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Three Top Destinations For a Medical Vacation

February 18, 2010 at 9:30 AM | by | ()

With health-care reform stalling out and the recession in full swing, there are more reasons than ever for people to seek cheaper medical treatment overseas. According to a recent report from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, although the U.S. economy has slowed down, the demand for cosmetic procedures is up. In 2007 an estimated 750,000 Americans traveled abroad for health care, and the number is supposed to reach 6 million this year, Deloitte reported. We take look at popular medical tourism spots.

See which countries people are traveling to for a quickie nip and tuck after the jump.

· Dental work in Costa Rica
It's a pity that Joan Rivers vowed to never visit Costa Rica again after a ticket snafu at the airport. The face-lift queen will miss out treatments in the country that cost 30 to 40 percent less than those in the U.S., according to the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

Costa Rica is a popular medical tourism destination for Americans because of its proximity to the States and U.S. citizens don't need a visa to enter. And though many travel there for plastic surgery, a growing number go to the Central American country for dental work. According to Biotech Business Week, 45 percent of Americans don't have dental insurance. While most people will avoid sitting in a dentist's chair, these uninsured Americans make the trek to Costa Rica, where they'd only pay around $500 for a crown, while they'd have to cough up $650 to $1,200 to get one at home, the publication reported.

Thinking about getting some work done while in Costa Rica? Check out the Clinica Biblica Hospital in San Jose. It was the first facility in the region to receive Joint Commission International accreditation, a set of standards set forth by a group of global health-care experts, and is only one of three places with the distinction. Plus the private hospital has the approval of Patients Beyond Borders, an authority on medical tourism. Heck the place even has an "international department," where you'll get VIP Concierge services to handle lodging and sightseeing tours and transportation to and from airport as well as assistance through immigration.

Tourists head to South Africa to be wrinkle-free, unlike this guy.

· Face-lifts in South Africa
Jet-setters book South African safaris in hopes of spotting wild animals, but on scalpel safaris, tourists hope to only see taut skin and perky ta-tas. On a scalpel safari, people head to the country to get some cosmetic surgery done and then spend the rest of their vacation hanging out in the sun. But the warm weather and elephants aren't the only reason that people travel to South Africa; medical procedures cost 30 to 40 percent less than in the U.S., the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions reported.

Lorraine Melvill, who's worked in the South African medical tourism industry for 11 years, says one of the most popular cosmetic procedures is the face-lift. In the U.S., the national average for face-lift physician fees is about $6,700, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported in 2008, but that figure doesn't include the additional charges for the surgical facility, anesthesia, medical tests, prescriptions and medical garments. The cost for a younger looking face can easily reach $20,000. In South Africa, a face-lift will cost $9,900, all-inclusive, she says.

Melvill's the founder and owner of Surgeon & Safari, a company that not only will handle all of the deets for your treatment and your accommodations afterward, but will also arrange for a bush safari or a shopping excursion to Cape Town, where you can buy some new clothing to match the new you.

South African plastic surgeons have been working to place the country on the map as the go-to spot for medical tourists. During the country's first Health Tourism Congress in July, event organizer Cawe Mahlati said that the nation can accommodate up to 1 million health tourists each year and is ideally placed to the become the destination of choice for medical and cosmetic surgical procedures, South African publication Business Day said.

A dip in Friedrichsbad is supposed to help your immune system.

· An immune system boost in Baden-Baden
We highlighted some of the more serious procedures that medical tourists undergo, so we figure we'd offer an option that's not so invasive. Some medical tourists look for natural ways to cure what ails them. Those in the know head to the historic German spa town of Baden-Baden, about 50 miles from Strasbourg, France. But these aren't any ordinary baths. Baden-Baden, which translates to "Bath-Bath," is known for its medicinal waters.

Two thousand years ago, Roman emperor Caracalla found relief soaking his arthritic bones in the town's thermal spring water and it's been a spa town ever since. The water is supposed to help with ailments like spinal disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory tract disorders and circulatory problems.

Stay at Brenner's Park-Hotel & Spa and you won't need to leave the grounds for any treatments. The hotel has its own medical spa manned by a team of doctors, dentists, dermatologists and nutritionists. There's also a beauty spa component with an indoor Roman pool filled with mineral water.

But if you venture into town, go spa-ing at Friedrichsbad, which sits atop where the old Roman baths used to be. Friedrichsbad is serious about its Roman-Irish bath experience, a 17-step process that takes three and half hours. The treatment is supposed to boost your circulation, strengthen your immune system, help your skin and relax you. Hey, if it worked for a Roman emperor, why not?

Related Stories:
· Soujourn at the Spa of Spas [New York Times]
· South Korea Promotes Itself As The Spot For Eyelid Surgery [Jaunted]
· Medical Tourism Travel [Jaunted]

[Photos: markhillary, Conor Lawless, TheLizardQueen, Brenner's Park-Hotel & Spa]

Archived Comments:

Costa Rica Vacations

Nice suggestions for medical vacation tours. As we know Costa Rica is famous medical tourism attraction in the World. You can plan your Costa Rica tours for improving your health as well as to change your mind, it enthusiast you for life.

France as a medical destination

I went to France for hip replacement! It costs there around 18000 euros. The result is great. The importaint thing is to do it in a serious clinic. For example me, I asked my friends and one of them recommended samci! the diagnostics and operation took place in Paris. I was pleasantly surprised by the prices. Good luck!

Dental travel to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the best destination for dental travel.My friend went to Costa Rica suffering from tooth cavity cavity.Services are professional and very cheap.www.dentaltravelservices.com