It seems like the 21st century is the century of India. This applies to medical tourism India as well. The sub-continent ranks 5th in the list of countries attracting medical travelers. Patients Without Borders estimated that some 400,000 medical tourists visited India in 2012. Other studies predict that by 2015 that number could exceed 3 million per year and represent $2 billion (USD) annual spend by travelers.
India has been labeled a “thrift” medical destination due to the extremely low costs for surgeries and procedures. Compared to the US, patients can expect to pay 10-40% of what any given surgery or treatment would cost at home. That’s up to 90% savings, which is easily enough to finance travel, luxury accommodations, and a relaxing recuperation time.
The “thrift” label is extremely misleading. The country has over 3,000 hospitals, many with world-class modern equipment and diagnostic machinery and the Joint Commission International has accredited more than 20 facilities. Many of the top doctors have trained in leading medical schools in the West and a number of the medical facilities are affiliated with Western hospitals and universities. For example, Wockhardt Hospital is affiliated with Harvard Medical School. Wockhardt’s success rate in heart procedures is over 98% — a higher rating than most hospitals in Europe or the US. Other facilities have received high marks in treatment and customer satisfaction in a wide-range of medical specialties.
Surgeries Available in India
Cardiac treatments are a big draw for medical travelers in India. Heart surgery, such as cardiac bypass, is performed by world-class doctors whose services are in high demand. Likewise orthopedic surgeries, such as hip replacement and hip resurfacing, are popular with medical tourists, due to the high level of surgical expertise demonstrated by India’s surgeons. Other top treatments include eye surgery and bone marrow transplant.
Here’s a basic list of the types of treatments, diagnosis, and surgeries offered in India:
- Spine Surgery
- Fertility/Reproductive Health
- Weight Loss
Top Medical Tourism Destinations in India
India is a vast country, offering a variety of medical destinations that combine world class health care with cultural and natural attractions. Here are some of the more popular destinations for medical tourists.
Chennai, Tamil Nadu — One study estimates that almost 40% of all medical tourists choose Chennai for its high quality treatment, low cost, and wonderful attractions. That’s 150-200 foreign patients every day. The city is filled with ancient and modern temples, historic monuments, and beautiful beaches. There is a world class zoo, numerous museums and performance venues and some amazing food and shopping. In addition to heart surgery, orthopedics, and other medical procedures and treatments, Chennai has some of the top dental clinics in the country.
Goa — Considered by many to be the top vacation destination of India, Goa is rising fast as a destination for medical tourists. In addition to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, the region is home to a growing number of private hospitals and specialty clinics that attract international patients. What better way to recuperate from surgery than enjoying the sun, sand, and seafood of this thriving resort destination.
New Delhi — India’s capital city houses some world famous hospitals, like Fortis Hospital, Dr.. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals which have won numerous awards. These and other private hospitals specialize in neurosurgery, heart surgery, and eye surgery as well as joint replacement and general surgeries and treatments. Traditional tourist attractions that can be enjoyed by recuperating patients include Humayun’s Tomb, the Red Fort, the Lotus Temple, India Gate, and the Garden of the Five Senses.
Mumbai, Maharashtra — Many consider Mumbai to be the fastest growing medical destination in India. Its medical centers and private hospitals offer most surgeries as well as treatments for pregnancy, weight loss, and dentistry. They are also known for cosmetic surgery and Ayurveda treatment. Visitor can enjoy the city’s many beaches, bazaars, markets, temples, and historical landmarks. The Kala Ghoda Art Precinct is home to museums and art galleries and there is an entire National Park, complete with caves, in the center of the city.
Other popular destinations for medical tourism in India include Ahmedabad, Bangalore, and Chandigarh.