If you’re nodding your head yes, then maybe you’re already considering dental travel. Each year thousands of Americans, Australians, Brits and Canadians travel for a dental treatment abroad. Some popular destinations include Mexico, Thailand, Costa Rica and most recently, Central Europe. The reasons patients travel abroad for dental treatments vary, but usually, the driving factors include price and time. Even including the price of travel and accommodation, patients save on average 50-75%.
In order to better understand the why’s, how’s and possibilities of dental travel, here are 3 common scenarios that explain the advantages of having your next dental treatment abroad.
1. One-Day Dentistry (2 Day Visit)
Thanks to CEREC technology, patients can have a new smile in 24 hours. By using a 3D camera and special software, the dentist can create, polish and fit new crowns, veneers, onlays, inlays or bridges during a single visit. This is perfect for having a dental treatment abroad.If you’re traveling from the UK, a flight to central Europe only takes less than 2 hours and is often less than £35.Patients who choose CEREC are often able to save the most, and stay a maximum of 1-2 nights.
2. Short-Gap (5-7 Day Visit)
For patients traveling further distances (United States, Canada), an ideal trip will last 5-7 days. Popular treatments include veneers and crowns and the procedure is split into two visits.
Day 1: Arrive, Consultation & Impressions, Temporary Crowns/Veneers (Visit #1)
Day 3: Diagnostic Dental Wax-Up (Smile Preview, optional during Visit #1)
Day 5-7: New Veneers/Crowns Fitted, Depart (Visit #2)
Another reason people are choosing dental treatment abroad is to travel– duh! Instead of spending thousands more to stay home and visit their local dentists, patients are combining low-cost dental treatment and their vacation. For instance, from Prague, Czech Republic (Central Europe) it takes only a few hours to travel by train or bus to Vienna, Budapest, Berlin and Munich. Because dental work generally requires little to no recovery time, patients are free to travel and take advantage of new sites and culture.
This was the case for Salutara patients, Paul Cogan, professional baseball scout with the LA Dodgers, and his wife Carol. In 2016, they couple traveled to Prague, the Czech Republic for dental work. After years of what Paul considered “band-aid fixes”, he and his wife of 31-years, and parents of three decided it was time to finally put an end to Paul’s dental fiasco and explore Europe in the meantime.
For the cost of the treatment (4 porcelain crowns + examination, OPG photo, Anesthesia- $2,000/approx. $438 per crown)
Four nights in Prague ($200)
A train ticket ($37) and one night in Vienna ($55)
Two nights in London ($130)
2 round-trip flight tickets ($1,479)
Price of food + other expenses (approx. $500)
All in all, the Cogan’s spent roughly $4,400 (USD). Compare this to the average cost of dental treatment near San Francisco, California,which can be as high as $1,800 per porcelain crown (*often excluding the price of examination, OPG photo, Anesthesia), andtheir total savings stretched well over two thousand dollars.
“Coming to Prague for Paul’s treatment was out first time in Europe. We wanted to make this trip more than just dental work, so we planned for a lot of sightseeing in between visits to the clinic,” Carol added in an interview with Salutara.“We toured Prague Castle, the Jewish Cemetery, Wenceslaus Square, Prague Zoo and took a train trip to Vienna. Prague is a very friendly, affordable city, and easy to get around on foot or by public transport.”
3. Longer-Gap (3 months)
Often times, patients experience more serious dental issues (i.e. dental implants, missing bone, etc.). As a result, two trips may be necessary. While this may seem like a more pricey option, extensive dental work in the United States and the UK tends to cost a small fortune. It is often uninsured as well.
Day 1: Arrive, Implant Consultation & 3D Scans
Day: 2-3: Make Implants, Depart
Trip #2: 3 Months Later
Day 1: Arrive, Crown Consultation
Day 2: Implantation (Stay 1-2 nights)
Day 3 or 4: Depart
After returning home, a local dentist can remove their sutures during a follow-up appointment For patients making two trips, it is a popular opinion to extend the first visit and soak up their surroundings much like Paul and Carol.
Would you ever buy a house without windows and doors?
How about a car that didn’t include the price of tires, mirrors, and headlights? Probably not. It actually sounds ridiculous. And like the responsible consumer that you are, you’d probably do your research first in order to find the best deal. Right? Sadly, when it comes to undergoing a medical or cosmetic procedure, patients are morelikely to neglect the fine print. Whereas an average person takes 6-12 months before making a major purchase, when it comes to our health, we’re quicker to pull the trigger without fully understanding the cost breakdown.
Are You Paying More Than You Should?
As international travel becomes more affordable, medical travel, or medical tourism, is becoming a safe and economical option for those looking to save money without sacrificing quality. Driven by rising insurance prices, under coverage, and long wait times (see: Why Are Millions of People Choosing Medical Travel?), medical travel is sparking competition between European clinics looking to attract more international clients. In many ways, healthy competition is good. But like all good things, it leaves room for those looking to lure in patients with empty promises.
Take dental crowns and veneers, for instance. Cosmetic dentistry is a booming industry in Central Europe. Hundreds of online medical platforms are available to provide free quotes and facilitate your travel. However, some quotes- though extremely cheap- do not include all of the necessary treatment costs.
Recently, a dental clinic in Hungary was quoting patients 4,500 EUR for 12 full ceramic crowns. Several patients reported arranging their surgeries, as well as flights and accommodation, only to find that the original price did NOT include the price of Kofferfam (dental dam), anesthesia or the temporary crowns.
Similarly, breast augmentation is notorious for hidden costs and caveats. A common trap is when clinics advertise low prices, but only if a specific, often lower-quality, implant is used. The leading problem with cheap implants is that patients are more likely to experience corrective surgery down the road- often costing more than the original surgery.
