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Nose surgery abroad? Does Travel Insurance Cover it?



Let's face it; a root canal is no fun whether you have it here in the UK or in a clinic in a sunny country abroad. What are the options if treatment isn't available on the NHS or the waiting list is too long? Medical Tourism is a term that basically means combining a holiday with a surgical procedure. Sounds ideal, doesn't it? If you need pain-relieving surgery or cosmetic maintenance work why not combine it with a holiday in a nice location? Like a nose surgery abroad sometimes provides.

Thousands of British people have been spending millions jetting off for a quick nip-and-tuck, nose surgery, hip or knee replacement or dental work - among other procedures. Many choose to follow up the treatment with rehabilitation at a spa. Other treatments commonly sought abroad are nose surgery, heart surgery, hernia repairs, orthopaedic procedures, cataract removal, hair transplants, infertility treatments and chemotherapy.

The reason for the success of this new industry is no more mystery. Waiting times for operations under the National Health Service, or the unavailability of some treatments under the NHS, leave no choice for many but to suffer or pay up. Ongoing private health insurance in the U.K. is simply not affordable for the average person. And this is the reason people go for nose surgery abroad.

Those seeking cosmetical operations abroad have a very wide choice of countries to choose from, and the numbers are increasing. They range from Latvia to India and even South Africa (combine surgery with a safari!). India, in particular, has risen to meet the demand for quality care and is popular among the British. For low-cost dental treatment many choose Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Spain or Thailand

This new booming industry has spawned the growth of medical tourism companies which specialize in putting together complete packages for patients. They take care of all the details - which may otherwise be too daunting for most people to tackle alone. The packages vary but will usually include flights, transfers, hotels, meals, surgical procedures and post-operative care at the closest resort area, if required.

Older people are the ones most likely to search abroad for treatment for serious or life-threatening conditions. Another sector of society traveling for these treatments are the baby-boomers and young professionals with spare cash to burn. Getting nose surgery abroad or going there for other procedures like liposuction, breast augmentation, face lifts and Botox treatments offers a degree of privacy. If they return to work looking younger and rejuvenated after their 'holiday' no one need know the real reason!

It all sounds very tempting, so what's the catch? There are downsides to all this, of course. Many fear travelling so far from home and away from the support of family and friends. Some fear they will be exposed to tropical diseases like Malaria or even a nasty case of Delhi belly. What if something should go wrong with nose surgery abroad or there are post-operative complications? It would be daunting, expensive and probably impossible to fight for compensation in a foreign court. Then there's the problem of obtaining travel insurance...

For many people though, the risks of a procedure like nose surgery abroad are far outweighed by the desperate need for an alternative to years of living in pain while they wait for NHS treatment. It's a good idea to shop around first and find out whether having the procedure done at a private clinic in the U.K. is feasible rather than risk travelling so far from home. However, in most cases the costs of nose surgery abroad are significantly lower - due, in part, to the cheaper labour and the lower cost of malpractice insurance.


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