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.
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.
Think the rich and famous are born with those beautiful, white, flawless smiles? Guess again. Even some of the biggest stars once had smiles that were…less than camera ready. Thanks to cosmetic dentistry, some gnarly grins have been turned into beautiful, Hollywood smiles. Here are our 5 Best Celebrity Dental Makeovers:
5. Nicolas Cage
Regardless of what you think of his acting skills, Nicolas Cage didn’t always have a red carpet smile. To help boost his imagine (and career), Cage upped his game by getting a full set of dental veneers. Now we’re just waiting for that Travolta, Cage Face/Off sequel.
4. Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham
Ever wondered why Posh never smiled? After Spice Girls fame and scoring the most famous footballer on earth, Victoria decided it was time to have a smile that matched her royal lifestyle.
3. Zac Efron
Zac Efron was not always the sexy, talented, presumably shirtless movie star we see on screen today. Cosmetic dentistry helped turn his boyish grin into the flawless smile of a Hollywood heart-throb.
2. Miley Cyrus
Miley has literally transformed before our eyes since her sweet, tween days on Hannah Montana. While she’s been busy twerking, partying, and riding naked on wrecking balls, she has also upgraded her smile with a perfect set of veneers.
1. Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is the definition of a movie-star, but his smile was nothing short of a “mission impossible”. Thanks to some whitening, straightening and ultimately a full set of dental veneer, Tom is the leading man we know and love.
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.
Do you know who invented the first soft contact lenses?
How about the surgeon who completed the first full face transplant in 2011? Or the Nobel Prize nominated scientist who pioneered antiviral drugs crucial to the fight against HIV? Thanks to a small country in the heart of Europe, all of these scientific discoveries and technological advances have been made possible.
Medical Tourism: The Czech Republic
What it lacks in size, the Czech Republic surely makes up in innovation, coining the old Czech proverb “Zlaté české ručičky a chytré české hlavičky” or“golden Czech hands and clever Czech heads.”
In keeping with tradition, the Czech Republic, an EU member since 2004, has recently become one of the most sought after destinations for medical tourism. Its capital city, Prague, often referred to as the “Jewel in the Crown” of Europe, or “The City of a Hundred Spires”, is one of the most popular tourist destinations around the world, enchanting more than 7 million visitors each year. Now, the vibrant and historical Czech capital is attracting more than just its usual beer and culture seeking crowds, but also thousands of medical travelers in need of everything ranging from cosmetic dentistry, breast augmentation and liposuction to “tummy tucks”, LASIK eye surgery and IVF. Other notable cities in the Czech Republic include Brno, Ostrava, and Pilsen.
Only a two-hour plane ride from London, its close proximity to the UK and Western Europe has made the Czech Republic the ideal location for those seeking medical procedures abroad. Along with its convenience, the Czech Republic maintains the highest standards of professionalism and top-notch quality, and considerably low prices when compared to other countries.
According to Iveta Jabouková of the Czech Tourism board, nearly 3 million CZK(£94,290/€109,978) has been dedicated to boosting the Czech Republic’s medical tourism profile this year alone.
Why Are People Choosing Medical Tourism?
This year, an estimated 11 million patients will hop on a plane, train or drive across borders for a medical treatment. Recently, Western Europe and the UK have felt the impact of major public sector cuts, resulting in a decrease in the quality of medical care in countries such as Germany, France, and Great Britain. Less spending on public healthcare has resulted in longer wait lines and understaffed hospitals and clinics.
Recent stats show that the average wait time for an approved treatment in the UK is more than 18 weeks- the worst it’s been in 7 years. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS), covers routine screenings, treatment for the long-term condition and end-of-life care, but often excludes prescription costs, optical and dental services, and infertility treatments such as IVF. Unapproved patients are forced to seek out expensive private practices, which are often unaffordable.
Fed up with long waiting lists, uninsured procedures, and hefty prices, an increasing number of people are looking overseas for medical care. When the quality of care, wait time and cost are considered, it makes a lot of sense. Financial savings from medical tourism can be significant. For instance, a silicon breast augmentation in the UK costs £3,400-£5,000 (€3,965-€5831). In the Czech Republic, an all-inclusive surgery will cost you £2,600 (€3,032) including travel, accommodation, and insurance.
Similarly, dental veneers in the UK or United States can cost anywhere between £400-1000 (€466-€1,166) per tooth, depending on the material used.In the Czech Republic, costs may be as low as £290 (€338) per tooth including the preparation, local anesthesia, and patient care. On average, medical tourism can save patients anywhere from 30-80% and keep wait times as short as one week.