Plastic surgeon, Dr. Michael Law comments, “Some physicians promote low-priced breast augmentation, only for a patient to discover that the price is only for one type of implant, with one type of incision…then, the “bait and switch” ensues.” He continues to explain, “A different implant will cost more…an anesthesiologist will cost more…[and] then, just like buying a used car, the price will shift from the total price to monthly payments with a financing plan that could be very regrettable. This is a huge red flag.”
“Some physicians promote low priced breast augmentation, only for a patient to discover that the price is for only one type of implant, with one type of incision…then, the “bait and switch” ensues.”
Unfortunately, read the fine print quotes are popping up all over the globe. The good news is, you can protect yourself with these three, simple tips:
1. Request A FULL Cost Breakdown
The is especially important for patients traveling abroad and negotiating quotes online. Whether you are working directly with the clinic or using an online medical travel platform, you have the right to know exactly what you are paying for. Below is a patient quote for 12 full ceramic crowns from two separate dental clinics inPrague, the Czech Republic. In this case, transparency is key. Otherwise, you could end up paying a la carte for things such as anesthesia, bandages, drains, medication and overnight recovery time.
Price Offer Summary
2. Only Work With Accredited Clinics & Surgeons
This may seem obvious, but thanks to technology, any clinic or surgeon with a sexy new website may seem legitimate. Memberships and certifications to look for include:
The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS)
European Association of Plastic Surgeons (EURAPS)
British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS)
General Medical Council (GMC)
American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
A trusted clinic will typically display their accreditation and provide explicit pricing. A board certified surgeon will likely do the same. If you are using a medical platform, make sure they only partner with accredited clinics. Also, ensure that they are providing quotes directly from the clinic.
3. Cheaper Isn’t Always Cheaper
Undergoing a medical or cosmetic procedure is not like negotiating a new data plan. While it’s important to find an affordable treatment, it is certainly not everything. And often you end up paying more than the slightly more expensive treatment.The patients who went to the Hungarian dental clinic ended up paying a total of 6400–6900 EUR. This is approximately 2,000 EUR more than the originalquote.
To avoid a similar fate, treat your procedure like buying a new car. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. New York plastic surgeon, Dr. Matthew Schulman adds,”While [there] are legitimate ways to keep costs down…some doctors cut costs other ways. Some may choose to lower costs by using poorly qualified staff and non-board-certified anesthesiologists. Others may obtain medications, supplies, and even breast implants from overseas distributors where prices are lower but standards are more lax. These are all things that can place your results – and personal safety – at risk.”
Basically, it is important to take your time. Weigh your options, do your research, and remember that it is your health (and wallet) that will ultimately pay the price.
Dallas Wiens, 25, was severely injured when his head touched a high-voltage electrical wire while working inside a cherry picker.
Zlaté české ručičkyachytré české hlavičky is an old Czech proverb, meaning “golden Czech hands and clever Czech heads.” In 2011, a team of surgeons gathered around an operating table in Boston, Massachusetts to perform the nation’s first (and world’s third) full facial transplant. Lead by renowned plastic surgeon, Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, the patient’s nose, palate, upper lip, and facial skin, muscles, and nerves was successfully replaced with those of a deceased donor. Born in former Czechoslovakia, Dr. Pomahac’s groundbreaking achievements in plastic surgery are celebrated universally and abroad. As for the rest of the medical community, the newly named, “Czechia”, is setting the bar extra high when it comes to performance and innovation.
In a country known more for its medieval castles, hockey, and of course, beer, the Czechs are just as serious about their medical contributions. Check out 4 ways the Czechs are ahead of the game:
1. The “Heart” Of Europe
Faithfully beating more than 100,000 times a day, the heart is unquestionably one of our most vital organs. Landlocked between Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia, the Czech Republic is often referred to as “The Heart of Europe”.
Appropriately, the Czechs are world leaders in cardiac surgery; performing the country’s first successful heart transplant in 1984. Recognized for their excellent system of healthcare for those suffering from acute coronary symptoms- especially the treatment and prevention of heart attacks- the Czech Republic is also home to state-of-the-art cardiovascular centers as well as some of the world’s top cardiac specialists.
Da Vinci Xi. The widely universal word “robot” was first coined by Czech brother Karel and Josef Čapek.
Since 2005, Prague’s Na Homolce hospital has been using robotic technology to assist in various surgeries, including cardiac. In 2016, they added a new, upgraded member to their surgical team. His name? Da Vinci Xi.Controlled by a human surgeon, Da Vinci Xi’s mechanical arms offer precision that would not otherwise be possible.
2. Second Chances
In 1932, the Czech Republic became the first country in the world to recognize plastic surgery as an independent branch of medicine. Many Czech surgeons, including Dr. Pomahač, have received international acclaim; and their success is no accident. After a minimum of 6 years at an accredited university, medical students must pass a rigorous series of exams followed by a two years residency with an experienced practitioner. It can be nearly a decade before they ever perform an operation.
While working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Dr. Pomahač became increasingly interested in the subject of face transplants. In 2009, the first partial face transplant was successfully completed in France. Four years later, Dr. Pomahač and his surgical team performed a 17-hour operation to reconstruct the severely disfigured face of James Maki, age 59. In 2011, Dr. Pomahač led a team of 30 physicians, nurses and anesthesiologists for more than 15 hours to complete the first full transplant in the USA (see photo above).
3. Fighting Infertility
Since 1978, nearly 5 million babies have been born thanks to infertility treatment- specifically IVF. In
1984, the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia) became one of the first countries to pioneer In Vitro Fertilization and facilitate a successful birth.
As of 2017, the Czech Republic is home to over 30 fertility clinics and centers.
