Have you ever travelled abroad for medical treatment?

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  • Anonymous

    Dear readers,

    We are running a feature on medical tourism and would be interested in hearing about your experiences.

    Have you ever travelled abroad for medical treatment?

    If so, where did you go, why did you decide to go overseas, what was the experience like, did it save you money, did you tag it on to a business trip and what did you have done?

    If you haven’t ever gone abroad for treatment or a health check-up, would you consider it?

    Thank you for your help.


    It’s an interesting concept. I’ve had friends who’ve had dental work done in Eastern Europe. Results are pretty good.

    I’ll only let American dentists touch my pearly whites, and have been going to the same practice for a long time now.


    Last time I was in India, I’ve profited to get dental treatment done. I needed a crown put on a broken front tooth but I was quoted ridiculous prices in the UK so I decided to give it a go as I was there for 5 weeks on business.
    I had 4 appointments and at the end paid 10% of what I was quoted originally in the UK.
    And to my entire satisfaction.


    I haven’t travelled abroad for treatment but my mum has so I’d like to share her story if that is ok? Sorry if it goes on a bit.

    She kept getting horrendous pains in her legs/knees but was constantly turned away by her G.P here in the UK almost as though she was an inconvenience and only given vitamin tablets to help her.

    We then took a trip to India (luckily we have family there in the medical profession) who had her checked out by an orthapedic surgeon – and he advised IMMEDIATE knee replacement surgery otherwise she would be bed bound within a year.

    That cost us £9k at the time (2005) to have both knees done for her and it is the best money we have ever spent. It’s given her a whole new lease of life.

    Yes we could have come back to the UK and tried to get the NHS to do the op, but I had visions of being turned away by her G.P yet again saying that she doesn’t need surgery!


    I’ve had dental work done in both Thailand and Malaysia, the latter as an emergency, the former planned.

    I would never hesitate to be treated again in either country. Costs were about 15% of those in the UK.


    My experience is with dental work. An implant in Switzerland cost me CHF 10,000 and in S. Africa it’s just CHF 1,500. My dentist, though S. African, is UK trained having had a practice for many years in London.

    We have friends who come to Cape Town in November and stay till February. During this time they have all,their cosmetic surgery and dental work done at prices way below those charged in the UK, saving over 80% or about 50% taking into account air fare and hotels.

    Many S. African doctors are US or UK trained or have practised there, made their money and have come back to enjoy an easier pace of life, so you’re in pretty good hands.


    I considered having a dental implant done in various countries, I looked at options of South Africa, Poland, Hungary, Colombia and Malaysia, having heard first hand good reports of all. Colombia may seem an odd choice but my Colombian friend’s brother is a highly regarded maxillo-facial (sp?) surgeon there.

    The problem was that it’s a three step process spread over about 5 months and this meant committing to being in specific places at specific times and to three return airfares. With an irregular travel schedule, often at short notice, this was not practical. My other concern was that if anything went wrong with the implant or it became infected, it could mean a long, expensive, and possibly painful journey across the world to have it fixed.

    In the end I had it done in France as I was in their social security system and I was spending most of my time in various European countries. Excellent, and about 70% of the not inconsiderable cost was refunded. Taking into account the long haul airfares I might have paid having it done in another part of the world, I probably came out even.

    I was put off Poland and Hungary as the practices I contacted there became very pushy and were bombarding me with emails and ‘phone calls and ‘special prices’ if I signed on the dotted line within 3 days, and so on. Otherwise, it would have been South Africa.


    I have had dental work done in Mauritius and was thoroughly happy with the results. French dentists set the surgery up and a large %age of their business is dental tourism, apparently dental work is even pricier on the other side of the channel.
    I cant remember that exact costings but i certainly saved a lot on the comparable treatment in the UK and had 3 weeks in the sun to boot.


    I suffer from IT Band Syndrome otherwise known as runner’s knee. I read about a sports clinic in Bordeaux and a surgeon there who was recognised as one of the leading practitioners in the world specialising in this particular condition and was the author of the only clinical study pioneering a new and more effective form of surgery for it. I have private medical insurance in the UK so I only went because of his reputation.

    This clinic is not merely a clinic, it’s an entire sports injury hospital in a brand new building. Got an appointment fairly quickly, saw the surgeon, he sent me downstairs for an ultrasound immediately, he suggested an ultrasound guided injection which unfortunately could only be done the next morning as it was now too late in the day. Not being French, I had to pay and claim back on my own insurance but this was the cost: breakdown: consultation €40, ultrasound examination €45, ultrasound guided injection €80. To have all that done on the NHS would have taken months as it is not a serious case. And having it done privately in the UK would have cost upwards of £1,000 in total. Needless to say my insurers were pleased. If I do eventually need surgery, the savings would be huge. For anyone without PMI who want to be treated quickly, going across the channel is a viable option.


    A 2 day Exec Medical(including blood test, ECG and X-ray) in Malta (at the top private hospital) costs Euro 355 compared to something like GBP 2500 in the UK.. Worth splashing out on hotel and airfare even if you can find one for only GBP 1000 in the UK.


    Capetonian makes a point about factoring in the cost of travel. In my case I have a home in SA so travel back and forth regularly.

    I suppose one way to mitigate the cost of an implant would be to have the extraction done at home then wait 4 months before travelling for the implant.


    Thailand has always treated me well.
    Bangkok is somewhat cheaper than the UK and much, much better
    If you can get out of Bangkok and avoid one or two larger tourist resorts, eg Pattaya, Phuket, you will find some superb facilities AND prices. My wife and I go to Khon Kaen in the NE for 3 to 4 months every year.
    I am uninsurable and have had a couple of ‘enforced’ hospital visits. in one case I had been ‘under investigation’ at a major hospital by where I live in the UK. After 3 visits and several tests the NHS didn’t know what was wrong.
    I was already booked to go to Thailand and after a couple of days there I went to the main hospital in the city. In two hours and 4 tests and an ultrasound later, they diagnosed what was wrong and treated me!!
    By the way all that lot cost me about £45.
    My other visit was also first class and successful.
    The hospital was clean, the nurses were uniformed and spotless, and the doctors seem to be excellent and spoke English well.

    My wife and I always get our dental work done, and eyes and glasses done there too.


    Seems mainly dental – I’m surprised few other procedures have been done abroad.


    VintageKrug, if Business Traveller asked the same question of their Asian/Australian readers, you would find that dental is not the only procedure done outside their home country. Many, many Australians for example travel, primarily to Thailand, for all sorts of medical procedures, limb replacement seems to be the most popular. The hospitals in Bangkok and other cities have all the details including prices on their well informed websites.

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