The persisting long wait times in the medical sector are prompting people from all over the world to consider medical tourism—even to fairly remote destinations. An international orthopedic center in Lithuania has reported that people from countries like Barbados, the Philippines, or Seychelles come searching for cheaper surgeries, additional health care packages, and cutting-edge medical technologies.
The increasing popularity of medical tourism has been driven by more favorable prices, shorter wait times, better access to qualified specialists, and the opportunity to combine surgery with travel.
Lately, Lithuania, situated in Central Europe, has seen an uptick in medical tourist flows from countries like the Philippines, Seychelles, and Barbados, and many of these travelers come to Europe in search of speedier and cheaper orthopedic solutions. Nordorthopaedics Clinic, a leading international orthopedic center, reports that the main draws for such medical tourists are advanced technologies, rehabilitation packages, and competitive prices.
Šarūnas Tarasevičius, an orthopedic surgeon at the Clinic, noted that 45% of orthopedic patients come for hip and knee replacement surgeries. Regarding hip surgeries, the number is highly influenced by the life-debilitating nature of pains and the restricted ability to live a full-fledged life.
“The arthritic pain stops after the surgery, which significantly boosts the patient’s well-being and reduces their recovery period. They can start physical therapy right after the surgery, travel back home seven days later, move freely without additional support after a month, and resume their regular activities ten weeks after the surgery,” he added.
Total hip replacement in Europe proved to be the right choice for Mr. Rex Dela Rosa, a firefighter from the Philippines, in terms of rebuilding his self-confidence and strength. He was given another chance to resume his successful career after he came to Lithuania for much-needed hip replacement surgery. He indicated that the procedure allowed him to return to his usual pre-pain self. “The doctors gave me back my confidence to face the real world once again,” he said.
Ms. Anne Rose-Innes came to Lithuania for a hip replacement from Seychelles. She attributes the choice to travel all the way to Lithuania for the procedure to several deciding factors. For one, she could schedule the surgery and the accompanying physical therapy sessions in only three weeks.
“The entire surgery scheduling process was streamlined and stress-free. It was such a relief not to be on a lengthy waitlist, as is the case in many other countries,” she said.
Another aspect that helped her decide about a flight to Lithuania was the ability to undergo physical therapy immediately after the surgery. “The sessions were one-on-one, professional, and at times challenging. Ultimately, they expedited my recovery process and allowed me to return to daily activities,” Ms. Rose-Innes added.
Mr. Charlie Edey from Barbados had been experiencing debilitating arthritic pain, which severely limited his mobility and prompted him to look into surgical options. What finally convinced him to consider medical tourism to Lithuania, was the level of surgeons’ professionalism, no language barrier, lower cost than at home hospitals, and the rehabilitation package option.
“After spending two nights at the clinic after surgery, I chose to stay an additional nine days at a rehabilitation center in Lithuania’s spa town Druskininkai. I believe this decision further accelerated my recovery process due to the immediate post-surgery therapy and treatment sessions,” Mr. Edey said. “On leaving the facility to return home, I was walking comfortably with the limited assistance of one cane and very little post-surgery discomfort. The arthritic pain which I had been experiencing before the surgery had completely gone.”