According to NHS, 1 in 7 couples will have difficulty conceiving. Determined to help millions of men and women realize their dream of starting a family, the Czechs continue to invest a fortune in comprehensive IVF centers and extensive reproduction procedures. Today, they rank among the highest IVF success rates; 70 % in cases involving donated eggs. Czech legislation also plays a critical role in the rapidly growing field. It permits anonymous donation and the option to choose the physical characteristics of the donated egg or sperm in order to prevent serious genetic diseases.
Approximately 1 in every 5,000 women is born without a uterus, cervix, and upper vaginal canal. The rarely-discussed, devastating syndrome, MRKH, makes it impossible to carry a fetus to term.
Historically, women with MRKH have had very few options, one of which being a uterus transplant from a live donor. In 2016, Czech doctors from the Prague-based Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) performed the sixth of now thirteen worldwide uterus transplants. Czech experts say that the next step is transplanting from dead donors. For thousands of women, this means the opportunity to carry and give birth.
Breast augmentation is still the most popular procedure for women, with over 1.5 million in 2015.
Cosmetic surgery is a hot-button topic. Ask anyone and they will either tell you it’s the best decision they’ve ever made or swear it off entirely. Whichever side of the fence you find yourself-or maybe the jury’s still out- it’s important to know the facts. Unfortunately, today most news worthy stories regarding cosmetic surgery are either completely ridiculous (and extreme), or centered around celebrities and reality television. And considering that more than 21 million people have a surgical or nonsurgical cosmetic procedure each yeah, we figured it’d be a good idea to shed some light on the facts and debunk the myths:
1. The Myth: Cosmetic surgery is the same as plastic surgery
Believe it or not, the terms “plastic surgery” and “cosmetic surgery” are NOT the same. According to Dr. Shahram Salemy, MD, “The use of these terms interchangeably has led to many misconceptions about these procedures.” He adds, “Cosmetic surgery is performed solely for aesthetics and to improve appearance [and] plastic surgery also includes reconstructive surgery to repair birth defects or damages caused by trauma or illness.”
For example, breast reconstruction after breast cancer is considered plastic surgery, while breast augmentation is cosmetic. Very often, the difference lays in the eyes of the insurance companies. Generally, most policies will cover plastic surgery and not cosmetic surgery.
2. The Myth: It is (too) expensive
Perpetuated by Hollywood’s rich and famous, it’s no wonder us ‘common folk’ believe we could never afford a bosom (among other things) like Kim Kardashian or refined nose like Megan Fox. In the past, this was often true. But today, thanks to a little phenomenon called medical travel, cosmetic surgery is becoming more affordable than ever.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of breast augmentation in the United States is around $3,678. This price only includes the surgeon’s fee. It does not include the cost of anesthesia, facilities, and materials (stitches, bandages, drapes, etc.). The price will also vary depending on doctor, patient, and region. In the UK this price is between £3,400-£5,000. Nowcompare that to an all-inclusive breast augmentation in the Czech Republic ($2,645/£2,120) and you’re looking at some serious savings without sacrificing quality.
3. The Myth: Liposuction is a quick, easy way to lose weight
“Liposuction” is a medical word for fat removal, but it’s not a treatment for weight loss or obesity.
We’d all love to lipo-away that extra weight we put on during the winter. Unfortunately, liposuction is not the answer- though it can help. Liposuction is NOT the same as bariatric surgery. Therefore it is NOT a weight-loss surgery. Liposuction removes stubborn, unwanted fat from trouble spot on the body (i.e. inner thighs, tummy, back, chin). Before undergoing the procedure, most surgeons require that you be as close to your ‘goal’ or ‘natural’ weight as possible. While lipo helps to slim and contour the body, the results will only last as long as your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
4. The Myth: Cosmetic surgery means “going under the knife”
Topping the charts with 4.6 million procedures per year, Botulinum Toxin (BOTOX®) is the most popular cosmetic procedure for both men and women worldwide. Instead of “going under the knife”, more and more patients are opting to go under the laser or needle. Thanks to new innovative technologies, even traditionally invasive procedures like liposuction have new alternatives, like Coolsculpting®. In 2017, experts predict that non-invasive procedures, like Kybella (an injectable which eliminates double-chins),will continue to grow in popularity. Benefits typically include lower prices, little to no recovery time and only the use of local anesthetics; usually in the form of creams or injectables. Other popular non-invasive cosmetic procedures include: Hyaluronic Acid, Hair Removal, Photo Rejuvenation and Nonsurgical Fat Reduction.
5. The Myth: Cosmetic surgery is only for women
By far, women still dominate the cosmetic surgery market. However, in 2015, cosmetic surgeons saw a significant rise in men looking to boost their confidence and improve their image. 3 million to be exact. Recent statistics from the American Plastic Surgery Surgeons reveal that the most popular surgical procedures for men are: Eyelid Surgery, Liposuction, Gynecomastia (male breast reduction), Rhinoplasty and Fat Grafting.
6. The Myth: The Kardashians have never had cosmetic surgery
Quality, affordable healthcare is on the forefront of minds around the world. Out-of-pocket medical costs for critical and elective procedures continue to skyrocket, and nations offering universal care are struggling to keep up with the demand. As a result, millions of patients are crossing borders each year in order to access better healthcare options, save money, and cut down on increasingly long wait times. According to Patients Beyond Borders, the worldwide medical tourism market is estimated to be growing at a rate of 15-25%.
In a recent interview with Martin Cvetler and Petr Vankat, co-founders of Salutara, they discuss how Salutara.com is helping patients navigate the new world of medical travel, and how they plan to revolutionize the medical tourism industry.
