximum price(s) you are willing to pay? If so, you can use SAMI-Aid's Medical Tourism Search tool to choose from the best available options based on the country or facility that best suits your needs and desires.
If you are in the market for plastic surgery and are willing to travel to another country, then Brazil is probably your best bet. Ivo Pitanguy, considered the godfather of plastic surgery, invented the “Brazilian butt lift” procedure and founded one of the world’s foremost cosmetic surgery clinics in 1963 in Rio de Janeiro. Since then, a plethora of cosmetic surgery experts have opened practices in Brazil, and many of them are not only JCI-certified but world-renowned for their expertise. As an added bonus, cosmetic surgery in Brazil costs about 25% to 50% less than equivalent care in the U.S., while standards of safety and quality remain high.
If you need a hair transplant, Turkey is by far the leading country in the world on this front, with over 500 patients per day coming to seek treatment despite the country’s political turmoil. If you need obesity surgery such as a gastric bypass procedure, you’re likely to find quality treatment at affordable prices in Mexico and many Latin American countries, or in Malaysia or India if you prefer to travel to Asia.
If you need a kidney, it is fortunately legal to buy one in Iran. However, most countries have outlawed the sale of organs on the open market, so if you go internationally you may risk supporting unethical organ trafficking practices. Check out these tips for finding an organ donor, join the OPTN/UNOS transplant waiting list, and reach out to national organizations that can help. The transplant surgery itself may still be more affordable outside of the U.S.
Top Countries by Treatment
According to Medical Tourism Magazine, here are the top 10 countries medical tourists visit and the top categories of treatments they seek there:
1. India: orthopedics, heart surgery, neurosurgery, IVF treatment
2. Brazil: all forms of cosmetic & plastic surgery, bariatric surgery
3. Malaysia: cosmetic surgery, heart surgery, dentistry, orthopedics, IVF treatment
4. Thailand: dentistry, dermatology, cosmetic surgery, bariatric surgery
5. Turkey: eye surgery, dentistry, plastic surgery, hair transplants, IVF treatment
6. Mexico: heart surgery, bariatric surgery, cosmetic surgery, dentistry, orthopedics
7. Costa Rica: dentistry, plastic surgery, bariatric surgery, orthopedics, dermatology
8. Taiwan: liver transplants, facial surgery, heart surgery, IVF treatment, orthopedics
9. South Korea: stem cell treatment, spinal surgery, cosmetic surgery
10. Singapore: organ transplants, oncology, heart surgery, IVF treatment
Top Treatments by Country
Conversely, here is a list of some common elective medical procedures and some of the best countries offering them outside of the United States:
1. IVF Treatment: Barbados, Cyprus, Turkey, India, Israel, Czech Republic
2. Breast Implants: Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand, Iran, South Korea, Philippines
3. Gastric Bypass or Sleeve: Colombia, Mexico, Turkey, India, Spain, U.A.E.
4. Face Lift: Brazil, Thailand, Iran, Singapore, India, South Korea, Poland
5. Butt Lift: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Spain
6. Tummy Tuck: Brazil, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Panama, Poland, Hungary
7. Liposuction: Poland, Thailand, Turkey, Mexico, Spain, Czech Republic
8. Laser Eye Surgery: Poland, India, Spain, Thailand, Germany, Mexico
9. Hair Transplants: Turkey, India, Philippines, Thailand, Greece, Costa Rica
10. Kidney Transplants: Iran, Spain, Israel, India, Brazil
Find and compare highly vetted clinics and surgeons through SAMI-Aid.
The above is merely an overview of a few of the most popular destinations for high-quality and affordable plastic surgery and other expensive medical treatments. To find out where the best clinics are for the particular treatment you need, you'll need to do some research. SAMI-Aid has already done research on many popular treatments, mainly falling under bariatric surgery and cosmetic surgery. With our exclusive Medical Tourism Wizard, you can compare clinics, amenities, and prices on procedures around the globe! The Medical Tourism Wizard is available to SAMI-Aid Premium members for $79.99 per month. SAMI-Aid Premium also includes access to our Provider & Price Search tool and gives you two free visits per month with any combination of doctors, nurses, therapists, and psychiatrists!
To become part of the “healthcare revolution,” think outside the box, and learn more about international health care options, sign up for a SAMI-Aid account today.