An increasing number of Australians are choosing to undergo surgery overseas. While for some patients their primary concern is the cost of their treatment, others may choose to undergo minor surgery while they’re on holiday, or have other reasons for choosing an overseas treatment option.
Here are our four top tips for ensuring you have a great experience and increase the likelihood of seeing the results you want from overseas surgery.
Research is always important when you’re planning to undergo surgery, even more so when you’re planning on travelling abroad for treatment. You should be looking for a clinic with a demonstrable record of providing the treatment you are looking for, while also ensuring they are accredited against Australian medical standards*. MacList contains details of accredited overseas clinics and doctors in addition to those situated in Australia.
By doing your research, you ensure you are exposing yourself to the highest standards of treatment and aftercare. If you need a second opinion, simply use MacList which will reduce the time you spend trying to locate other suitably qualified and accredited practitioners.
Depending on the type of surgery you are undergoing, you may well be told to take it easy for some time after leaving the clinic and travelling home. While you will usually be asked to ensure you’re not travelling alone, it is still better if you travel as light as possible as the chances are you’ll need to move around a bag or a case even for just a small amount of time. Buying a lightweight case that has wheels and is easy to maneuver around should be considered a must, too.
In terms of what you’re going to pack, there are two things to consider:
While you will get advice from your surgeon in specific instances, in general the best thing to do is to opt for loose fitting clothing, which will keep you comfortable both from a climate and a post-surgery perspective.
What would you usually pack in your travel essentials? You need to take more or less exactly the same range of items, and double and triple check to ensure you have everything you need. You also need to consider taking additional items to ensure that you’re going to be both comfortable and entertained while you are recovering, particularly if you will be remaining overseas for a period of time before returning to Australia.
Add the following to your checklist:
When you have your consultation and then confirm you wish to go ahead with your treatment, ensure you listen closely to what you’re told about what you need to do in terms of your recovery and in the days immediately following surgery. As you’re going to be overseas, this is even more critical than usual – if there’s something you need it isn’t as simple as getting a family member or friend to bring you something.
Speak with your overseas doctor and ensure you have a routine in place for your time abroad after your surgery as well as your flight home. You should also make prior arrangements for any aftercare you require when you’re back in Australia.
Being well prepared will ensure you are set up for a comfortable recovery and reduce the potential for complications.
Remember that you can find accredited overseas clinics using MacList, and fund your treatment using a MacCredit payment plan. MacCredit offers a range of payment plan options including refinancing, ideal if you need to borrow more in future to pay for additional treatment or another visit to your overseas clinic.
*Make sure your surgeon is accredited by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS)
Disclaimer: This article contains general comments and recommendations only. This article has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before taking any action you should consider the appropriateness of the comments made in the article, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. If this article relates to the acquisition, or possible acquisition, of a particular credit product you should obtain and consider the relevant disclosure documents before applying for the product.
While dentists and orthodontists both work to improve the oral health of their patients – some dentists and orthodontists may even work together in specific clinics – there are some key differences between the two.
With this in mind, it is unlikely that your dentist and your orthodontist will be the same person. The treatment pathway for dentistry is usually that you will go to your dentist for a general checkup and to undergo procedures such as having fillings or teeth removed, and perhaps even to undergo some cosmetic dentistry procedures such as cleaning and capping, while you will go to an orthodontist if you require specialist treatment.
Orthodontists will provide a range of additional cosmetic dentistry procedures, usually linked to straightening teeth and bite patterns. If you need braces, for example, then you will usually be referred by your general dentist to an orthodontist, but may return to your regular dentist for checkups and adjustments to the braces.
The easiest way to differentiate is to say that a dentist looks more generally at your oral health while an orthodontist is a specialist in a specific area, such as in teeth straightening as in the example above.
In terms of how dentists become orthodontists, all orthodontists will be qualified dentists and will have worked in a dental clinic for at least two years prior to undertaking the additional qualifications to become an orthodontist. Orthodontists therefore have a dentistry degree as well as an orthodontics degree.