Q: Hi Petr and Martin! Tell us a little bit about Salutara. Where did the inspiration to start an online medical travel platform come from?
Petr:Some people believe that traveling is the best way to enrich your life, and I completely agree. Several years ago I was visiting a friend in Switzerland, and came across a local travel agent who was providing citizens of the beautiful Swiss town, Thun, a chance to take advantage of high quality yet significantly lower priced Hungarian dentistry. It stroke me as a brilliant idea! I started imagining how great it would be to give people the means to find the perfect treatment, clinic and doctor, anywhere in the world.
A friendly, coherent online platform seemed like the easiest way to provide simple communication and allow patients to book their procedures directly. My mother is also an eye surgeon, so and I grew up around doctors. It only made sense.
Martin: There were other online platforms out there at the time we started building Salutara.com, but none that provided users with full, end-to-end service. Our idea wasn’t to be the same, and it still isn’t. We’ve created Salutara.com to be something like the Booking.com of medical treatments, although finding a clinic and booking a medical treatment is certainly not the same as booking a hotel room. When you’re working with patients from all over the world, with real medical concerns, building trust is the main concern.
Co-Founder, Petr Vankat and Salutara dental client, Ingrid, USA, sightseeing in Prague before her procedure.
Q: What are some of the main advantages of traveling abroad for medical treatments?
Martin: There are plenty of advantages of traveling abroad for a medical treatment. Shorter wait times, better quality, and lower prices to name a few. Patients generally want top quality for a reasonable and affordable price. Today, prices can vary 2-3 fold depending on the country. Recently, a client traveled from the USA for 5 days of extensive dental treatment. In total, she spent 8,800 USD. Back home in the USA, the same procedure would easily cost 3 times more.
Price aside, she was also extremely happy with the quality of the clinic in the Czech Republic. Based on her experience, she felt that it was better equipped than some US clinics.
Q: What is the most frequent question (or concern) patients have before traveling abroad for a medical procedure?
Petr: Price, quality and language spoken- in this order. As Martin mentioned, most people ask for good quality for an affordable price, however, some prefer quality regardless of price. And as far as languages, we direct our customers to clinics and doctors equipped with particular language skills. In the near future we’ll be launching a concierge service including interpretation on site.
Martin: We also provide every client with multiple price quotes from different clinics so they can compare and get a good feel for the price level. Our goal is to provide clients with standardized quotes that are easy to understand and compare. Simplicity is key. Our clients have busy lives and we value their time.
Q: Let’s talk about Salutara.com. What features and capabilities does your full-service, online platform provide?
Martin:The ultimate solution is a user friendly platform that connects clients with clinics for unlimited online consultations, price quotes, date booking, trip planning (when going abroad), including the transportation and accommodation. At the same time, every client has a dedicated Salutara coordinator that helps with questions before and during the trip, and helps clients make the right, and best decision for them.
Petr: Adding to what Martin said, it is also a matter of common sense. We want to solve the annoying problems people face when doing it themselves? For instance, having to approach clinics with different price lists, exchanging lengthy, exhausting e-mail back and forth (often hard to keep track of), discussing different availabilities, language skills, and of course, finding credible patient reviews. This is what we are currently solving and working on.
Q: How do you support the patients before, during and after their medical travel?
Martin: As I said before, we do and provide everything that helps to make the right decision about the clinic. Once the date of a treatment is reserved, we help each client organize everything else, including the airport transfers, accommodation and anything else they might need at the destination. Once they arrive, we make sure they are at all of their appointments on time, arrange any necessary transportation, and accompany them to the clinic if they wish.
Petr: In addition, as well as you might appreciate to be asked how everything was before leaving a restaurant, we do the same before our clients leave the country of treatment and when they arrive home. Feedback is crucial for further improvement and it also gives Salutara’s customers a chance to share a few happy “after” pictures with us, which so far they’ve loved doing.
Q: What responsibilities do you have as one of the world’s leading medical travel platforms?
Petr:It’s a good question. We are responsible for providing a variety of transparent options for customers to choose from. All data needs to be accurate and quick response times are critical for urgent treatments . This is especially true for IVF, when every seconds counts.
Martin:As Petr said, accurate and extensive information is 100% necessary, and we do not believe in cutting corners. Speedy and relevant responses are also important, as well as honesty, trust and care.
Online medical travel platform, Salutara, co-founders, Martin (right) and Petr (left)
Q: How do you ensure the safest and most comfortable experience for your patients?
Petr:Clients have the option to ask for our Salutara welcome package. Thisincludes having a personal assistant that picks them up at the airport, takes them to their hotel, and introduces them at clinic. It’s also totally natural to feel stressed before a surgery in a strange country. We understand that. Therefore, they appreciate having someone there, on the spot, ready to help provide comfort, courage and resolve any potential hick ups.
*Bringing patients a complimentary McFlurry or pumpkin spiced latte when there’s a sudden craving is just a bonus (smile).
Q: Your partnerships with clinics and physicians are a key factor in the patient’s success. How do you decide which partners meet your standards in order to provide highest level of service?
Petr: All of the clinics we work with are accredited, certified and members of various worldwide association.We do extensive research on each clinic beforehand recommending them to client. It’s also important to keep in mind that themedical field is very well connected, and the clinics we work with often recommend one another. For example, a dental clinic may recommend a plastic surgery clinic for cooperation. It is then our job to verify any personal bias- positive or negative. Also, you can tell a lot about a clinic from its management, staff and by looking into previous customers’ reviews. We take all customer feedback into consideration.
Q: Where do you see Salutara in the next few years? Which *new* treatments will you be offering?
