Last year the Czech Republic ranked among the top thirty most popular tourist sites of the world. Millions of tourists come here regularly because of historical monuments, culture , renowned cuisine as well as Czech beer. Nevertheless, in the long term we can also observe an additional trend, namely foreigners who come to us to undergo medical procedures.
Originally, Health Tourism, or Medical Tourism, was undertaken by people from less developed countries in countries with a higher level of medical care. Today, it is another trend that prevails, people from developed countries travel for medical procedures to the countries with the comparable level of health care but where the price for the services provided is considerably lower. During the following years the medical tourism of people from the most developed economies is expected to even increase. According to the agency CzechTourism, the main reasons may be seen in the rising cost of domestic health care in the particular country, guarantee of top quality and safety of medical care in various countries all over the world, and a readiness to travel for the less costly medicine.
Thousands of foreigners arrive in the Czech Republic every year to undergo a medical treatment or procedure, and it is plastic surgery they look for most often. “Customers from abroad make up about 30% all patients at our workplaces in Prague and Karlovy Vary. Most often our patients are people from Germany, Austria and Russia, but also from Great Britain and the USA. Our staff are trained and communication in foreign languages does not mean any problem for our hospital.“ says MUDr. Dušan Záruba, senior doctor of plastic surgery department in the Institute for Aesthetic Medicine – Ústav estetické medicíny (www.uem.cz).
Vast majority, about 90% foreigners, who come to have a plastic surgery, are women. They mostly undergo eyelid operation, breast enlargement and liposuction. It proves the generally prevailing trend of the top most frequently attended operations in our country. The three aesthetic procedures mentioned above belong to the most requested ones by Czech patients as well.
The main reason why tourists choose the Czech Republic for their plastic operations is especially the quality of Czech plastic surgeons at a favourable price. The Czech Republic belongs to the world pioneers of this branch. We were one of the first to acknowledge plastic surgery as an independent medicine branch, and we have been keeping a good reputation and international standard till today. Surgeons and doctors build on wide scientific knowledge, most hospitals are equipped with modern top technology, and trained medical staff do not lack experience with foreign patients. The price of individual treatments, though, is much lower than in the USA, Germany or Great Britain.
“I always looked younger and never thought of a plastic operation. However, having been exposed to strong stress for a long time, my age started to become evident. I felt as if my life was at its end, and I couldn´t even look into the mirror at myself.” describes her reasons a patient from Canada, who underwent a plastic surgery of her face and neck in the Institute for Aesthetic Medicine at Emauzy last October. “Unfortunately, I couldn´t afford to undergo the procedure in Canada. Then I heard the prices in Prague were lower and medical service quality at a high level. Both proved to be true. I was extremely satisfied with the procedure performed. Now, I have celebrated my sixtieth birthday and I am not worried about it at all. I look and feel as at forty. I still have a lot of years in front of me and I intend to enjoy them fully.“
Undergoing a plastic operation abroad also pose some risk that should not be ignored by these tourists. In an effort to save as much as possible, the patients leave for home right after the procedure neglecting post-operation care. Especially, if they lack expert assistance in their country, they should not rush anything. Another risk may lie in the ignorance of unfamiliar environment, foreign hospitals and their quality. A procedure performed improperly, with the quality of which the patient is not satisfied, may result in deep psychic problems, or even in further health complications requiring re-operation. Solution of such a situation after returning to the native country is very complicated. “Foreigners should mainly pay attention to the choice of the workplace. Respecting the doctor´s recommendation is also important because the healing time cannot be rushed and the scope of procedures should not be exaggerated in the attempt to perform as much as possible in the shortest possible time.“ adds MUDr. Dušan Záruba. Everybody who decides for a medical procedure abroad should be aware of possible risks, and consult everything with a qualified specialist.