America's First Newsletter for the Medical Traveler


Hot Spot Destinations

Costa Rica

  • Premier destination for eco-tourism 
  • Hospital Clinica Biblica recently named one of the ìBest International Hospitals in the Worldî
  • Popular destination for cosmetic and dental surgery

Click here for further information on medical travel to Costa Rica.

South Korea

  • Home of worldís largest JCI-accredited hospital ñ Severance Hospital.

  • English universally spoken in some hospitals which have partnered with U.S. and European hospitals: Johns Hopkins and Harvard Medical International.

  • Specialties include extensive health screenings, plastic surgery, dental work, ophthalmology, IVF and other major procedures.

For more information on medical tourism in South Korea, visit the Council for Korea Medicine Overseas Promotion at


  • Christus Muguerza, the only JCI accredited hospital in Mexico, was named one of the "Best International Hospitals in the World"
  • State-of-the-art facilities at competitive prices
  • Procedures performed include cosmetic surgery, dental surgery, orthopedic, cardiology, Bariatrics and more.

For more information on medical tourism to Christus Muguerza, click here.

    Brightening Your Smile Through Dental Tourism

    According to the National Coalition on Health Care, roughly half a million Americans sought medical care abroad in 2006, 40 percent of which were dental tourists.

    Breaking News from Israel

    High-Profile New York Board-Certified Bariatric Surgeon Forms Strategic Alliance with IMS Israel

    Latest Headlines in Medical Tourism:

    U.S. Risk Launches MedTour Pro for Medical Tourism Industry
    Insurance Journal - May 29
    U.S. Risk Underwriters, a subsidiary of U.S. Risk Insurance Group, Inc. launched a new professional liability product for the medical tourism industry called MedTour Pro.

    Malaysia in world's top five medical tourism destinations
    eTurboNews - May 28
    Malaysia is among the worldís top five medical tourism destinations for medical tourists and foreign investors, reports online investment news source Nuwire Investors.

    Taiwan Urged to Focus on Medical Tourism
    Focus on Travel News - May 27
    High medical standards, a sound tourism environment and a clear policy would position Taiwan to become a world medical tourism hub, but the government needs to fine-tune its approach and to adopt a more aggressive advertising strategy, experts suggested.

    Lovell takes liking to health tourism niche
    Antigua Sun - May 19
    Antigua and Barbuda must remain open to new ways that it can expand its tourism offerings.

    More Mix Travel with Surgery to Cut Costs
    The Wichita Eagle - May 18
    Wanda Bough of Eureka combined surgery and a vacation and saved herself almost $23,000.

    Health tourists to fill our hospitals
    The Sydney Morning Herald - May 18
    Private hospitals must turn to wealthy foreign patients to fill the beds left vacant by the changes to the Medicare levy, the industry says.



    Dear Medical Traveler,

    Welcome to the second issue of Your Medical Travel: your resource for tips and information on the newest opportunities in medical tourism.

    Questions? Comments?
    Contact Amy Rohrbeck at

    Visit our Web site for archived newsletters and a new online discussion board designed especially for you -- the medical tourist.

    This online forum ( is designed for our readers to:
         - post questions
         - share medical travel experiences
         - comment upon newsletter articles
         - express opinions
    You can choose to remain anonymous -- or not!

    Click here for more information on this social networking opportunity. 

    Cosmetic Surgery -- Makeovers in Paradise


    Whether you are fighting the effects of aging or simply want to improve your appearance, there are now options for high quality services throughout the world ñ at costs far below those in the United States.

    Since many health insurance carriers do not cover cosmetic surgery, an increasing number of patients are leaving the U.S. to take advantage of the savings and enjoy recuperating in an exotic destination.

    Cosmetic surgical procedures include: 

        - Facelift               - Eyelid Surgery           - Rhinoplasty
        - Brow Lift             - Facial Implants          -  Skin Resurfacing
    Breast                - Breast Lift                 - Tummy Tuck  
          Augmentation      - Liposuction  

    Some of the most popular cosmetic surgery travel destinations include Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Costa Rica -- with South Africa, India, Thailand and Singapore also becoming increasingly popular. These destinations also offer top beauty salons and luxury vacation packages.






    Breast Reduction











    When choosing a destination, make sure you do your research. Make a list of questions and contact a medical tourism company for answers.