Petr: Our goal to continually improve and provide more of what our clients want and need. In regards to treatments, there is a high demand on the market for laser eye surgeries – those are going to be next. Also dermatological procedures and so called mummy makeovers are to be added and later even more sophisticated treatments like knee or hip replacements and even proton cancer therapy.
Geographically, Salutara will expand its clinic offers to other countries such as Hungary, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand or Costa Rica and Mexico.
Q: Medical tourism is a booming industry, and shows no sign of slowing down. How does Salutara set itself apart from other medical travel agencies?
Martin:Well, in a way Salutara already has. A majority of agencies offer a limited scope of services focusing on a specific local market. For example, only bringing German customers to Hungary for dental treatments only. Salutara does not intend to be just ‘another agency’, per say, but the website/App which comes to mind every time you need a medical treatment. Salutara is transparent, easy to use, and an end-to-end service. Our goal is to facilitate direct communication with clinics/doctors, personal assistance and create a stress free process.
In 1978, the first “test-tube baby” was born. Since 1981, more than 5 million babies have been born thanks to infertility research and the science of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Since its infancy, IVF has been highly scrutinized, criticized and has stirred up plenty of moral controversy and debate. While the opposition has softened, with every advancement comes new resistance. To better understand the evolution of IVF, we’ve highlighted some of the benefits and drawbacks, as well as addressing the big questions.
1. Helping Couples Start A Family
1 in 6 couples need medical help to have a baby. Millions around the world have realized their dream of having a baby through the process of IVF. It is becoming more and more common for women to start a family later in life. In the United States, the average age of new mothers is at an all-time high of 26 years.In 1970 it was 21.4. The average age offirst time mothersin the UK is 28.5 years.
As women age, it is natural that fertility rates decrease. The proverbial “biological clock” begins to tick, and fertility rates decrease by 3-5% each year after age 30. After 40, fertility reduces to an even greater extent. Male infertility is also a major contributor. Nearly half of couples who cannot conceive experience infertility as a result of poor sperm quality. For couples who suffer from infertility, IVF is often the best and last solution to start a family. For many, what was once a dead-end road is now full of new possibility.
2. Scientific & Medical Progress
Another benefit of IVF comes from a scientific standpoint. IVF involves retrieving and fertilizing a woman’s eggs in a special laboratory before introducing the embryos to the uterus. By studying fertilization and early embryonic development outside the womb, scientists are learning more about the earliest stages of human life and possibly how to prevent certain birth defects. The mind behind the first IVF baby, 2010 Nobel Prize Winner, Laureate Robert Edwards, was extremely outspoken about the far-reaching medical and scientific benefits of IVF.
In 2003 he told the London Times:
“[IVF] was a fantastic achievement, but it was about more than infertility. It was also about issues like stem cells and the ethics of human conception. I wanted to find out exactly who was in charge, whether it was God himself or whether it was scientists in the laboratory…Soon it will be a sin for parents to have a child that carries the heavy burden of genetic disease. We are entering a world where we have to consider the quality of our children.”
While Edwards was undoubtedly on one end of the spectrum, there is no arguing the scientific and medical ‘miracles’ IVF continues to pioneer. The Human Fertility & Embryology Authority (HFEA), also plays a large role in the development of reproductive medicine. In 2004, HFEA granted the first license to a clinic to screen embryos for diseases they might develop as adults.
3. Too Much Risk
For those against IVF, objections began well beforethe first test tube baby, when no one even knew if the science would work. Critics feared the possibility of deformed babies and terminal illnesses. Even DNA co-discoverer, James Watson, warned Edwards, “You can only go ahead with your work if you accept the necessity of infanticide. There are going to be a lot of mistakes. What are we going to do with the mistakes?”
Today we can dismiss many of the most extreme concerns from half a century ago. However, like any medical procedure, IVF doesn’t come without some risk. We know that Multiple Births (Gestation), increases with IVF. If a transfer to the uterus includes more than one embryo, the risk of a pregnancy with multiple fetuses increases. Often this results in a higher risk of premature labor and low birth weight. Even if only one fetus develops, IVF slightly increases the risk of a premature delivery and low birth rate.
4. Destroying The Traditional Family
Another popular concern was that IVF would ultimately destroy the nuclear family. Many believed that traditional marriage would be replaced by laboratory breeding, or something resembling a science fiction novel. The most conservative feared and opposed the creation of new, non-traditional families, while some feminists worried that the pressure on women to have children would increase. Others worried that so-called, “test tube babies” would be rejected as social outcasts. Biologist, Lee Silver argues:
“Here’s a technology which is almost always used to allow a married man and woman to have a child, to form a family…IVF facilitates a very, very traditional outcome, which is a mother and a father and children.”
Today this concern is diminishing, and so is the concept of ‘traditional’ altogether. With the aid of donor sperm and eggs, and sperm and egg banking (preservation), it is possible for same sex couples, and single women to have a baby. New, ‘alternative’ families are more common and accepted.
5. Playing God
Not all IVF criticism hangs on bad outcomes. Others considered IVF innately wrong because it is ‘unnatural’. These critics have silenced over time, but many still argue that IVF scientists are attempting to “play God”. In a statement from the Vatican, the Catholic Church states,“Fecundation must be carried out according to nature and through reciprocal and responsible love between a man and a woman.”
Recently, a technique called Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) has been the topic of much debate. PGD allows scientists to test and correct genetic disorders while the embryos are outside of the body, before transfer to the uterus. IVF specialist at the University College Hospital London, Dr Paul Serhalat, addressed the issue:
“Of course some people feel uncomfortable when doctors start to interfere with nature and others wonder where it will end. Where does society draw the line-at the colour of a baby’s eyes?”
As it stands,choosing the sex of a baby is against the law in the UK. However, it is legal in other countries, such as the United States. HFEA states that the use of PGD may only for certain severe or life-threatening disorders at a limited number of clinics. As of 2008, HFEA also banned sex selection for non-medical reasons.