What To Expect in the Czech Republic
While cheaper prices are attractive, the superior quality of care is what sets the Czech Republic apart. Its medical industry is highly regulated and there are strict state regulations and accreditation requirements for all healthcare facilities, both state-operated and private. Accredited organizations such as ISO and JCI ensure that patients receive world-class treatment. Many private clinics provide ultra modern facilities. This ensures that each client has a luxurious place to stay during their treatment and recovery, as well as round-the-clock care.
And if you think to become a medical professional in the Czech Republic was a park in the walk- think again. First, medical students must graduate from their accredited universities after a minimum of six years. Next, they must pass a series of first level exams followed by a two years residency with an experienced practitioner. For instance, a plastic surgeon must spend two years in general surgery and four years studying plastic surgery theory and gaining practical practice in a state-certified clinic before ever having the opportunity to operate themselves.
Over the past 2 decades more and more western-style, privately owned clinics have opened throughout the country.Quite often they are run by Western-trained doctors. English literacy is high, especially in Prague, and with cultural differences at a minimum, it is perfect for seasoned or first-time medical traveler.
All in all, the Czech Republic is the perfect place to relax and recoup after a procedure. It is also ideal for a pre or post-op sightseeing holiday and soaking in everything the city has to offer- a much-needed break from the daily grind. You gain quality of care and keep money in your wallet, all the while having an opportunity to experience one of Europe’s finest cities.
Each year, over 11 million patients worldwide leave their home country for a medical treatment. This year, more than 200,000 Brits and 1.4 million Americans are expected to travel abroad for a medical treatment or procedure. Medical travel is the world’s fastest growing healthcare market and shows no sign of slowing down.
Often referred to as medical or health tourism, medical travel is an option for those seeking timely, efficient and affordable treatments. It is a global market of patients electing to travel across international borders to receive some kind of medical treatment. The first medical travellers set foot centuries ago. Ancient Greeks would journey from all over the Mediterranean to a small territory near the Saronic Gulf called Epidauria. According to the Greeks, this territory belonged to the healing god- the birthplace of medical travel. Nowadays, the most frequent treatments include dental care, cosmetic surgery, elective surgery and infertility treatment. Although there is no universal definition of medical travel, it generally does not include emergency cases or expatriates seeking medical care in their country of residence.
Why are people choosing medical travel?
The two main reasons people go abroad for a medical treatment are long-wait times and cost. Recent statistics show that the average wait time for an approved treatment in the UK is 18 more weeks or more- the worst in 7 years. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS), provides free healthcare to nearly 64.6 million people; 54.3 million in England alone. As of 2016, this means nearly 1 million patients every 36 hours. The NHS covers everything from routine screenings, to treatment for long-term conditions and end-of-life care, but often excludes prescription costs, optical and dental services, and infertility treatments such as IVF. Unapproved patients are forced to seek out private practices, making many medical treatments unaffordable.
In the United States, healthcare costs continue to skyrocket. Individuals who must purchase health insurance on the open market are faced with an overwhelming number of choices. A comprehensive health insurance plan will run the average American $100 per month or more. For other health insurance consumers’, their choices are limited by their employer’s group health insurance providers. Still many medical treatments may end up being out-of-pocket- such as adult dental care, weight loss or cosmetic surgery and corrective eye surgery. For example, LASIK eye surgery in the UK or United States can cost anywhere between £1,432-£5527 per eye depending on the severity of the prescription. Abroad, costs may be as low as £750 per eye. Medical travel can save patients up to 80% with wait-times as little as 1-2 weeks.
Where are the most popular destinations?
An average medical travel patients saves about 30%-80% on the cost of their medical procedure or treatment at home. A patient’s goal is to find the best price without compromising the quality of care. This can be challenging as standards, costs, and areas of expertise vary by country. Traditionally, the medical travel market has been dominated by Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, Mexico, and Brazil as well as countries in Southeast Asia including Thailand, Malaysia and India.
Sharing a common background or culture is important as well. Recently, European hospitals and private clinics have started promoting their services. Countries including Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, are providing new opportunities and shorter travel times for medical travelers coming from the UK, Canada and the United States.
How do I plan my trip abroad?
