Planning Your Medical Trip Abroad Hospital or Clinic?

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Many people that are in the decision making phase related to Cosmetic surgery abroad have learned, either through their own research, or perhaps from someone that has experienced it, there are many costs associated with traveling for surgery abroad.

Obviously, the answer to the question related to your health and well being rests with the very important decision concerning the credentials and experience of the physician selected. Once you’ve decided on the physician, it is important to obtain as much information about the facility and equipment that will be used for your surgery.

One of the questions that needs to be asked of the surgeon is where their surgery is being done. Will it be carried out in a hospital or a clinic environment? There are significant factors which should be considered when making a final decision.

Many physicians have long-standing reputations in the community that they practice and have developed their own clinics to carry out much of their surgeries. The benefits include, a lower total cost for the medical services as well as smaller facilities that allow for more personalized attention and that are geared up to meet their needs. The challenges that they need to overcome is having adequate life-saving equipment on-site as well as access to hospitals if the need arises.

The benefits that are realized in a clinic environment are the biggest challenges that a hospital faces. Wait time for admissions as well as higher prices and additional fees that may not be included in the initial cost can occur.

Recently, hospitals in Latin America have become more aware of the increase in medical tourism. Not only do they offer their own traditional care services, but they are offering all-inclusive packages. In an effort in making it more user-friendly for medical tourists, they are adding staff to support the ever growing need for assistance in air travel, transportation, rooms for their recovery as well as tours of their country.


When asked what the difference is between a hospital and clinic, “The issue is safety and security,” says Carol Veloso, CEO at CIMA Hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica. “We believe that it is important that there are specialists available in every facet of medicine to address the specific needs of a patient that undergoes any type of medical procedure.”

The CIMA Hospital (Center for International Medicine Advanced) opened in 2000. It is affiliated with Baylor University Medical Center of Dallas, Texas and is fully integrated as one of the Center’s teaching hospitals. The hospital is operated by the International Hospital Corporation, also headquartered in Dallas. Other CIMA medical facilities are located in Mexico at Chihuahua, Hermosillo, Santa Engracia and Pueblo. They also have facilities in Brazil at Curitiba, Florianopolis, and Volta Redondo.

“Hospitals are held to a higher standard of care when it comes to meeting the requirements of a surgical procedure. The hospitals require fully equipped operating rooms, maximum technological back-up, such as intensive care units as well as a fully trained staff in order to meet the diverse needs of a patient. All of these factors assist in providing a patient with the peace of mind that they should expect when undergoing a medical procedure.”

Many physicians believe that the type of procedure is a very important factor when deciding where to have it carried out. Most agree that an abdominoplasty (tummy-tuck) should be carried out in a hospital environment, while some believe a rhinoplasty (nose surgery) can be done in a clinic setting.

Regardless of your choice, it is important to visit the facility prior to surgery. The doctor and their staff at a hospital or clinic should welcome you to take a tour as part of your consultation process. Be sure to ask and see the quality and sanitization of the equipment used in surgery, the operating room, the recovery room, the location of the life-saving equipment, the steps taken for proper sanitation at the facility and the staff that will be attending to you during your recovery.  If you choose a clinic, be sure to find out how far away the nearest hospital is and the steps taken to bring you to a hospital if needed.

Both the clinic and a traditional hospital have their advantages. Doing your homework and research to determine what is best for you, the medical tourist, will help make your experience a very positive one.

Lourdes Gasparoni is a proprietor of Premier MedEscape in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and may be reached at info@premiermedescape.com.