Thailand used to be a destination for exotic travel, perhaps even for sex travel. Now, it is a well-established member of the ever-increasing ranks of surgery destinations. Yes, travel is not just for the well or even the well-heeled, now it’s for the wellness-seeking. too. It’s not just cosmetic surgery, either. While cosmetic surgery comprises about 80% of the travel, laser eye surgery and fertility treatments make up reasons to travel, too.
A while back, our own Erik Olsen blogged about a crazy offer to get extra frequent flyer miles to get your eyes done, and also posted an article by Casey Kittrell about medical tourism. Then, earlier this year, I wrote an article about growing cosmetic surgery tourism to the Czech Republic. Since then, the pace of this traffic has exploded, and the places have gotten even more exotic. So much so, it’s worth revisiting this issue: according to the National Coalition on Health Care, over half a million Americans left the country last year for medical or dental work. A recent article even noted a man sent by his North Carolina company to New Delhi, for gall bladder and rotator cuff surgery, to save $50,000!
Tired of travelocity? A host of surgery-tourism companies have set up shop all over the internet. Costmeticsurgerytravel.com squatted on a good web address, offering “medical travel concierge” service, as well as assurance that the doctors in foreign lands are “appropriate for your procedure or treatment.” Prague a little to run-of-the-mill for you? Try Tunisia, for example, through Cosmeticatravel.com. Or Turkey or El Salvador, through Medretreat.com. Or Brazil, through Medicaltourism.com. A quick google search turns up a page-topping, paid ad for medical tourism to “Bumrungrad” hospital. Is that where you get that hemorrhoid treatment done?
Follow up: The NY Times just posted an article on the same topic.