Six Questions to Ask Before Travelling Abroad for Surgery

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If you’re one of many Canadians looking for rapid access to surgery, you might feel tempted by the growing medical tourism industry. Medical tourism sounds like an ideal choice at first, as it promises patients will receive affordable yet high-quality medical care while on a tropical vacation. However, some promises are too good to be true. You may find the disadvantages of traveling overseas for medical care outweigh the benefits.

Before you book a flight overseas, it’s important to ask some key questions before travelling abroad for surgery. You might find that there are issues you hadn’t considered.

Can you trust the quality of the surgery?

In North America, it’s easy to gather information about your surgeon before the surgery. You can check their credentials, reviews, and history, which will help you feel confident about choosing the right surgeon for your needs. While there are many good surgeons abroad, their credentials, surgical specialty, and history may not be as easy to find. You may end up with the wrong surgeon, which could have permanent consequences on your health.

Can you check the credentials of the staff?

The nursing team is a critical component of your surgical outcome. A qualified, well-trained nursing team will be able to spot issues and move quickly to resolve them. A less responsive or inadequately trained nursing team may not be able to spot and treat issues until it’s too late. Even if you’re comfortable with the credentials of your surgeon, that will not be enough to compensate for a poorly trained nursing team as they will be taking care of you before, during, and after your operation.

Is it a high-quality hospital facility with technologically advanced equipment?

It’s very important that your surgery be conducted in a clean, well-staffed, modern hospital facility that uses high-quality equipment. When researching surgery abroad, don’t only look at facility photos on the website. If possible, try to find real photos taken by previous patients to ensure the photos are recent and accurately reflect the facility. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the equipment to ensure the facility isn’t using outdated technology. You should also ensure that the facility is located near a larger hospital in case an issue arises during your surgery and you need to be quickly transported to another hospital centre.

How will you receive follow-up care?

If you travel abroad, receiving aftercare following your surgery will be more challenging. You may have difficulty accessing your surgeon when you’re back home. Many doctors are reluctant to take on the care of a patient who received care abroad, as there may be concerns about the quality of the care and what was done. Staying within your own country for surgery will ensure you’re able to access the qualified medical care you need after your surgery.

What international, cultural, and language barriers will you face?

While English is commonly spoken in other countries, you may still experience communication issue if English is not the primary language. This can result in frustration and the healthcare team not fully understanding what you need. It’s also important to remember that the food will also be different, which may be an issue for patients who have sensitive stomachs. Some patients deal with nausea and vomiting after surgery, and foods your body isn’t used to can make these issues worse.

Are you following proper rules and regulations?

Sometimes patients want to avoid certain regulations in their own country that are preventing them from accessing the surgery they want. For example, reputable bariatric surgical centres will not perform surgery on patients with a BMI under 30. If you’ve opted to travel overseas to bypass any restrictions within your country, carefully reconsider your decision. These restrictions are in place for a reason. Speak openly to your doctor for more clarity and listen to their medical advice.

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Surgical Solutions Network offers private healthcare at our surgical centres in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver. When you choose Surgical Solutions Network for your private medical care, you can feel confident about receiving the highest quality care available while expediting your surgery – without leaving the country. Surgical Solutions Network offers Canadians access to private medical care from our fellowship-trained surgeons and registered nurses. We offer a range of procedures for your healthcare needs, from private orthopedic surgery, to ENT surgery, to hernia surgery. Learn more about our licensed surgical centres across Canada and contact us today to arrange a consultation.

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