Orthodontists will also typically work with different types of technology that aim to provide better treatment solutions. As a result, if you go to see an orthodontist you could find yourself undergoing a 3D scan of your jaw or being offered some new and innovative treatments, depending on what you’re looking to have done.
If you are in need of dental treatment you may be able to save time by ensuring you go and see the best person to diagnose and treat your specific problem. If you are registered with a dentist and attend regular dental check-ups, your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist as and when they identify any problems that require specialist attention.
If you don’t have a regular dentist but are seeking treatment, the table below will help you understand who you should go and see.
Do I Need to See a Dentist or an Orthodontist?
Make an appointment to see a dentist if….
Make an appointment to see an orthodontist if….
You haven’t had a regular dental checkup in the last 12 months
Your regular dentist has identified potential oral health problems that require orthodontic treatment and you have not yet been referred, or you have agreed with your dentist to find an orthodontist yourself
You are experiencing any pain in your teeth or gums
You have misaligned teeth
You are suffering with tooth decay
You have crowded teeth
You are suffering with root canals
You have an underbite or an overbite
You have bad breath, have tried over the counter solutions, and think you may have a gum disease
You are looking into cosmetic dentistry options such as crowns, bridges, veneers, or tooth whitening (You may also choose to enquire with a cosmetic dentist for these treatments. Although a cosmetic dentist may not offer general checkups, they will still be fully qualified dentists)
If you don’t have a regular dentist, or your dentist has told you to find an orthodontist to treat a specific problem, use MacList to help you find a dental clinic close by. All clinics and dentists listed on MacList also allow you to cover the cost of your treatment with a MacCredit payment plan.
Medical tourism, also known as medical travel, is becoming increasingly popular among Australians. What are the pros and cons of medical travel, and what can you do to ensure you have the best possible experience if you are seeking medical treatment or a cosmetic procedure abroad?
What are the benefits of medical travel?
Even when you add on the costs of a flight and accommodation before and after your treatment at your chosen location, you can save a significant sum of money by choosing to undergo surgery abroad. The main reason why surgery is cheaper abroad is due to the difference in labor costs.
The table below highlights what doctors and nurses can expect to earn in Thailand and Australia.
This difference is what enables specific procedures and treatments to be so much cheaper, while medical technology and drugs will be the same cost as they would be in Australia.
How does the salary difference reflect in the cost of treatment?
Dental Implants$3,500 – $7,500$2,300
Figures in both tables courtesy of news.com.au
We can see a significant difference in the cost of undergoing a procedure in Thailand versus Australia, and the opportunity to save money is clear. We have used Thailand as the example in this scenario as it is the most popular destination for medical tourists, as well as being the most popular medical travel destination in the world. Note that the above figures are for the treatment only, they do not include air fares or accommodation.
Depending on the procedure or treatment you need, you could find yourself on a waiting list for months, if not years, before being able to go ahead. When you begin to look abroad you will quickly be provided with dates when you can be treated, which will cut months, or maybe even years, off your waiting time, all while saving you money!
One of the biggest worries that puts people off medical tourism is that they believe the standard of care they will receive will be lower than if they were to have a procedure in Australia. However, by carefully choosing where you have your treatment, you can assure yourself of receiving only the highest levels of care.
Use the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards International (ACHSI) to help you find accredited clinics that have been verified to provide care on a par with Australian standards. As an additional way to put your mind at rest, seek out testimonials from previous patients that have had the same procedure at the clinics you are looking at.
What are the drawbacks of medical travel that you should consider before going abroad for treatment?
If you are considering travelling abroad for urgent treatment rather than a cosmetic procedure, you should consider that exposure to some diseases having not built up a natural immunity can be dangerous, particularly if undergoing treatment for gastrointestinal conditions. This is a particular hazard in countries such as Thailand.
If you choose a clinic through the ACHSI, the clinic will usually provide advice on how to stay safe and avoid exposure to certain diseases, which may involve a longer stay as a patient following surgery. Clinics that are verified by the ACHSI will also have clear procedures for complaints, as well as telling you what you can do should you experience complications after returning to Australia. You will also be able to find out about any other conditions that you may be able to be immunized against prior to visiting a different country.
