The south Indian city of Chennai is regarded as the healthcare hub of India, with several large treatment centres. Other cities with large concentration of hospitals and clinics are Mumbai and New Delhi. Mumbai has the largest percentage of plastic surgeons in India, and is also a popular place for full body makeovers.
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India is seen as the cheapest of any of the medical tourism hubs around the world. Prices average an impressive fifth of the U.S.
India deals with a higher proportion of major surgery patients than other destinations. This has given rise to specialist hospitals all across the country. With international standards, the treatments at these hospitals are very cheap, however, they are far out of reach for most Indians. Instead, the hospitals cater specifically to foreign tourists with very particular needs. Most of the hospitals are very new and has top rate medical teams, high volume and experience in their speciality. They also provide the patients with the best equipment available. Many of these medical centres are also affiliated with top world medical institutes like John Hopkins and Harvard Medical. A growing number of them are also accredited by for instance JCI or ISO. The historic bonds with Britain are for example seen in the fact that many Indian doctors are trained abroad, and most of the staff is proficient in English.
India has top-notch centres for open-heart surgery, hip and knee replacement, paediatric heart surgery, cosmetic surgery, dentistry, cancer therapy and bone marrow transplants. Some Indian medical centres provide services that are uncommon elsewhere, such as hip polishing or resurfacing.
Some of the most popular treatments offered in India are alternative medicine, cardiac bypass surgery, orthopaedic surgery, laser eye surgery, bone-marrow transplant, and heart surgery.
India has a long history of alternative medicine, and many international patients combine a medical treatment with a visit to an ashram or a retreat centre. Some of the most common ancient practices offered are yoga, meditation and Ayurvedic treatments. In southern India, there is also a concentration of Ayurvedic spas.
When going to India for medical treatments, one should keep some things in mind. Although the country offers excellent hotels and good western restaurants, India’s infrastructure is very poor. The hospitals and hotels are very modern and pristine, but travellers endeavouring beyond the beaten track will most likely suffer from diarrhoea and intestinal parasites at one point or another. Several additional vaccinations are therefore strongly recommended. India also gets very hot in the summer time, with temperatures reaching 40°C at times.
Before visiting India, all foreign patients must go through a sometimes time-consuming and complex VISA application, which by some are seen as one of the major drawbacks for international patients.
Patients looking for specific cost-effective treatments, and who are experienced travellers, should unquestionably go to India for their procedures. When in India, and if their constitution allows it, they should also visit some of the country’s historical and cultural wonders, or beautiful natural highlights.
Medical tourism in India is expected to experience an annual growth rate of 30%, and it is estimated that India will earn about US$ 2 billion a year through medical tourism by 2010.