Nobody likes to go under the knife. It is a scary and stressful experience, not to mention the time you have to spend in that lousy hospital room to recover, with those noisy roommates, obnoxious food, and grumpy nurses. Who on Earth would want to spend their holiday in the hospital? The answer; those needing surgery and who found the perfect way to combine an exotic destination with a comfortable stay in a world-class hospital’s luxurious suite.
Traveling for medical services is often considered a money-saving option. While some countries do have lower prices, it is still a form of luxury travel. Medical tourism boomed this past decade. Each year, over seven million people travel the world in search for the best medical services, whether they be dental, cosmetic surgery, or something more serious like cancer, fueling a 20 billion dollar global industry.
For some, a vacation is the perfect opportunity to fly overseas and benefit from over-the-top medical treatments, a sort of holiday package that offers travel, healthcare, and accommodation all in one. While popular dentistry destinations are countries in Central and Eastern Europe, like the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Romania, and coveted cosmetic surgery destinations are countries in Latin America. Asia continues to be the number one destination for medical tourism of all sorts. So here are the world’s hot spots to go under the knife.
10. Non-Traditional Medical Treatments in Hawaii
The Hawaiian archipelago boasts some of the most popular tropic island getaways in the world. Why not combine your time on the beach with a surgery you’ve been postponing for so long? Hawaii is especially renowned for its non-traditional procedures, non-invasive neurosurgery, and eyelid surgery. There are numerous modern medical facilities that offer luxurious accommodation and a holistic approach to healing and recovery. Healthcare costs are still higher than in Asia and South America, but the sophisticated treatments are definitely worth it. The Gamma Knife Center of the Pacific near Waikiki is one of the few facilities in the Pacific to offer gamma knife treatment, a form of precisely focused radiation through the skull using no blade or incisions for a non-invasive treatment for multiple parts of the brain.
9. Medical Safari in South Africa
With plenty of sun and sea, plus world-class private hospitals and clinics, Africa is a popular medical tourism destination thanks to its affordable procedures. While Egypt and Tunisia are already pretty famous in terms of medical care, South Africa emerged as a top luxury medical tourism destination on the continent, receiving over 500,000 medical tourists a year. The most sought-after procedures are dental, cosmetic surgery, fertilization, and rehabilitation. Medical spas offer cosmetic procedures in luxurious clinics, all followed by a safari holiday complete with driving tours, wildlife spotting, and vineyard tours. Medi Clinic Morningside and Netcare Park Lane hospitals in Johannesburg, South Africa’s most vibrant city, offer luxurious suites and the highest standards of patient care, with a special focus on gynecology, neonatal, pediatrics, and maternity care. Plus, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg is the largest in the world, covering a surface of 173 acres and offering almost 3,000 beds.
8. High-Class Cosmetic Surgery in Brazil
With over 4,500 licensed cosmetic surgeons, more than anywhere else on the planet, Brazil is the place to go for plastic surgery. There are even veterinarians who offer plastic surgery for pets. The low prices and affordable luxury are the main attractions, as costs are usually two-thirds of the ones in the U.S. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are the top cities to go for tummy tucks, breast implants, rhinoplasty, and face lifts. More than anything, Brazil is famous for its butt lifts, a procedure that uses fat from the arms or abdomen to shape patient’s curves. The country offers the perfect opportunity to recuperate in one of its famed seaside resorts all the while boasting a new set of breasts or bums on the beach.
7. Luxurious Recovery in Mexico
Often regarded as an entertainment destination rather than a medical one, Mexico managed to draw over a million patients in 2012, the majority Hispanic from the neighboring U.S. states like California, Arizona, and Texas. Most sought-after procedures are dental and weight loss treatments, and the most popular private luxury facilities are ABC Medical Center, with several specialized units counting 200 beds, with cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops, and Christus Muguerza Super Specialty Hospital in Monterrey.
Mexico has numerous internationally recognized tourist attractions to offer. For those seeking luxury, the country has numerous high-class five-star hotels in the immediate vicinity of hospitals, and patients can recover from surgery in the finest hotel rooms and on the beach under the sun. The climate may be capricious, but the warm weather has been proven to help patients recover at a better rate.