Once deciding on the right country, the next step is selecting the right clinic. Treatment costs, convenience, and staff credentials and experience must be considered. Though some patients decide to go this step alone, millions use an online medical travel platformor agency to help. This saves valuable time during the decision-making process and elevates the headache and stress of doing research on your own. The purpose of a medical travel platform is not stand as a middleman, but rather to act as a facilitator and a resource. The aim is to put you, as the patient, in direct contact with the clinics, dentists, and surgeons, allowing your questions and concerns to be answered by the professionals.
After speaking to your surgeon or dentist and selecting a clinic, the final step is to book a date. At Salutara, we assist you in arranging your flights, accommodation and transportation upon arrival. You will be greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel or accommodation. It is not uncommon for patients to schedule several extra days before or after their surgery to take advantage of the sites and culture in the country.
By using a medical travel platform, you not only gain a personal travel liaison but a personal advocate throughout the entire journey.
When can I get started?
Today! The purpose of medical travel is to make healthcare accessible and affordable for everyone. Unaffordable treatments and unbearable wait-times are no longer acceptable.
Medical travel platforms serve to make research and planning your trip quick and easy. From the comfort of your sofa you can search and compare prices, clinics and procedures, and get free online consultations and quotes. Once selecting a treatment and clinic, you’re also put in direct communication with your surgeon or dentist, so that all of your medical questions and concerns can be addressed by a professional.
Medical travel is changing the way million of people look at healthcare and saving them valuable time and money. So what are you waiting for?
A trip to the dentist is no longer just a quick cleaning and reminder to floss. No No. Today cosmetic dentistry has revolutionized the classic field of dentistry and is giving patients more and more options to improve their smiles and their confidence. New technologies, such as CEREC®, have coined the phrase “1-day dentistry” and make getting a new smile over your lunch break possible. A variety of treatments are available including ceramic crowns, veneers, inlays onlays & overlays and teeth whitening. Similar restorative treatments include Dental Implants and Bridges.
Needless to say, advances in dentistry do not come without a price. Under the UK’s universal healthcare act, National Health Service (NHS), dental treatment is only covered if considered clinically necessary by your dentist in order to maintain oral health. This includes dentures, crowns and bridges. Dental implants, dentures and orthodontics are also covered. In most cases, cosmetic dentistry is considered an elective surgery and is not covered by insurance. Any cosmetic treatment used to improve the appearance of your teeth to make them look more attractive (i.e. teeth whitening, dental veneers), means patients must turn to private practices and pay out of pocket.
Why Should I Have My Cosmetic Dentistry Abroad?
In the United States, healthcare costs are through the roof and individuals who must purchase health insurance on the open market are faced with an overwhelming number of choices. According to Patients Beyond Borders, in the US, only the most rudimentary dental care is covered by health insurance plans, which is why more than 150 million Americans are without dental coverage. A comprehensive health insurance plan will run the average American $100 per month or more. For other health insurance consumers, their choices are limited by their employers’ group health insurance providers. Many medical treatments end up being out-of-pocket- such as adult dental care, weight loss or cosmetic surgery and corrective eye surgery. For example, dental veneers in the UK or United States can cost anywhere between £400-1000 per tooth, depending on the material used. Abroad, costs may be as low as £290 per tooth including the preparation, local anesthesia and patient care. On average, medical travel can save patients anywhere from 30-80% with wait-times as little as 1-2 weeks.
In 2011, the EU directive on cross-border healthcare was passed. The directive granted citizens fundamental right to purchase health care services across the European Economic Area (EEA) for all EEA citizens, and the right to apply for reimbursement from their home system. However, in the UK this still limits residents to treatment that is deemed medically necessary and would be made available under the NHS. Therefore, elective cosmetic dentistry is typically not covered.
Patients Beyond Borders explains, “The traveling dental patient need not sacrifice quality to save money. Highly competent dentists who attended respected schools of dentistry and are certified by boards in Western countries often work “just across the border,” providing excellent services for a fraction of the cost. For people who can easily cross a national boundary, the choice is a no brainer.”
Why is cosmetic dentistry cheaper abroad so cheap?
A general rule of thumb is that any medical treatment or procedure is going to be slightly more expensive in a metropolitan area. When you begin dealing with cosmetic dentistry, prices can also be influenced by the dentist and his/her specializations, the amount of preparatory work on the mouth, and skill and experience of the laboratory.
The reason cosmetic dentistry is cheaper abroad is largely due to the cost of living in other countries- which directly influences the average salaries of medical professionals. A cosmetic dentist in the UK may earn anywhere from £75,249 to £101,451 depending on years of experience, company size, and location. In Central Europe, a cosmetic dentist in the Czech Republic makes on average, £11,000-15,000 per year.
