Dr Maher Alahdab offers a word of advice on medical tourism this summer

Dubai, United Arab Emirates 29 July 2019:As summer comes along, you see everyone planning their holidays. But for a lot of people, along with visiting the latest tourist destinations and wonders of the world there is also another plan; addressing health issues.

When people travel to another country to sort their medical issues – diagnosis, treatments, procedures, etc – it is termed medical tourism. Most often, families travel together and spend a substantial amount of time at the destination.

Some of the reasons people travel to a different country for their medical needs are lack of appropriate treatment options at the place of residence, or a preference for treatment in more advanced centres or countries, or with a more famous doctor. Some patients also prefer to combine the pleasure of tourism with the treatment, or are simply looking for privacy away from their community. Another important consideration is cost, as they are looking for cheaper prices.

Although medical tourism can be beneficial, Dr Maher Alahdab, renowned plastic surgery consultant, cautions patients when choosing a medical centre or doctor from another country. “Whatever the reasons, it is not always in the patients best interest to travel elsewhere for treatment. In some cases, there may be complications that can cause more harm than good. So proper research and informed decisions need to be made,” he advises.

The most important points to consider are:

* Don’t compromise quality in the quest for the cheapest price

* It is difficult to verify the reputation of the hospital or doctor in the other country, particularly if there is a language barrier

* Lack of adequate follow-up once the patient returns home

Countries have started marketing their medical options to Gulf residents through various channels. “We have seen many complications from plastic surgery procedures performed abroad. These are often performed under non-ideal conditions, where sterility, infection control and proper equipment standards are not upheld. We often see patients with bad infections, breakage and opening of wounds, and sometimes even with life-threatening conditions,” explains Dr Alahdab.

“It is for this reason that we always request that patients who insist on being treated outside of their country of residence conduct proper research to make sure they are going to reputable doctors in well-established healthcare facilities that are accredited by local healthcare facilities. And oftentimes, these are not cheaper than facilities present in the country of residence,”he advises.

But it is always up to the patient to make aninformed decision about their treatments.A little care can go a long way.

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