6. The “New Normal”
Each year, thousands of babies are born with the help of infertility treatment, such as IVF. Like all new technology or scientific advancements, people are often ‘skeptical’ at best, and fearful at worst. Today IVF is a mainstream medical procedure. Traditional couples, same sex couples, and single women all over the world are pursuing the dream of starting a family and for many, IVF is the best solution. To deny any human the possibility to procreate is a moral controversy in itself.
Each year, over 40 million cosmetic surgeries are performed around the world. Of these 40 million, 1.4 million are breast augmentations; the most popular cosmetic surgery among women. Most elective cosmetic surgery is not covered by health insurance, and as the price of health care skyrockets, more patients are choosing to have their medical treatments and surgeries abroad- over 11 million to be exact.
Today you will meet Candida, a Brazilian native and mother of a young daughter, as she talks about her decision to get breast augmentation abroad. Like other medical travelers, Candida’s story begins with a challenge and ends with a solution that provides the best, quickest and most affordable results.
Q: What factors influenced your decision to get breast augmentation?
Well, I’ve always had small breast- which I actually liked. I never thought about getting breast augmentation until after having my first child and starting to breastfeed. It’s amazing what a woman’s body experiences after childbirth, and it is not uncommon for the breasts to change size and shape after breastfeeding. Some get larger, some return to their pre-pregnancy size, but for me, mine got even smaller.
Breastfeeding for several years, along with post-baby dieting and exercise had a significant influence on their size. For the first time in my life I wanted larger breasts- similar to the size before having children. I had never had cosmetic surgery before, so it was not a decision to take lightly. If I was going to do this, I wanted the best surgeons and the highest quality. I am also a full-time chef, so between being a mother and my busy work schedule, I needed a solution that was simple.
Q: What made you choose to go abroad for your breast augmentation?
Originally I was going to go to Brazil, my home country, for the procedure. However, I live and work in Vienna, so traveling that far was going to be time consuming and pricey. That’s when a friend of mine introduced me to the full-service, online medical platform, Salutara. At the time I was aware of people traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery, but I never knew their were end-to-end services to assist you in the process. Salutara was an excellent resource to compare cosmetic surgery clinics based on price, accreditation, patient reviews and quality. They made the decision-making process quick, and simple, and saved me valuable time by alleviating the headache of doing research on my own.
Candida Before Breast Augmentation, Brandeis Clinic
Candida After Breast Augmentation, Brandeis Clinic
Q: Why did you choose to have your breast augmentation in Prague?
I had previously lived in Prague for 3 years, so I already knew it’s excellent reputation for cosmetic surgery. It is also a four and a half hour train ride from Vienna, so logistically it made sense. Salutara is partners with the Brandeis Clinic in Prague, and immediately put me in direct contact with my surgeon and the clinic staff. No surgery is without risk, and fears are normal, especially when you’re going into the surgery voluntarily. Speaking to my surgeon allowed me to have all of my questions and concerns addressed before the trip. We also discussed in length the type of implant I would get- anatomical (natural) or round- and if they would be subpectoral (under the muscle) or prepectoral (over the muscle). We agreed on Motiva, a round implant under the muscle.
Q:Was cost the most important factor?
I don’t think you can put a price on your health. If a safe surgery and better results meant spending more money, then I would do it. Sure, savings are attractive, especially when they can exceed 80%, but quality always takes precedence. Fortunately the Brandeis Clinic in Prague offers top-notch quality and state-of-the-art technology, so I did not have to sacrifice anything. The quality offered in Prague exceeded that in Vienna, so my decision to travel was easy. The significant difference in price was just icing on the cake.
Q: What were your first thoughts upon arriving at your clinic in Prague?
Throughout the entire process, my communication with Salutara and my clinic was quick and efficient. I was provided with all of the information about the surgery and exams before leaving Vienna. When I arrived in Prague, a member of Salutara was there to greet me and take me to my hotel, despite being very late in the evening. The next morning I went to the Brandeis Clinic where I met my surgeon, anesthetist, and the staff. As for the atmosphere, it was a beautiful building with modern installations, and located in the center of Prague. From my window I had lovely views that overlooked the cobblestone streets and century-old architecture.
Q: How prepared did you feel before the surgery?
I felt very confident and assured. The clinic was fully equipped, and my surgeon and anesthetist walked me through every detail. I was in good hands. There were absolutely no problems with communication either- which I know is a concern for some medical travelers. They offered english or german and the surgeons and nurses were really nice about providing me details about the whole surgery, care and after care. Breast augmentation requires full-anesthesia and the procedure took a little under two hours. Before I knew it I was waking up in recovery.
Brandeis Clinic is located in the historical center of the Czech Republic’s capital city, Prague
Q: It has been several weeks since your surgery, how do you feel about the results?
Well, I am still healing and the implants are settling. Surgery recovery is about 2 weeks and full recovery can take up to two months. But, so far I am extremely happy. My breasts look excellent and I am thrilled with the results. I keep asking myself why I didn’t get the surgery done sooner- but better late than never! My surgeon did beautiful work and I highly recommend Prague and the Brandeis Clinic to anyone else considering cosmetic surgery or medical travel. In fact, I am so pleased I have already recommended my surgeon to several of my friends who are now interested in breast augmentation themselves.
Q: What advice would you give to other medical travelers, or those considering it for the first time?
I highly recommend you don’t go it alone. Using a full-service medical platform like Salutara, saves you time, stress and a lot of headaches. And as I mentioned before, savings are great, but they should be a bonus to exceptional quality.
