Is medical tourism really a thing?

I have been a medical worker for 20 years, and in my time I heard of people going to Thailand to get dental implants. Some wished they never did it, but I have to admit a lot of them did just fine. I was always opposing medical tourism, well it was not good for my job. More people getting teeth done in Thailand, less in Hamilton, meaning less money for me. However, nowadays I hear of people going even to Europe to get a surgery, stem cell treatment, dental implants or whatever the case maybe, and even see Berlin, Rome, Belgrade, Paris, etc. I have to admit that does sound tempting.

Dental Clinic in Thailand. medical-tourism
Dental Clinic in Thailand

What European Countries Are Good For Medical Tourism?

europe countries map. medical-tourism

Based on my research the best European countries for an ACL reconstruction surgery are: Germany, Lithuania, Turkey and Serbia.

Germany is ranked fifth on the globe for first-class medical treatments, from acute care to rehabilitation. As one of the most developed countries in the world they have it all,  science, research, equipment but lack educated medical workers and doctors. They import medical doctors and nurses from Eastern Europe, mostly Serbia and Macedonia. Regarding travel, there is a lot to see in Germany, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, and Paris France, Amsterdam Netherlands, Prague Czech Republic, and Vienna Austria are not too far. Price of ACL surgery is around NZD $8000, hotel stay prices are similar to New Zealand (compered 4 star hotels), restaurant prices seem lower.

ACL - Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Surgery. medical-tourism
ACL – Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Surgery

Lithuania is not ranked among top countries for first-class medical treatments but is mentioned everywhere. People go here for medical tourism. Price for ACL is a bit lower, about $4,500, hotel and restaurant prices are cheaper than in Germany. Location, well its a bit far from the fun part of Europe. Seems close to Russia but that is still far from Moscow.

Turkey is mentioned a lot among countries in Europe for medical tourism. It’s close to Greece so that is a plus, seems to have top class medical equipment, not too advanced in research and educated medical personnel. Price is only $2700, hotel prices are on the same level as Lithuania, cheaper than Germany. General prices are lower than previous two.

ACL Surgery
ACL Surgery

Serbia is a country that I came across when reading about medical workers migrating from here to go to Germany to get jobs. This country has a long tradition of great medical education, but has jobs only for limited number of doctors. Private sector is already taken by the best doctors who switched from public to private, so new doctors have to go to Germany to find jobs. Public hospitals are mess, but private ones have state of the art technology and reasonable prices. ACL surgery is about the same as in Turkey $2700, hotels are the cheapest of all, and prices in general. Everything except shoes it seems like. Belgrade, the capital is not far from Venice Italy, Vienna Austria, and Greece.

Still I am not sure about my trip. Is it a vacation at all when you know you will have a surgery?

About Jack Halcombe

Former dental hygienist, now a gardener and dedicated grandfather.

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