Medical Tourism in Croatia - affordable treatments and prominent providers


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Medical Tourism in Croatia - affordable treatments and prominent providers

  1. 1.
  2. 2. Medical tourism The combination of medicine and tourism is a relatively new type of tourism that records high growth rates, and today the market value of medical tourism is more than 60 billion dollars. The growth trend will continue in the future, and on its decrease can only affect the lack of capacity, and in no way decrease in demand. Medical tourism is a comprehensive term used for a whole range of activities from wellness and spa treatments to all types of cosmetic and most complicated operations including, for example, heart transplantation. Medical outsourcing, health tourism, medical travel or health travel are all terms used to describe this phenomenon. Depending upon the need, the medical trips are to surgery centers overseas for medical or plastic surgery, or to overseas hospitals and clinics for advanced medical diagnostics, recuperation care or dental care. Unyielding growth of demand on world market for the medical tourism generates the crisis in healthcare systems in the developed countries, high prices of medical services, long waiting lists and global trends of the population aging. A key factor in choosing a destination, except the cost, is the standard of medical services, high expertise and equipment of hospitals that deal with these types of services and the attractiveness of the location in the tourist sense. Fraction of cost does not always mean a compromise in quality! Many of the most advanced medical facilities in the world exist outside the United States, with specific programs carefully designed to attract international travelers. This year alone, upwards of 500,000 Americans expected to travel overseas to get their bodies fixed, at prices 30 to 80 percent less than at home. Moreover, since recession and economic depletion is affecting the major developed countries that offers world top-notch healthcare, Americans are expected to help turn global medical tourism into a $40 billion-a-year industry by 2010, according to David Hancock, author of The Complete Medical Tourist. These are astonishing numbers but and will likely to happen in the near future because of the incredible potential the industry has up to today. Another player that supports the boom of medical tourism is medical tourism agencies. Not only do these companies act as mediators between patients and foreign surgeons, but also they also search hospitals, schedule surgeries, buy airline tickets, reserve hotel rooms, and, yes, even plan sightseeing tours for the patients’ private recuperation. Most important, they aim to reassure customers that cheap doe’s not equal poor quality. Therefore, for a little added fee you can rest assures that your medical vacation will be a success. The future of medical tourism looks very bright with some countries registering about 30% annual growth in tourism related to healthcare. Medical tourism is surely a part of the next level of globalization. The growth of medical tourism is driven by cost, consumerism, quality and foreign economic development. Outbound medical tourism is expected to increase as health care costs in US continue to rise. In addition, consumerism and higher out-of-pocket expenses are prompting individuals to seek lower-cost alternatives to US based treatments. Outbound medical tourism is likely to experience explosive growth over the next three to five years, followed by continued slower growth due to capacity constraints. The availability of lower-cost, offshore treatment options could save US patients billions of dollars and reduce spending within the US health care system.
  3. 3. Medical tourism in Croatia! The foremost and the major benefit of medical tourism is the huge gap in the cost of treatments. Another benefit is to overcome the waiting period. Often the health care system in developed nations has long queue and you have to wait for months or sometimes even a year. You can travel to foreign countries, receive medical treatment, and convalesce well before a year. When you choose to travel to Croatia for the purpose of medical tourism, your main aim of travel complemented with the experience offered by this tourist country. Croatia is an extremely competitive health and medical destination for safe and affordable treatments not only for neighboring Europeans, but for travelers from North and South America as well. Our country is recognizing for superlative care, treatments and procedures (rehabilitation and wellness treatment, dental care, cosmetic and plastic surgery, eye treatment, etc.). With state of the art facilities, equipment and expertise, Croatia is building a growing reputation for the best service that still beats medical or health costs from throughout Europe and North America. Medical schools in Croatia have traditionally had good reputation, as the doctors who graduated from these schools became top specialists through practice and further training in the high standard environment. The Croatian doctors are regular participants of conferences and other forms of expert training, but also respected members of world and European associations, which confirms their high expertise in different fields of medicine. There are many doctors educated in Croatia who have built their careers and achieved success in your country as well.
