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sep 06 2011

Trip Coach: We want to know your thoughts on medical tourism

(Piotr Bodzek, MD/Wikipedia) Medical tourism has us intrigued — people heading to places like Costa Rica for hip replacement, Mexico for facelifts, India for tummy tucks and Malaysia for dental implants. By all accounts, medical tourism, also known as medical vacations, is a rapidly growing business. On a recent cruise to Bermuda on the Norwegian Dawn, there was even a doctor onboard selling on-the-spot, non-surgical facial treatments using Botox, Restylane and Perlane — Medi Spas having been introduced as a shipboard option three years ago. Business was not as brisk as Dr. Shirley Indrapradja, a general practitioner based in California, would have liked. But she did have one passenger who spur of the moment booked $5,000 in treatments during the weeklong sailing. At a seminar presentation, complete with before and after slides, Dr. Shirley offered to "refresh" my face. I didn't bite. But the whole topic of medical tourism begs a lot of questions. Can you really save big bucks? Is it safe? What accreditation standards apply? How does one arrange for surgery aboard? Does the overseas doctor have access to your medical records? Does your local doctor get involved? What happens if there are complications? Do you need special medications or vaccinations? What medical standards apply? Does insurance cover costs for overseas surgery? Can you fly after surgery? How long do you have to stay abroad? Whether you yourself have traveled abroad for medical treatment, are considering surgery overseas or, like us, are simply curious, we want to hear your questions and concerns. We'll be addressing as many as we can in Trip Coach in an upcoming issue of Budget Travel. More from Budget Travel: Health Precautions to Consider When Traveling Will Your Health Insurance Plan Cover You Overseas? Botox at Sea)

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.


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