Where Are The Most Patients Travelling For Cosmetic Dentistry?
In the United States, people who live on the west coast or in the southwest tend to cross over to Mexico for their cosmetic dentistry. On the east coast and in Canada, patients are heading to Costa Rica or Central America, where savings are between 50-80%.
In the UK and western Europe, people are hopping borders over to countries like Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland. Hungary, for example, has the most dentists per capita than any other country, along with some of the highest quality, low-cost clinics in the world. For europeans, dental travel is a very economical choice, but many north americans are also travelling to central Europe for more extensive treatments, including cosmetic oral surgeries, full-mouth restorations, and implants. Even after factoring in the cost of travel and accommodation, such work can be done at less than half the US price.
Other popular destinations include Malaysia, Thailand, and India. In Bangkok, some clinics are even specially dedicated to international tourists.
How Do I Begin Planning My Trip?
Medical travel platformor agencies are a great place to start. Many provide an end-to-end service, including everything from free online consultations, treatment costs, patient reviews, and clinic and staff credentials. When arranging your dental travel, a medical travel platform can also save you valuable time during the decision-making process and elevates the headache and stress of doing research on your own. Patients Against Borders suggests that medical travellers seek out evaluations from previous patients, and ask for proof of competence before making an appointment. “You are paying the bill. You have a right to know everything there is to know about your dentist’s training and experience.”
Medical platforms and agencies can act as a resource, putting you in direct contact with the clinics, and your cosmetic surgeon, allowing your questions and concerns to be answered by the professionals. It is also important to consider the amount of time you will need to spend at your destination. Procedures such as implants, may require two or more steps with weeks or months in between. Find out in advance how many visits are required and the amount of time between them. This is also important when considering your destination. If you are in a new country or city, this time between procedures is perfect for sightseeing and exploring the local history and culture.
Unlike other cosmetic procedures, cosmetic dentistry is not always permanent. The average veneer lasts 7-20 years. Therefore, it is good to be prepared if something bad happens (i.e. filling falls out, crown comes loose) Even with the best of dentists, bad things can happen after dental treatments. If something goes wrong after returning home from dental travel, your two options include- getting the problem fixed at home or travelling again. Luckily a number of clinics abroad will make repairs free of charge or at low cost. However, you will still have to pay for the travel costs. The best advice is to plan for a possible return in your travel budget and to keep your home town dental specialist informed of your medical travel decisions.
Each year more than 1.4 million breast augmentations are performed. For decades it has topped the list as the most popular cosmetic surgery among women. The aim of breast augmentation, or any breast surgery , is to improve the appearance of a woman’s breasts. For those with sagging breasts, she may opt for a breast lift. For a women with disproportionately large breasts, she may decide on a breast reduction. Regardless of the procedure, the results are to create more aesthetically appealing breasts.
Breast augmentation involves the placement of a saline or silicone implant to enhance small breasts or correct misshapen or asymmetrical breasts. Usually, women who are considering breast augmentation are uncomfortable with the proportion of their body, or how their undergarments and clothing fit. For women who desire larger breasts, it can increase the fullness and projection of your breasts, improve the balance of your figure and enhance self-confidence. It is particularly popular among new mothers who have recently finished breastfeeding and find that their breasts have lost shape or volume. Significant weight loss and aging may also influence the decision to have breast augmentation
Breast augmentation is not recommended for women suffering from obesity, heart disease, diabetes or for those who smoker, as these can all increase the risk of complications during surgery and recovery.
How much does it cost?
A number of factors attribute to the cost of the breast augmentation. Influences include- surgical facility and hospital fees, anesthesia fees during the procedure, prescription medication and post-surgery care. Depending on the severity or complexity of the procedure, prices may fluctuate from patient to patient. Generally, cost of living where the surgery is performed will have the greatest impact on the final price.
In the UK, cost of living is high and the average cost is anywhere from £3,400-£5,000. Often this does not include the cost of the consultation, anesthesia, recovery time, or the actual implants. In the United States, prices have steadily been dropping, but the average remains around $3,600 (£2493). In most cases, breast augmentation is considered an elective cosmetic surgery and is not covered by health insurance. In the UK, women covered by the National Health Service (NHS) must find a private clinic to have their surgery.
To avoid paying astronomical prices out-of-pocket, many patients are choosing to have their surgery abroad.
