Risks of Medical Tourism
While a great majority of the doctors woking in these countries will be more than qualified it is always best to check out the credentials of any doctor you wish to work with before ever undergoing any procedure. Undergoing surgery is always a risk, but you can help mitigate the chances of botched procedures by checking out your doctor beforehand. It is also important to remember that if something does go wrong in many countries you may will have very little legal recourse.
The high cost of medical treatment in the U.S. for example is due in part to the large amounts of malpractice insurance doctors are required to carry. Be aware that though you may be receiving a discount on your surgery that it could actually end up costing you much more in the long run if you encounter problems. Insurance often will not cover the cost of additional treatments and surgeries needed due to your overseas operation, and the legal systems of many of the countries won't be much help in getting you compensation. Another thing to watch out for is traveling too soon after your surgery. Flying immediately after or within a few days of a surgery can cause some very serious complications. The combination of high altitude and sitting for long periods of time can cause blood clots and pulmonary embolisms, both potentially fatal conditions. Less seriously, you also put yourself at risk of swelling and infections. To be safe, give yourself at least a week, if not a little more, to recover after your treatment.
You'll also need to be vigilant in making sure you get adequate follow-up care. Many hospitals are in the business of getting patients in and out quickly and post-operative care can be very limited in some cases. Getting this care once you return home can sometimes be complicated and potentially pricey. Since you are in a country with many diseases and bacteria that you may not have built up an immunity to you can be especially vulnerable to infection, so you'll need to choose a hospital that offers not only great surgical care, but also will check up on you afterwards to ensure you're healing properly and are healthy enough to travel home.
"The high cost of medical treatment in the U.S. for example is due in part to the large amounts of malpractice insurance doctors are required to carry." Finally, while part of the allure of medical tourism is the vacation it can also be one of the risks. Drinking, spending too much time in the sun, or just not resting enough can lead to complications with your recovery including hematomas, scarring and infection. While you can and should enjoy your visit, do remember to take it easy so your body can recover.
Going abroad for surgery can be a great way to potentially save tens of thousands of dollars but it's certainly not without its risks. You should spend time researching and doctors and hospitals and keep your recovery time in mind when planning your trip. Risks can be managed if you're careful and educate yourself and can help you make your experience a rewarding and healthy one.