Millions of people go overseas for medical treatment - from dental work to major heart surgery - all done at a fraction of the cost back home. Overseas Plastic Surgery brings in billions of dollars a year worldwide. So, what exactly is it?
- The Development
Since the mid 20th century, healthcare costs have exploded in many developed countries, especially in the United States. Some people have blamed this on the closed system of procedure and drug pricing, which does not allow for free market competition. We all know that once prices rise, they don’t go back down. Other factors, like exaggerated insurance billing, malpractice lawsuits, and infrequent, doctor visits contribute to increasing costs.
The naissance of medical tourism leads to the growth of overseas plastic surgery. In many of these developing countries, overseas plastic surgery represents a lucrative and growing source of economic revenue. Countries are actually competing for medical tourists.
- The Problem Behind
There are certain drawbacks. The US Center for Disease Control has registered several safety concerns over higher rates of bacterial infections and diseases for medical tourists. These can be attributed to less strict sanitation rules in other countries and the presence of contagious diseases that are otherwise rare in the US. In 2014, 19 American women, who traveled to the Dominican for plastic surgery, contracted bacterial infections.
Most of the world has completely banned transplant tourism, however, organs can still be purchased on the black market. The World Health Organization says the organs often come from vulnerable people. Medical tourism also presents problems for locals who now face more competition for healthcare in their own country. Wealthy outsiders can crowd out native citizens, and even raise the prices for certain procedures by increasing demand. Healthcare providers can also be required to change their practices in order to accommodate and cater to foreigners.
Presently, the future of medical tourism is expected to remain profitable as experts predict billions of dollars in revenue growth for the coming years. Overall, overseas plastic surgery is still in its early stages and we need more time to find out if it will become the future or the disaster of medical field.