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In a recent survey of about 18,000 people from 24 countries, on third of people say they would travel abroad for cheaper medical or dental treatment- the idea of medical tourism.

Mostly due to economic reasons and cheap surgery, treatments ranging from cosmetic surgery to life-saving surgeries.  Indians, Indonesians, Russians, Mexicans and Poles were the most open to the idea of being medically mobile. It is not surprising that men and women from emerging nations would be medically mobile if the treatments were cheaper.

In United States, where 38 percent of people were open to the idea of medical tourism, particularly Mexico Cosmetic Surgery such as Tijuana breast augmentation.  It is a reflection that the medical profession is no longer protected from globalization nor is bound by boarders.

RISKS VS. BENEFITS

Although medical tourism includes a wide range of procedures, the most common are dental care, cosmetic surgery, elective surgery and fertility treatment, according a recent report.

“The medical tourist industry is dynamic and volatile and a range of factors including the economic climate, domestic policy changes, political instability, travel restrictions, advertising practices, geo-political shifts, and innovative and pioneering forms of treatment may all contribute towards shifts in patterns of consumption and production of domestic and overseas health services,” the report said.

Various studies using different criteria have estimated that anywhere between 60,000 to 750,000 U.S. residents travel abroad for health care each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Along with variations among countries, the survey showed that younger adults under the age of 35 were more likely to consider medical tourism, than people 50 to 64 years old.

The cost of travel, proximity to the residing country, borders restrictions and quality of care may also be factors considered by potential medical tourists. In European countries of Italy and Germany, about 20 percent of adults said they would consider medical treatment in  Hungary, a popular destination for health treatments.

The risks of medical tourism include lack of care in case of delayed complication or emergency, particularly when the patient is back home and no where near where the original care or surgery was conducted. Other risks include lack of communication and language barrier, and inability to verify the medical provider’s training and experience.

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