Tuesday, December 1, 2009

International News - Front Page Headline

Health Care Takes a Vacation

Medical Tourism and its Impact on the Medical Laser Market

SAN ANTONIO – As the battle rages on over how to address the health care crisis in the US, growing numbers of people have decided to seek more affordable options abroad. Americans are traveling to destinations across the globe – from Buenos Aires to Singapore, from Istanbul to Seoul – to receive care for a range of afflictions or to undergo elective procedures.

The medical tourism industry is a $20 billion market and is expected to reach $100 billion by 2012. Estimates of the number of people who travel abroad for health care vary widely.

Most medical travelers from the US are having procedures done in one of the four areas; dental, cosmetic, orthopedic or cardiovascular. For dental and cosmetic work – including laser teeth whitening and photorejuvenation with intense pulsed light – they are flocking to Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. Patients are attracted by the lower costs (Mexico offers dental and cosmetic surgery at 25 to 35 percent savings; Brazil offers cosmetic surgery at 40 to 50 percent savings) and the relative proximity of these countries.

Source: Boas, Gary. “Health Care Takes a Vacation.” BioPhotonics. November/December (2009): 18-19.