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International medical tourism is the procedure that deals with acquiring medical facilities outside your homeland. In countries where not every disease can be cured, the residents have to travel to other countries where they can get better treatment. 

It is widely seen in underdeveloped countries because of the lack of different medical facilities and modern equipment. In modern times, it is convenient to travel from one country to another seeking the necessary medical treatments. 

Many developed countries provide medical staff that visit the developing countries to give medical assistance. It is also a part of international medical tourism. Sometimes the medical treatment in developed countries is expensive. People travel to other countries that are offering the same treatment at lower prices. 

Countries Famously Known for Medical Tourism

We’ve already denoted that not only the wealthiest countries but also some developing countries are exemplary destinations for medical tourism on the global stage. The reasons for making a nation specifically admired for medical tourism can vary with the economical and surgical needs of the medical tourist. It can either be the best treatments, the advanced equipment, or the lower costs of facilities usage. 

Let’s have a look at the countries that are widely recognized for medical tourism:


Canada stands among the most famous destinations for medical tourism. It is because this country gives the best facilities and quality treatments to the tourists. Also, Canada provides free medical assistance to tourists. 


Malaysia is still a developing country but is a major hub of medical tourism in Asia. The Malaysian government helps in promoting medical tourism in the country. Malaysia offers lower prices of medical treatments when compared to other Asian countries like Japan and Singapore. In recent years, millions have traveled to Malaysia for medical and healthcare reasons. This ratio is increasing with time due to its best hospitals that offer specialized treatments. 

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a famous destination for medical tourism. People travel to Costa Rica as it provides the best eye surgery and cosmetic work worldwide with exceptional treatments. The costs of these treatments are lower when compared to the United States. 

United Kingdom 

The UK is a popular destination for medical tourism. Most of the tourists come from the Middle East. The UK never fails to provide excellent treatments through the best staff and latest equipment. The UK has ranked quite high in the worldwide ranking of medical tourism destinations.  

doctor checking blood pressure in patient

Benefits of International Medical Tourism 

International medical tourism is getting popular and boosts in today’s world immensely. People travel from their homeland to other countries for the best medical treatments. Multiple benefits are obtained via medical tourism. Individuals fly for medical assistance to foreign countries for the best benefits. So, let’s now get familiar with the advantages of international medical tourism.


  • Cost-effective Treatments

Medical tourism is known best for providing treatments at lower costs. People travel from rich regions to developing countries for the same quality treatments at lower costs. People compare the treatment cost of different countries and move from their homeland to another country to get the best at lower prices. That is why the developing countries in Asia like India, Malaysia, and Thailand are getting a boost in medical tourism.


  • Access to Advanced Equipment

For the perfect treatment, advanced and modern equipment is the essential need. An individual might not acquire such modern equipment in his own country because of the limited resources. It can be a common problem in underdeveloped countries. Hence, it is beneficial for people to move to lands that provide them with the latest equipment to fight and cure diseases. 


  • Opportunity to Explore the World

While a person has gone abroad to obtain specialized medical treatment, he can have the opportunity to explore different countries in the world. It is a travel opportunity for the individual.  With his medical treatment, he can enjoy the beauty by exploring a separate state. 


  • Economic Development

Medical tourism also plays a vital role in boosting the economic growth of a country. Medical tourism invites several tourists around the world. It gives a boost to the tourism of a country and generates revenue for the country. Thus, it would not be inaccurate to say that medical tourism is equally beneficial for the economic growth of a country.   

Risks of International Medical Tourism 

We have discussed how an individual can obtain benefits through medical tourism previously. But there is a reality that risks go parallel with all the medical procedures. A patient can encounter multiple issues while traveling to another country for his medical treatments. Let’s endeavor even further at a few of the risks linked to international medical tourism.


  • Time Consuming

Medical treatment in foreign countries can eat up a lot of your time. When you are getting medical treatment on home soil, it can be fast and on time. Going across the border can involve many traveling procedures that might delay the treatment.


  • Language Barrier 

Language can be a hurdle in your medical treatment from abroad. The individual needs to know the language of that other country perfectly. It is to convey all your issues in a better way. You have to communicate with others regularly. Being a native, it will be easy for you to communicate your problems efficiently. 


  • Nosocomial Infections

Medical tourism can cause hospital-acquired infections. Nosocomial infections can be the result of staying at the hospital for an extended period of time. These infections can be transmitted through reused injections, contact, and food. 


  • Post Treatment Issues 

If you are getting medical treatment in your own country, you can even get the answers to your problems after the treatment is done. When you get medical treatment outside your country, it will be nearly impossible for you to get checked out if you have any issues regarding alleviation from illness. 

happy healthy family going for a stroll in the park with their infant child

The Wrap-up

International medical tourism is a process that can be narrated as the movement of individuals from their country to other countries for acquiring the best medical assistance. In the modern era, medical tourism is getting a boost in many locales around the world. 

Canada, Malaysia, Costa Rica, and the UK are the most popular destinations for medical tourism. Individuals who want quality treatments can obtain massive benefits from medical tourism. Undoubtedly though, there are some risks involved in international medical tourism that mustn’t be forgotten.


Dr. Naheed Ali MD, PhD

Dr. Ali is a consumer health copywriter & technical medical content writer. He completed lifestyle medicine training from Harvard Medical School and has 15 years of writing experience in the healthcare industry. For more information about his expert services, click here.



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