Western travelers seek out Malaysia for its exotic landscape, incredible food, and many cultural and historic attractions. In recent years, more and more travelers have come to Malaysia in search of medical diagnosis and treatment. Some surveys rank Malaysia as one of the top five medical tourism destinations and Prince Court Medical Center in Kuala Lumpur was named the World’s Best Hospital for Medical Tourists in 2013. While a majority of patients come from nearby Asia nations like Japan, Singapore and Indonesia, more and more of the nearly 700,000 foreign patients are coming from the West.
With the quality of medical care being equal to that of countries like the US and UK, the costs are a big factor in making Malaysia attractive. Patients will pay 65-80% less than in the United States for practically the same care. For example, a knee replacement surgery costs $8,000 (USD) in Malaysia. That same surgery would cost $10,000 in Thailand, $13,000 in Singapore, $14,650 in Mexico, and a whopping $48,000 in the United States. The savings more than pays for the travel and luxury spa recovery packages. It also explains why even US citizens would prefer Malaysia to other popular health tourism destinations.
The plus column for travel to Malaysia includes high-tech medical facilities, experienced medical professionals, many trained in the West, amazing attractions and things to do, a low crime rate, and the fact that most of the population speaks English. –And it is common to book a room in a 5-star resort or spa for convalescence. There are many that are near the hospital and access to follow up medical care.
Surgeries in Malaysia
Comprehensive health screenings attract large numbers of medical travelers to Malaysia. It is possible to get a full screening for only $1500. This includes not only a general health examination, but vision, hearing, dental and even a PET scan and an MRI.
Malaysia is a prime destination for those seeking fertility treatments. Wait times are shorter and procedures and treatments such as in vitro fertilization have success rates as high as in the US, but for half the cost.
Malaysian doctors also excel at cardiac bypass surgery which costs 75% less compared to the US, which is another top reason patients travel there. Cosmetic surgery, such as rhinoplasty and breast augmentation are popular since they cost a third for the same surgery in the US.
Some other types of treatment preferred by medical tourists include orthopedics, dermatology, oncology, organ transplant, bariatric/weight loss surgery, neurology, ophthalmology, dentistry, and anti-aging and stem cell therapies. Malaysia also has centers offering Ayurvedic, holistic, and alternative medicine treatments and therapies.
Destinations in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is the hotspot for medical tourism in Malaysia. A popular destination with global travelers, it is also home to high quality health care. Nestled amongst the towering skyscrapers and ancient temples are some of the best hospitals and clinics in Asia. Prince Court Medical Center has a burn unit and the top ranked fertility clinic as well as the top dental center (according to 2013 rankings). The city has many other award-winning and JCI-accredited hospitals and clinics. Many have luxurious, spa-like suites for recuperation. As patients recover, they can venture out into the city to explore the Petronas Twin Towers, world-class shopping, international cuisine, and countless museums and historic sites.
Another popular destination is Georgetown, which has state-of-the-art public and private hospitals. The surrounding city is teeming with museums, religious and historical sites, and natural beauty that all enhance the tourist experience. The city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasting numerous historic buildings.
Klang houses a number of accredited private hospitals that specialize in cardiac and spinal surgeries as well as providing cancer treatments and other services. The city offers world-class shopping and sight-seeing opportunities for both patients in recovery and family members accompanying them to treatment.
Ipoh is known not only for modern treatment of cancer, orthopedics, and cardiac problems, but also offers wellness programs that include acupuncture, massage, yoga, and special diets.
Other cities that offer modern facilities, top-notch care, and a range of tourist attractions include Melaka and Petaling Jaya.