Second, ask questions! As many as you can think of. This is when being in direct contact with your surgeon is crucial, another benefit of using a medical platform. Cosmetic surgery is not something to take lightly, and important health questions (specific to you) need professional answers. Finally, if your schedule and allows it, take advantage of the city you’re traveling to. For instance, in Prague I recommend you take at least one day before your surgery to be a tourist and enjoy the most beautiful city in Europe. I also recommend spending a full 2-3 days (depending on your surgery) post-surgery to recover. This will make the trip home more comfortable.
The numbers are in- and they might surprise you. Just how many people got cosmetic surgery in 2015?
On July 26, 2016, the ISAPS (International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) released the results from its annual global survey. Compiling data from a questionnaire sent to approximately 35,000 plastic surgeons worldwide, more than 21 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures were performed in 2015. This is an increase of over 1 million cosmetic procedures from 2014. According to a press release from ISAPS, they reported that Botulinum Toxin (BOTOX®), continues to top the chart as the most popular cosmetic procedure for both men and women. A total of over 4.6 million procedures were performed worldwide. Another popular injectable, Hyaluronic Acid, increased 6.5% from 2014 to 2015. Once again, breast augmentation continues to be the most common surgical procedure among women, increasing 10.4% from 2014. Eyelid surgery remains the most prevalent for men.
Top 5 Surgical Procedures: Women
In 2015, women had more than 18 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures. This is an astounding 85.6% of the total procedures worldwide. The top five surgical procedures were:
Breast augmentation (1,476,498)
Eyelid surgery (988,620)
Top 5 Surgical Procedures: Men
Contributing to 14.4% of the total, men had more than 3 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures in 2015. The top five surgical procedures performed on men in 2015 were:
Eyelid surgery (276,082)
Fat grafting (92,311)
Top 4 Surgical Procedures: Total
Of the more than 21 million procedures performed in 2015, 9.6 million were surgical. The most popular (total) procedures were:
Breast Augmentation (up 10% vs. 2014)
Liposuction (up 2% vs. 2014)
Eyelid Surgery (down 11% vs. 2014)
Abdominoplasty (up 11% vs. 2014)
Top 5 Nonsurgical Procedures: Total
The remaining 12.1 million procedures in 2015 were nonsurgical procedures. Worldwide, the United States took the lead with 2.6 million procedures. The most popular procedures were:
Botulinum Toxin (down 4% vs. 2014)
Hyaluronic Acid (up 7% vs. 2014)
Hair Removal (down 14% vs. 2014)
Photo Rejuvenation (new to 2015 survey)
Nonsurgical Fat Reduction (new to 2015 survey)
Cosmetic Surgery By Country
According to ISAPS, the country with the highest number of procedures was the United States, setting the bar high at 1.4 million surgical and 2.6 million non-surgical procedures in 2015. The United States also has the largest number of active plastic surgeons with 6,500 followed by Brazil (5,500) and China (2,800). Coming in at a close second to the U.S. was Brazil, with a reported 1.2 million surgical and 1.1 million non-surgical procedures. Rounding out the list for the most procedures was South Korea, India, Mexico, Germany, Colombia, France, and Italy.
According to the ASPS (American Society of Plastic Surgeons), this is a 2% increase from 2014. In addition to continued growth over the last year, statistics indicate a shift in the types of procedures patients have chosen since the start of the new millennium. In a statement from ASPS President, David H. Song, he said,
“While more traditional facial procedures and breast augmentations are still among the most popular, we’re seeing much more diversity in the areas of the body patients are choosing to address…Patients have more options than ever, and working closely with their surgeon, they’re able to focus on specific target areas of the body to achieve the look they desire.”
New stats from the ASPS also revealed that 2015 was another “year of the rear”, as procedures focusing on the bottom dominated surgical growth. In 2015, buttock implants were the fastest growing type of cosmetic surgery in the United States. Overall, numbers showed that on an average day, one buttock procedure was performed every 30 minutes.
In 2016, a record 18.5 million women underwent some kind of cosmetic surgery worldwide.
From invasive surgeries, such as breast augmentation and liposuction, to more minor, noninvasive treatments, such as Botox and hair removal, the trend of self-improvement is steadily on the rise.
In the 21st century, cosmetic surgery is as a run-of-the-mill as a trip to the dentist. However, discussing the “work you’ve had done”, can still feel rather taboo. Women, especially, make a point to keep their nips and tucks under wraps, even going as far as to hide it from their spouses and children. In an interview with The Telegraph, plastic surgeon, Dr. Bryan Mendelson, commented that nearly 99% of his patients don’t tell their better halves, and that most women decide to go under the knife without consulting their nearest and dearest.
But why? Are women ashamed to of their cosmetic surgery? Are they worried about the reaction from others? Is our media’s critical portrayal of cosmetic surgery to blame? To shed some light on this dilemma, it is important to first understand the motivation behind cosmetic surgery.
Dr. Mendelson elaborated,
“People have surgery not to impress others, they do it to impress themselves. For many people, it’s about getting their confidence back…People aren’t doing surgery to win someone’s hand in marriage, they’re doing it for their inner self. There comes a time, in your 40s and 50s, when someone tells you ‘you’re looking tired’. You were feeling OK until someone said that. But now when you look in the mirror you no longer see your vibrant self.”
If this is true then why are women afraid their partners and family won’t be supportive?
He continued, “Patients’ husbands tend to freak out about surgery, saying ‘I love her the way she is, why would she risk doing that? “The fact is it’s about self-esteem. They’re doing it for themselves.”
What influence does the media have on the publics perception of cosmetic surgery?
