Medical Tourism in Today’s Global Era

In a world of separate and yet overlapping economies, an era of international travel and provincial healthcare establishments, it makes perfect sense to shop around for the best value. While it once was the case that the term “medical tourism” referred to patients journeying from developing countries to access modern procedures in the Western world, the tables have turned and it is now the citizens of Western countries who are compelled to cross borders in pursuit of quality health care. Between the inflation of medical costs in countries such as the United States and the modernization of countries once considered lacking even a basic healthcare infrastructure, the old paradigm of First World primacy no longer holds true for thousands of patients who have been priced out of a profit-driven healthcare market or denied essential treatment under dysfunctional socialized medicine. There’s no denying that medical tourism is the new model for patient-driven care. However, like any other medical system, second opinions are valuable. And, like any other tourist trade, the experience you will have depends in large part upon the experience of your travel guide.


Fortunately, and inevitably, an industry of medical tourism companies has arisen to meet the needs of cosmopolitan health seekers. Combining the logistical expertise of a local travel agency, a curated collection of trustworthy medical specialists, and a working knowledge of the techniques and procedures they have on offer, these companies have evolved to fill an essential role in the globalized healthcare model.

Right now, all of these processes are stopped, canceled, or postponed, with an exception of the urgent cases, because of the coronavirus. As we know, when the pandemic hit the world earlier this year, many patients had problems arriving at the hospitals for their treatment, especially those who needed to cross the borders for that purpose. Most of the health ministries all over the world were signing special documents of allowance for these people, so they can get their therapy right on time. But, hopefully, after the pandemic, all of the citizens that need some medical treatment, will again be able to complete their goals, no matter what type of intervention they need.

Traveling from one place to another to get proper medical care isn’t new, even for those who need an aesthetic or cosmetic surgery. Another popular type of medicine backed migration is getting a surrogate or advanced in vitro treatment for couples who have problems with conceiving.

Elective Surgery in the Global Market


In addition to facilitating affordable access to life-saving healthcare, medical tourism agencies may also offer a selection of life-enhancing cosmetic procedures such as rhinoplasty, neck lifts, liposuction, and hair transplants. Like other medical specialties, plastic surgery tends to vary widely in pricing, which is not based on the relative talents of the surgeons as one might expect, but rather on the geographical location of their practice. A bad surgeon in Manhattan or Beverly Hills may easily command the same fees as a decent one in the same district, while a surgeon overseas may consistently deliver superlative results for a fraction of what their American colleagues are able to charge.

There are a lot of examples of patients who traveled abroad to get cheaper aesthetic intervention, breast implants, or even fertility treatment. Today, almost every country has a cancer center for the patients who suffer this disease, but in the past, they usually traveled to the USA, Germany, or Turkey, where the best clinics are founded.

World-Class Treatment in the “Nose Job Capital”


Take as an example the ultra-popular rhinoplasty procedure, commonly known as a nose job. Most of the patients are requiring this surgery when they have some aesthetic problem, or they don’t like how they appear. Some of them dislike the shape and size of the nose, but in most of the cases, these deviations and unnatural shapes may cause problems with breathing and inhaling enough oxygen through the nose. But, this procedure can be expensive and requires medical attention, since it’s pretty painful and the patient may need additional care in the post-surgery period.

When you contrast the going rate for rhinoplasty in a country like Iran (renowned as the world’s “nose job capital” for reportedly 7x more rhinoplasties than the United States) with price quotes from your local surgeons, it’s tempting to reevaluate your preconceived notions about the superiority of your home country’s medical establishment. While there are bad surgeons in every country, there are excellent ones as well, and the role of medical tourism companies is to separate the wheat from the chaff. Presenting clientele with the crème de la crème of expert specialists is the only way to attain the reputation essential for success- an agency promoting questionable doctors would not survive for very long in this highly competitive industry.

From self-explanatory domain names like  to more subtle ones such as,, and, a simple search reveals an abundant array of websites devoted to linking patients and specialists across national boundaries. That means that if you don’t like the prices, quotes, and rates in your nearest clinic, you can look forward to some other, that will be more appropriate for your budget and requirements.


One must be prepared to diligently discern among the plethora of prospects, but a good benchmark for comparison would be the comprehensive and easy-to-navigate Continuing with our rhinoplasty example, featuring the upfront pricing and concierge-style experience characteristic of the top-tier medical tourism companies.

You will also want to look for ease of communication when choosing your medical tourism agency. Nothing is more frustrating than finding a perfect offer, then having to wait weeks for a reply to your inquiry. Timely responses are another hallmark of top-notch service and are to be expected by the discriminating consumer.

Note that if you are an urgent case, the authorities will probably help you get the needed documents, so you can travel as soon as you can, and get the treatment. In a nutshell: price transparency, customizable travel packages, and responsiveness are key factors to influence one’s decision.

Some of you may ask how everything will work in the coronavirus aftermath and that question is very difficult to answer. Most of the doctors and patients are respectful of the protocols and protection measures, and if it’s not urgent, they don’t even travel for this purpose. It would be really hard for the health system to heal after the pandemic, but hopefully, everything will work fine just like it was at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2024. Until then, if your nose isn’t causing any problems with breathing and normal living, we recommend you to postpone and wait for better times to perform that surgery.

About Jeanette Iglesias