    1. Verify the doctor's qualifications
    2. Ascertain where you will be undergoing the procedure
    3. Inquire about lodging and recuperation time
    4. Ask about arrangements for your travel companions

    Further guidelines on selecting a surgeon are available here from The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

    Following are a number of medical tourism companies which can help you arrange cosmetic surgery abroad:

    Star Announces                              Patient Airfare Sponsorship Campaign

    Individuals will be awarded round-trip airfare to the hospital of their choice within the Star Hospitals network for medical care

    Ontario, Canada ñ May 2008 ñ Star (, a North American healthcare service, announced today that it is sponsoring American and Canadian patients to travel overseas for a necessary medical procedure at a participating facility in the Star Hospitals network in India, Singapore and Thailand. Individuals will be able to choose the hospital that best suits their medical needs, and Star Hospitals will provide an economy class, round-trip ticket from a major airport.

    Following a diagnostic evaluation and the selection of a physician, teleconferencing is available for patients to discuss treatments with their overseas surgeon prior to travel. To finalize travel arrangements to the appropriate hospital, Star staff will coordinate passports and visas, book flights and hotel rooms, arrange transportation from the airport, and complete hospital registration.

    A random drawing to select recipients will be held at the end of June, 2008. In order to be considered, individuals can send an email to

    Patients wishing to take advantage of this opportunity must be uninsured or underinsured and meet the following criteria:

    • 45 years of age or older
    • Visit for a list of procedures available.
    • Patients must be traveling for a ìmajorî surgery such as orthopedic (hip or knee replacement or resurfacing), cardiac (angioplasty or cardiac bypass surgery), neurosurgery (brain tumors, spine, head or neck surgery), bariatric (Lap band surgery, gastric bypass surgery). Patients seeking minor, noninvasive procedures will not be considered.
    • Patients must be open to media coverage.
    • Patients must be able to travel for surgery by October 31, 2008.

    ìWe understand that many people are interested in medical tourism, but may have some constraints regarding participation,î states Kumar Jagadeesan, vice president of Star ìOur goal is to help people discover the benefits of medical travel as well as the quality of our services, which include the first call center operated entirely by doctors, physician assistants, paramedics, physiotherapists and other medical professionals.î

    For further information please call toll free: 1-888-STAR-012 or visit

    About Star
    Star Hospitals is a North American health care service offering affordable and timely treatment abroad through a network of hospitals throughout India, Singapore and Thailand. For more information please visit or call 1-888-STAR-012.

    Spotlight on Orthopedic Procedures


    There are many good reasons why Americans are traveling outside the country for orthopedic surgeries:

    • Many orthopedic procedures are available including hip resurfacing, hip replacement, knee replacement, ACL reconstruction, multiple joint replacement, lumbar spinal fusion and shoulder replacement. 
    • Patients who need hip or knee surgery can easily compare prices in different countries by searching the Web sites of medical tourism companies.

    Many Americans have already traveled to India and other countries for hip resurfacing, a minimally invasive alternative for active patients who would like to delay undergoing a full hip replacement. During hip resurfacing surgery, a metal cap is placed over the top of the thigh bone (femur), which fits into the hip socket.

    Hip resurfacing was only approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006, and is not widely performed in the U.S.

    Hip resurfacing can cost anywhere from $8,000-$18,000 overseas, compared to $28,000 to over $50,000 in the United States.

    If a patientís insurance wonít cover the procedure in the U.S., traveling overseas is a good alternative. Patients can find doctors who are experienced in performing hip resurfacing, and pay less for the quality care they receive. Patients can also save upwards of $20,000 traveling overseas for knee or hip replacements.

    Remember: recuperation from any of these procedures is a long process. Be sure to visit an orthopedist before you leave for your trip so the healing and recuperation process can begin once you return home.

    To find out more about this procedure visit: 

    Brightening Your Smile Through Dental Tourism (continued)


    According to the National Coalition on Health Care, roughly half a million Americans sought medical care abroad in 2006, 40 percent of which were dental tourists.

    As a fast-growing trend, U.S. patients are crossing the border and flying overseas for dental procedures scheduled between sightseeing trips and spa appointments.

    Countries like Hungary, Mexico, Thailand and Costa Rica have emerged as hotspot destinations for dental tourism. The following chart compares prices of certain dentals procedures in these countries to costs in the U.S.:






    Costa Rica













    Root Canals

    $ 500

















    *Dental cost figures from

    Although these countries are on the top of the list for dental tourism, countries such as Singapore, India, Panama and Turkey, among others, have starting offering dental procedures to Americans looking to travel abroad for care.