6. Leading Research and Medical Equipment in Germany
Often dubbed “The Hospital of Europe,” Germany has more than twice as much hospitals per 1,000 citizens than the U.S. Plus, the medical standards are among the highest in the world, with an extremely well-developed infrastructure revolving around the most innovative medical technology. Ranked fourth best healthcare system in the world, it’s easy to find expert medical care in Germany. However, if it is luxury, leading research and medical equipment you are looking for, Asklepios Klinik Barmbek in Hamburg is the answer. As the largest private hospital operator in Europe, the clinic managed to achieve the perfect balance between science, research, industry, and medicine. With generally lower prices than in the U.S, but with top-notch German accuracy, Asklepios boasts a number of private deluxe suites that come with 24-hour room service.
5. Utmost Comfort in Malaysia
Malaysia is a vibrating country with a vast cultural heritage that is bound to impress any newcomer. With some of the best hospitals in the world, it welcomes over 700,000 international patients each year in search for multi-specialty medical care at the highest international standards. In the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Prince Court Medical Center ranked in the top five medical tourism destinations in the world as a multi-specialty facility that takes special pride in its sophisticated burn unit and In-Vitro fertility department. Patients can choose between 300 beds in spacious junior suites, standard suites, and VIP suites, all providing the utmost in comfort. Depending on the cash you are willing to drop, you can be accommodated in one of the single rooms overlooking the famous KLCC Twin Towers.
4. Reconstructive Surgery in China
Counting around 2 million reconstructive surgeries each year, China’s elite hospitals attract medical tourists from all corners of the world in search for the best facial restructuring procedures. They are offered the unique opportunity of visiting the Great Wall of China and taking advantage of the country’s luxury medical spas offer high-class surgical care accompanied by gourmet meals and holistic surroundings. Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital, a luxury facility with a human-centric design and ultra luxurious furnishings, boasts spacious halls and rooms, first-class modern design, battery wagons that can carry up to 20 patients at a time, a Starbucks Coffee shop, a rooftop helipad, and even a $1.12 million piano in the lobby, often played by a renowned Chinese performer. Overall, Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital offers better service and accommodation that a five-star hotel, and its deluxe suites start at $1,500 per day.
3. Top-Notch Cancer Treatment in Singapore
With some of the most sophisticated medical services in the world, Singapore is particularly known for its top-notch cancer treatment, attracting more than 600,000 medical tourists each year. The Parkway hospital network is a renowned luxury destination for five-star medical care in Asia. There are three Parkway hospitals in Singapore, summing up 730 beds. Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore is one of them, and also one of Asia’s medical hubs. With a world-class medical infrastructure, the facility boasts luxurious single bedrooms offering plenty of over-the-top amenities like a private balcony, TV, and spacious bathroom, as well as room-service and personalized assistance.
2. Advanced Cardiac Surgery Procedures in India
Around 500,000 patients travel to India each year, placing the country in the top five most coveted medical tourism destinations. The main reason would be that complicated procedures here are up to 90% cheaper than in the United States. On the map, it is generally renowned for its top-notch surgical procedures, mainly in the orthopedics field.
Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai, India is one of very few facilities in the world that do nearly 100% bypass surgery on a beating heart. The clinic also boasts the lowest mortality rates in the world in isolated bypass surgery, performing some of the rarest, most dangerous, and most challenging cardiac procedures. Fortis Hospital in Bangalore, India offers excellent surgery procedures, and are particularly proud of their hip resurfacing and replacement procedures, offering deluxe suites with private terraces and lounge areas. Moolchand Medcity in Delhi is a top medical campus, the largest in Asia, counting 16 specialized hospitals with over 1,000 beds, offering advanced medical services and equipment.
1. Multi-Specialty Medical Care in Thailand
When it comes to medical tourism, Thailand is mainly known for its sophisticated and affordable sex change procedures. However, there’s much more to its healthcare system, as patients can go under the knife in extremely complicated surgeries that are offered with up to a 70% cheaper price tag than in the U.S. That’s one of the main reasons it is visited by more than a million medical tourists each year. The other would be that the medical services are flawless, and patients can recuperate in a luxurious environment.
Bumrungrad International in Bangkok, a multi-speciality hospital with over 200 U.S.-certified surgeons and 22 floors with 554 beds welcomes over a million patients each year, 40% of which come from 190 foreign countries. The campus offers a luxurious five-star hotel, shopping mall, and Starbucks Coffee. Bumrungrad, acknowledged as the pearl of medical tourism world, is the largest private hospital in Southeast Asia. Offering a state-of-the-art electronic environment, the medical center was modeled after the renowned Mayo Clinic. Bangkok Hospital Medical Center is another deluxe healthcare provider under the flagship of the largest private hospital chain in Thailand. These past four years, Thailand cashed in around $8 billion and has become an established leader in cosmetic surgery and the world’s most visited healthcare destination.