Should I have my breast augmentation abroad?
This year alone, more than 200,000 Brits and 1.4 million Americans are expected to travel abroad for a medical treatment or procedure. Medical travel or medical tourism, is a global market of patients electing to travel across international borders to receive some kind of medical treatment. The two main reasons people choose medical tourism are long wait-times and cost. It is also the world’s fastest growing healthcare market, and a popular choice for high quality and affordable breast augmentation.
More and more women in the UK are choosing to have their breast augmentation abroad. A flight from London to Prague is only 2 hours and cost as little as £40.
Leading countries for breast augmentation abroad include Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece and Malaysia. Because these countries have a lower cost of living than the UK or United States, savings can fall between 30-80%. For example, the highest-paid doctors in the Czech Republic (Central Europe) make around £13,000 per year. In the UK, salaries raise to about £48,000. Compared to other developed countries, the Czech Republic still has a relatively low cost of living. This means that even top medical professionals expect much smaller salaries, allowing services to remain affordable while quality remains high. The average silicon breast augmentation (all-inclusive) may cost you £2,120, (approx. £2,600 including travel, accommodation and insurance) as opposed to £3,400-£5,000 in the UK of United States.
Is breast augmentation abroad safe?
Hospitals and clinics that promote medical travel spend millions each year to ensure their facilities have the latest technology and state-of-the-art equipment. They understand the fear and misconception patients have that quality might suffer at the the expense of lower costs. To ensure patient safety and care, cosmetic surgery clinics work very hard to earn accreditation from internationally recognized institutes such as the International Society for Quality (ISQua). This allows performance levels to be assessed in relation to established standards. It also means that hospitals and clinics can be appropriately rated for risks.
If you are unsure, memberships and associations to look for include the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), and European Association of Plastic Surgeons (EURAPS). If a cosmetic surgeon is trained in the UK they are likely members of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) or the General Medical Council (GMC). If trained in the US, look for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Although accreditation is important, it does not guarantee the clinic adheres to the national and international standards, or the surgeon’s quality of work. When deciding on a country and clinic abroad, the most important thing to do is ask questions and be well-informed.
How do I arrange my breast augmentation abroad?
Although some patients decide to go this step alone, millions use an medical travel platformor agency to help. Everything from treatment costs and convenience, to credentials and experience of the staff. If this seems overwhelming- that’s because it can be. By using an medical travel platform you save valuable time during the decision-making process and elevates the headache and stress of doing research on your own. Services like this do not stand as a middleman, but rather act as a resource, putting you in direct contact with the clinics, and your cosmetic surgeon, allowing your questions and concerns to be answered by the professionals.
The final step is to book a date. If you go through a medical platform, they will help you arrange your flights, accommodation and transportation upon arrival. Patients should allow themselves at least 10-14 days of recovery before flying home to ensure the best results. A recent medical traveller gave this advice after her breast augmentation in Prague, Czech Republic:
“Regardless of the surgery you are going for, take at least a day to be a tourist and enjoy yourself, and an additional 2-3 days of recovery and make your travel back home more comfortable.”
This may include sightseeing, leisure activities and exploring the local culture and history. Whether your travelling alone or with someone, you may want to allow yourself some time pre or post surgery to relax and enjoy the experience of being abroad.
Is travelling for breast augmentation right for me?
For millions of women, breast augmentation has been a positive, changing experience. For new mothers, it has given them a chance to have their pre-baby bodies back, and for others- a chance to improve their overall appearance and feel comfortable in their bodies. Breast augmentation abroad has made this otherwise pricey surgery, more affordable, without giving up quality. Popular destinations such as Europe and Southeast Asia also give patients valuable time away from home to recoup after a procedure, and a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Technology and globalization have allowed travel and communication to become faster and easier than ever before. Millions of people travel for business and tourism, and now medical tourism is attracting over 11 million patients per year. According to OECD reports, the most frequent treatments include dental care, cosmetic surgery, elective surgery and infertility treatment. Although there is no universal definition of medical travel, it generally does not include emergency cases or expatriates seeking medical care in their country of residence.
Where are the most popular destinations?
The most popular destination for medical tourism is Malaysia, averaging half a million visitor each year.
Centuries ago, ancient Greeks journeyed from all over the Mediterranean to a small territory near the Saronic Gulf called Epidauria- the birthplace of medical tourism. According to the Greeks, this territory belonged to the healing god Asklepios.