When travelling to an exotic location for medical treatment, there is undoubtedly an attraction to staying on and enjoying a holiday afterwards. Doing so is not a problem so long as you have been fully discharged, although you need to be careful with how you expose any scars to the sun. Scar tissue that becomes sunburnt will heal darker and be more noticeable on your body. Ensure you choose a strong sun lotion and ensure it is suitable for using post-surgery, and ideally aim to keep your scars covered at all times while healing.
Travelling long distances post-surgery is known to increase the risk of complications. If you are planning to travel back to Australia soon after your procedure, you should take precautions to lower the risk of suffering from deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism. Although your clinic should advise you and even provide you with compression stockings, be sure to buy your own just in case you aren’t, and when flying home make sure you regularly leave your seat and walk around the cabin.
When considering the pros and cons of medical travel, is it clear that you can mitigate the drawbacks and risks by taking the time to ensure you fight the right clinic for your treatment and understand exactly what you need to do both to quicken your recovery and reduce the risk of complications. Whether you choose to travel home to Australia as soon as possible after your medical treatment or stay to enjoy a holiday, make sure you’ve planned to counter these drawbacks so you can fully enjoy the benefits of medical travel.
Medical tourism is a popular practice, albeit a controversial one in some parts of the world. There are often misconceptions associated with medical tourism, leading to people not knowing exactly what it is or holding misinformed opinions on the matter. Here is an overview of everything you need to know about medical tourism.
Medical tourism is the practice of travelling abroad to receive medical treatment or to undergo a cosmetic procedure. People use medical tourism to access a wide range of procedures.
There are two main trends in medical tourism today:
While medical tourism is considered a relatively modern phenomenon, it actually dates to at least the fourth century BC. Medical records discovered dating back to Ancient Greece at this time mention pilgrims that travelled from across Europe in order to be treated in the small city of Epidaurus. A more recent historic example of medical tourism, albeit on a local scale, was people with illnesses in 18th century England who would travel to visit spa towns with the aim of finding treatment. It is unknown whether this trend was seen in other countries that have spa towns.
A news report from the news.com.au website in 2014 stated that as many as 15,000 Australians undergo medical procedures abroad, spending as much as $300 million in the process.
There are several reasons why medical tourism is popular. The main reasons typically given by those seeking a medical tourism solution, and as already stated earlier, are that they can both reduce costs and access treatment quicker, while still receiving an excellent standard of treatment and care, by looking abroad.
Advances in medical care and expertise around the world mean that individuals can save significant sums of money by choosing to undergo a procedure away from home, even after considering the costs of flights and accommodation. There are clinics in some countries that even operate with the sole purpose of attracting clients from overseas.
Several countries around the world are hugely popular for medical tourism. Some countries are popular due to their proximity to densely populated nations, while others prove popular because they are easy to get to, offer cheap treatment as well as accommodation, offer reduced waiting times, and in some cases because they’re a desirable destination to take a holiday!
In terms of proximity to Australia, popular medical tourism destinations include:
Thailand; which is the most popular medical tourism destination in the whole world as well as among Australians
If you are considering seeking medical treatment, for whatever condition or procedure, abroad, you should ensure you do so with caution. Paramount in seeking medical treatment abroad is ensuring you are going to be safe, way before you start thinking about being able to save money on your procedure.
The best approach to take is to only consider being treated at clinics that are accredited with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards International (ACHSI). This will help ensure that you’re receiving the equivalent standards of care that you would in Australia, and help to ease any doubts or worries you may have over your treatment.
In addition, you should also look at reviews and testimonials from those that have already been treated at the clinics you are considering. Thanks to social media you might even be able to identify and contact previous patients direct if they have been open about where they have been and the treatment they have received.
In some cases, even if a specific treatment is much cheaper abroad, you might still find yourself struggling to cover the costs. MacCredit might be able to help provide you with a medical loan even if the treatment is to be undertaken outside of Australia. You can contact us today on 1300 884 355 to discuss your options if you are considering using medical tourism for your medical treatment or cosmetic procedure.