Dr. Mendelson insisted that, “The way the media portrays cosmetic surgerysensationalizes people who look ridiculous after an operation…The vast majority of people who undergo surgery have something subtle done. They don’t want to tell people as they don’t want to be treated differently. It’s like make-up, they don’t want people to notice what they’ve had done. They’re doing it purely for themselves and their own self-esteem.”
But should women (and men) assume the response from their counterparts will be negative? New research actually reveals the opposite.
In a recent poll from Daily News and Analysis, they asked men if women who get cosmetic surgery put them off. What the results revealed was that more and more men are comfortable with the idea of women enhancing their looks- nearly 50%. The other half preferred a more natural look, but agreed that if a women would like to enhance her looks to feel more beautiful and confident, then why not.
In fact, in 2015 over 3.1 million men worldwide underwent some kind cosmetic surgery or anti-aging procedure as well. The most popular treatments? Eyelid surgery and Liposuction.
The truth of the matter is, cosmetic surgery is quite common, and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. For men, and women alike, it is important to talk openly with your partner about their motivation and desire for cosmetic surgery. In an interview with ELLE UK, pop-singer Kylie Minogue summed up the new attitude toward cosmetic surgery best,
“I’m not against surgery, I haven’t gone down that route yet and I don’t know whether I will but I’m not against it. The only time it isn’t amazing is when it’s not well done or someone takes it too far. But I look at someone like Jane Fonda. I’m a super-fan of hers. She doesn’t apologize [about her surgery] and she shouldn’t have to. We put makeup on every day, we tint, pluck, wax, we do anything to make ourselves look as good as we can and I think it’s pointless being hypocritical about something that if it’s done well can be really good.”
Thinking about liposuction? So are nearly 1.4 million other people each year. Liposuction is the 2nd most popular cosmetic surgery worldwide and has risen to fame for helping patients remove unsightly fat, often stubborn to exercise and diet, and reshape the natural contours of the body. Popular areas include the inner and outer thighs, stomach, hips, back, neckline and upper arms.
Since its debut in 1974, the cosmetic procedure has evolved above and beyond the wildest dreams of its earliest surgeons. Just like people, today liposuction comes in all shapes and sizes, giving patients more choices than ever when it comes to selecting the method that is right for them. And while more choices are better than none, it canbe overwhelming when undergoing such a procedure. So to help simplify, we’ve put together a breakdown of the 4 Most Popular Liposuction Methods.
1. Tumescent Liposuction
An innovative extension of traditional liposuction, tumescent is the most common and popular method worldwide, and is used in virtually every form of liposuction today. It is an invasive procedure and typically performed under local or general anesthesia, depending on the size of the target area. The procedure itself takes between 1.5-2 hours and the tumescent technique uses several litres of a saline “wetting” solution, which is injected below the skin and into the fat. This decreases blood loss, facilitates anesthesia and creates space between the muscle and fatty tissue, allowing the cannula to move more freely. Fat cells are then permanently removed (suctioned out) through small incisions with the use of a microcannula attached to a high-power vacuum.
A microcannula attached to a high-power vacuum suctions fat from under the skins surface.
Following surgery, patients are hospitalized for 1 night and fitted with elastic, compression undergarments which are worn for up to 8 weeks. It is recommended that patients do not perform any strenuous activity for at least 2 months. Final results can be seen within 3-4 months after surgery. Swelling and bruising are quite common during the recovery period.
Vaserlipo® is a semi-invasive method, performed under general anesthesia. An average procedure lasts about 1-2 hours. Similar to tumescent liposuction, the target fat is injected with a with a saline “wetting” solution. The next step utilizes ultrasound technology, and ultrasound waves are emitted externally to the fat cells. The waves liquify the fat cells and after the target areas have been treated, are extracted from the body.
Vaserlipo® is popular among patients and surgeons because it minimizes the internal impact on surrounding tissues and nerves, and any excess swelling, bleeding or discomfort. Because the ultrasonic extraction method only affects the fat cells, recovery is quick and virtually painless. Patients are generally in and out on the same day and able to return to their everyday activities immediately- no compression garments necessary. The results are permanent and are typically visible immediately following the procedure.
SlimLipo is a semi-invasive treatment performed under local anesthetic. The procedure itself takes approximately 2 hours and utilizes laser technology to directly target fat and protect the surrounding tissues and nerves. An ultra-thin, flexible cannula is then used to ensure minimal pain and reduce the risk of bruising and swelling by 79%, compared to more traditional methods. Up to 6 liters of fat may be removed during a single session, and the laser wavelengths promote tightening of the dermis (undersurface of skin), reducing wrinkles and cellulite. It is also popular for smaller areas which require more precision, such as under the chin.
After surgery, patients are fitted with special drawstring undergarments, which promote the proper reshaping and tightening of the skin. Immediately following they are able to return home or to work. Physical limitations may be determined by the surgeon on an individual bases, while final results can be seen within 1-3 months.
Zeltiq CoolScultping® is the newest, non-invasive method of liposuction which uses a handheld device to precisely freeze and permanently destroy fat cells below the surface of the skin. The treatment of one area lasts only 1 hour and is completely painless. Protected by a special gel membrane and device settings, only fat cells are targeted and all other tissues, organs and nerves remain unaffected.
CoolScultping is suitable for almost every part of the body, including the abdomen, inner and outer thighs, hips and buttocks. The only limitation is that the target area must be an appropriate size to fit the vacuum aspiration instrument (CoolSooth®). The biggest advantage of this method is its speed, simplicity and zero-recovery time. As soon as the procedure is complete, patients are able to return home or to work and resume their daily activities. Most patients only require a single treatment and effects are noticeable immediately. Full results are seen within 3 months.
Salutara does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information on this site is merely to orientate and provide a general outline. It does not replace professional advice, diagnosis and treatment recommended by a physician.