  4. 4. Private health institutions and surgeries in Croatia are equipped with the latest diagnostic technology and surgical equipment for surgical procedures. Croatia, where tourism is one of the dominant economic branches, with its astonishing Adriatic Sea coast and attractive continental touristic possibilities, has plenty to offer to medical tourism consumers. We invite you to discover and enjoy the beauties of Croatia, its mild climate, the crystal clean, warm sea water, beautiful beaches, virgin nature, combined with rich history and cultural heritage, delicious cuisine and good wines, an above all, warm and friendly people. We will arrange everything for you in order to make your stay as pleasant as possible so when you come back home you’ll enjoy in beautiful memories, speaking about our country and nice hospitality to your family and friends and wish to come back as soon as possible. With our unique approach based on: / High quality doctors, clinics and hospitals / Tailored to your needs / Quality end to end services / Low Risk We would like to thank you for choosing us and welcome you to Croatia! Medical Traveler: What to expect using this medical service The following is a comprehensive, easy-to-follow process to bring you a step closer to your objective: / Why Croatian Medical Tourism? Finding a company to coordinate and simplify every aspect of your care overseas is extremely important, leaving you free to concern yourself only with getting your medical condition behind you. Find out how easy we make it for you to access high quality Croatian Health Care. / Contact Us. Fill out our no-obligation online form or contact us at our phone numbers. / Help us to help you. We need to get to know each other better so we can tailor a medical solution to your unique situation. We’ll contact you to: / Find out more about your medical history and current medical needs / Explain in more detail exactly what to expect and when / Answer all your questions / Discuss destination options for your medical condition and learn your travel preferences. Describe the “behind-the- scenes” services we provide to ensure a smooth, simple and seamless trip abroad for your treatment
  5. 5. / Detailed Information. You provide us with your medical records (X-rays, MRIs and other test results), which we will use in consultation with our network of medical providers to find the best options for you. / Research. Our staff then sets to work researching choices available to you. Your medical condition and personal preferences frame our search for the best clinics, hospitals and doctors within our broad network. As we narrow the field of optimum choices, we provide your records to the doctors best matched to your situation. They each then evaluate your condition, make recommendations, and provide cost estimates. / Your Decision. We provide you with a set of options to review, including detail on the clinics and hospitals with background on the doctors we recommend. We encourage you to conduct your own research on our recommendations and discuss them with your domestic medical team. Moreover, we’ll be pleased to arrange a phone conference between you and the medical team abroad to help you make an informed and confident decision. / We take care about Logistics. Once you’ve made your decision, we take it from there, and even help you get your travel documents, such as passports and visas, in order and arrange for payment. Once we’ve tied down the date for your procedure, Croatian Medical Tourism then makes all arrangements with the doctor, clinic or hospital, and coordinates your travel itinerary. All you have to do is pack a suitcase and board the airplane. / Welcome to Croatia!. Once you arrive at your destination, you’ll be greeted at the airport and driven to your hotel. After that, according to your schedule, we drive you to the clinic or hospital where You’ll be introduced to your liaison, who on our behalf, will coordinate your admission and all details during your stay. During admission, you’ll make payment to the clinic or hospital, usually by credit card, and then you’re ready to meet your medical team. Your lead doctor will explain every aspect of your procedure in detail and the in depth pre-op tests. The tests ensure there are no changes in your medical condition since the transfer of records. Most patients are impressed with the thoroughness of these tests, and unlike in the U.S., are all at no additional charge. No matter which of the Croatian Medical Tourism clinics or hospitals you’ve chosen, you’ll be able to communicate clearly in English (or German, Russian, Italian, Spanish), the facilities are pristine and technologically advanced, and the staff is dedicated to your medical care and your personal comfort. / Your Medical Care. Your medical procedure begins. Croatian Medical Tourism will stay in constant contact with you and your medical team throughout your stay. You will be provided with a mobile phone or laptop computer (if needed), which will allow
  6. 6. you to keep in touch with us, your friends and family back home. You’ll be closely monitored during recovery, and once the medical team has determined you’re ready for discharge, you’ll either fly home or be moved to nearby lodging for further recovery and follow-up care, physical therapy, tests or additional tourist program you choose to explore. / You Return Back Home. When Croatian Medical Tourism receives word from the medical team that you’re ready to come home, we confirm your travel arrangements so that once again, all you have to do is pack and board the plane. We stay in close touch once you’re home to assist you and your domestic medical team with any follow-up care. We stay connected with you for as long as you need us and usually after that, and help you get answers from your overseas doctor should any post-care issues arise Tips for medical tourists Research your treatment options: Make