Today the most popular medical tourism destinations include Mexico, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Turkey. In Europe, hospitals and private clinics have started promoting their services. Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland are among the most popular.
Jonathan Edelheit, chief executive of the Medical Tourism Association, says that destinations often depends on cultural ties. Spanish-speaking patients might favor Latin America, for example. Edelheit continued:
“While five years ago most American patients who went abroad for cheaper care went to countries like India and Thailand and over the border to Mexico, many are now going to Europe, where care at top hospitals frequently costs a fraction of what is charged in the United States. There are private facilitators who help make the arrangements, pairing patients with doctors and hospitals and arranging travel plans.”
Why are people choosing medical tourism?
The two main reasons people choose medical tourism are long wait-times and cost. Recent statistics show that the average wait time for an approved treatment in the UK is now 18 more weeks or more- the worst in 7 years. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS), covers routine screenings, treatment for long-term conditions and end-of-life care, but often excludes prescription costs, optical and dental services, and infertility treatments such as IVF. Unapproved patients forced to seek out private practices, where high prices make many medical treatments unaffordable.
Executive director, Balazs Stumpf-Biro, of the European Medical Travel Alliance, believes that the idea (of medical tourism) is to make it easier for patients from overseas- whether from North America, Russia or the Middle East- and to see it as a solution because of its high quality and reasonable prices.
In the United States, healthcare costs continue to skyrocket. Many employers and insurance companies are looking at toward medical travel as a way to lower them. For patients, medical tourism can provide savings up to 80%.
Clinics and hospitals abroad are able to lower their prices due to lower costs of living. The highest-paid doctors in the Czech Republic (Central Europe) make around £13,000 per year whereas, in the UK, salaries rise to about £48,000. Compared to other developed countries, the Czech Republic still has a relatively low cost of living. This means even top medical professionals expect much smaller salaries, allowing services to remain affordable while quality remains high.
For instance, a silicon breast augmentation in the UK costs £3,400-£5,000. In the Czech Republic, an all- inclusive surgery will cost you £2,600 including travel, accommodation, and insurance.
What about quality- will it suffer if travel abroad?
The most common fear people have when traveling abroad is the sacrifice of quality. Hospitals and clinics that promote medical travel understand this misconception and spend millions each year to ensure their facilities have the latest technology and state-of-the-art equipment.
“In the past few years, Americans are definitely more willing to go overseas and now appreciate that there is quality there, whereas seven years ago they didn’t have that perception.”-The New York Times
Clinic and hospitals work very hard to earn accreditation from internationally recognized institutes such as the International Society for Quality (ISQua). Assessments of performance levels are determined in relation to preexisting standards. It also means that hospitals and clinics can be appropriately rated for risks. Accreditation is vital in gaining trust and ensuring patient safety.
What are the risks?
Each country is different, which could mean different physician and clinic licensing and certification protocols and medical ethics. To protect yourself, it is important to be familiar with the destination country and its regulations before deciding to travel there. For example, a therapy that is considered experimental in one country (like stem cell therapy) may be used in the private care institutions for medical tourists in other countries.
Unsafe medical practice is always a risk anytime a medical procedure is performed. Hospital infections, such as MRSA may be the result of reused needles or unsafe injection practices and blood supplies. Serious infections such as hepatitis and HIV can also be a transmitted from one patient to another. To avoid these risks, select a country which practices highly regulated medicine and a clinic with proper accreditation.
When considering a surgical procedure, patients should also assess the length of their flight. Traveling long distances after surgery can be dangerous and result in deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. To prevent complications, physicians advise that patients drink plenty of water, exercise their legs while sitting, and take a walk every 2-3 hours on long flights. For high-risk patients, they may prescribe medical compression stockings and anti-clotting medications.
Is medical tourism right for me?
Traveling for a medical treatment is a big decision and must be considered on an individual base. For millions of people, medical tourism has changed the way they look at healthcare and has become a life-changing solution. Lower costs and wait times have attracted patients from across the globe, and clinics and hospitals are investing to provide the highest quality of care.
Additionally, medical tourism platforms and agencies have made researching and planning your trip quick and easy. From the comfort of your sofa, you can search and compare prices, clinics, and procedures. You can also get free online consultations and quotes. Once selecting a treatment and clinic, you’re also put in direct communication with your surgeon or dentist, and all of your medical questions and a professional will address your concerns.
Medical tourism is the world’s fastest growing healthcare market and shows no sign of slowing down. Are you ready to join the movement?
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.