    Before traveling anywhere for dental tourism, the American Dental Association (ADA), advises patients to ìcheck with the health department or ministry in the destination country to see what national guidelines are in place for dentists.î

    The ADA website also has an International Dental Associations section, where patients can contact dental associations in any country. Visit, to find contact information and a Web site link to the selected countryís association.

    Always remember to ask the qualification and schooling of the dentist you will be seeing. Also, if you are booking your trip through a medical tourism company, ask a representative if you can speak to a patient who has already used their services, or for a customer testimonial.

    Here are a few medical tourism companies that offer dental tourism packages:

    Breaking News from Israel (continued)

    Chief of bariatric surgery service to provide services in Israel at much lower costs than the US and Canada ñ with no waiting period

    New York, NY/PETACH TIKVA, Israel ñ May 20, 2008 ñ A prominent U.S. board certified bariatric surgeon, currently chief of the bariatric surgery service and an attending physician at a New York-based hospital, is forming a strategic alliance with International Medical Services, Global Ltd. (IMS), a global health care firm specializing in medical travel to Israel ( This renowned surgeon will provide medical/surgical services at one of Israelís quality hospitals in the IMS network, presenting an opportunity for individuals to access weight-loss surgery at dramatically lower costs than in the United States or Canada and without a long waiting period.

    ìThis is a breakthrough opportunity for people to access this specialized surgery at a fraction of the cost in the U.S. or Canada, and performed by one of the worldís most qualified surgeons," says Ira Nissel, founder and CEO of IMS, noting that Israel has emerged as a key, cost-efficient destination for the highest quality medical care. ìWe are extremely gratified and honored to welcome this physician to the medical community of Israel, which is quickly becoming a destination of choice among medical tourists from the United States and throughout the world.î

    Medical-surgical travel packages are now available, including airfare, at no extra cost to prospective patients. Patients can take advantage of these procedures:

    Gastric Bypass Surgery: Known as Roux en Y, for this surgery, the stomach is made into a smaller pouch using staples and then connected to the small intestine

    Lap-Band procedure: Minimally invasive, this involves the placement of a silicone, adjustable band which is placed around the upper part of the stomach to help control food intake.

    About IMS (
    International Medical Services Global, Ltd. (IMS) specializes in uniquely customized medical travel to Israel. Founded in 2007 by Ira Nissel, CEO, IMS offers a full range of medical services to children and adults and provides a completely personalized treatment and travel experience.

    The company also aims to advance the image of Israel as a global leader in medical treatment, research, and technological development.

    About Bariatric Surgery


    From The American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery

    Bariatric surgery
    , or weight loss surgery, limits the amount of food the stomach can hold by surgically reducing the stomachís capacity to a few ounces. In addition to reducing food intake, some weight loss surgeries alter the digestion process, which curbs the amount of calories and nutrients absorbed.

    ï Primary types of bariatric surgery include: laparoscopic and open gastric bypass surgery, laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding and duodenal switch

    ï Appropriate candidates have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more, or a BMI of 35 or more with an obesity-related disease, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease or sleep apnea

    ï In 2007, an estimated 205,000 people with morbid obesity in the U.S. will have bariatric surgery

    ï About 15 million people in the U.S. have morbid obesity; only 1 percent of the clinically eligible population is being treated for morbid obesity through bariatric surgery


    A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in October 2004 of 22,000 bariatric surgery patients showed improvements in the following obesity-related conditions:

    o Type 2 diabetes eliminated in 76.8 percent of patients; 86 percent eliminated or improved

    o Hypertension eliminated in 61.7 percent patients and resolved or improved 78.5 percent

    o Obstructive sleep apn, , ,, ea or sleep-disordered breathing eliminated in 85.7 percent of p, atients

    o High cholesterol levels or hyperlipidemia decreas, ed in more than 70 percent of pat, ients


    ,, , , ï Clinical studies show most bariatric surgery patients lose weight quickly and continue to lose weight 18 to 24 mon, th, s after the procedure

    ï Patients may lose 30 to 50 percent of their excess weight in the first six months and 77 percent of excess weight as early as 12 months after surgery. Another st, udy showed that patients can maintain a 50-60 percent loss of excess weight 10-14 years after w, eight loss surgery.

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    Copyright © 2008 Your Medical Travel is published by CPR Communications.
    Information in this newsletter should not be considered as medical advice.