sure you understand your medical situation, diagnosis, and required treatment. Talk with your doctor about your personal situation and planning the treatment. Talk to someone you know who has undergone the treatment abroad about their experiences. Choose the right companion: Someone you trust, fun person, physically and mentally capable of helping you, organized - you need someone who can help you plan and execute your journey successfully to make sure you’re getting the most out of your trip while you’re wise on money & time spending. Take time to find the right doctor. To help you build your trust ask for credential, experience, success rates, education degree, past patients’ testimonials, consultation fees and means of communication. Get precise explanations about the methods and materials used. Get to know your hospital or clinic and check the accreditation, insurance policy, success rate and number of surgeries. Once you’ve established a relationship or a scheduled consultation, the chosen doctor will probably ask you for assistive medical information so make sure you have prepared: / Your doctors’ reports and recommendations / X-Ray / Lab Test results Post procedure recuperation planning / You should give yourself sometime to recover, to be on the safe side, plan a few more days that what the doctor recommended, just in case a complication happens / Get the detailed information on post procedure care Make sure you know: / how many appointments you will need / how long you will stay at the medical facility / how long is the post procedure recuperation period
  7. 7. / how much the whole medical treatment will cost / detailed schedule (appointments, procedures, checkups, etc…) Planning your trip: Once you’ve scheduled your appointments, book your travel (air, hotel, transportation). Try to book your trip in advance to make sure you get a good fair and you don’t get put on the waiting list and go through the risk of not being able to make it on time. Things you should not forget: / - Passport - check the validity of your passport / - ATM cards, credit cards, insurance card if applicable / - Medical history file / - Enough cash / - Contact information from the hospital/doctor and accommodation / - Travel document (reservations confirmation) / - Prescriptions / - Visa if required - please check if you need a visa for Croatia Make sure you take photocopies of your passport, visa and other documentation, keep them separate to your hand luggage, and leave details of where you are going with someone at home. Don’t forget the tourism! Plan your holiday based on the kind of treatment you are traveling for. In case it is something that will restrict your movements indulge in a holiday before the surgery and leave for home after a couple of days. Otherwise, you can enjoy a trip afterwards and go home feeling refreshed. Also, take your doctor’s advice before you make a decision. Take advantage of all the beautiful sights Croatia has to offer! School of Medicine in Croatia In Croatia, there are 4 universities which offer medical degrees: the University of Zagreb, University of Rijeka, University of Osijek and University of Split. The Medical School in Zagreb was the first school of this kind in the country, established in 1917, and from the very beginnings it has been the leading medical school in the region. The medical professionals who obtained their degree at this school were the leading figures in establishing the other three Faculties in Rijeka (1955), Split (1977) and Osijek (1979). Postgraduate education as part of the program offered at the Medical School in Zagreb has begun in mid 50ties in the form of training courses at the School of Public Health “Andrija Štampar” and developed into systematic postgraduate studies in the early 60ties. By the academic year of 1989/90,
  8. 8. there were as many as 48 university courses in all fields of medicine. The beginnings of “continuing medical education” at the Medical School in Zagreb date back to the 80s. The School passed the Resolution on conducting continuing medical education in 1989 that specified its purpose and the aims, as well the criteria for acceptance of projects of continuing medical education. In the period between 1992 and 1997, 69 courses were held, and in the late 90ties the number dramatically increased. An important factor in this increase was professional licencing that was first introduced in 1996, and the first extension was in 2002. A great effort has been made to improve the quality of the program. The program promotes the idea of lifelong learning, and, along with the research and specialist postgraduate studies, this education lasts until the end of one’s professional career. The common feature is also the ECTS grading system at all stages of postgraduate education. All activities at the Medical School in Zagreb have been monitored and harmonized through cooperation with the other faculties, especially in the recent years. The reestablishment of the Croatian Medical Chamber in 1995 contributed to a special form of monitoring of continuing medical education, when licencing was introduced (1996), and relicencing was conducted twice (2002 and 2008). The total number of doctors with a valid licence of the Croatian Medical Chamber is 16 568, 12 149 of which are employed in health institutions. There are 6507 specialists working in hospitals (54%). There are 3104 (25%) of doctors with private practice contracted to the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance, and 668 (5.5%) without such contract. Furthermore, there are 28 foreign doctors with temporary licence. Well organized education of medical personnel and harmonization of criteria and standards in education with the European trends is a good indicator of quality and expertise of Croatian doctors, who have also achieved recognition abroad. All of the abovementioned provides solid ground for competitive medical tourism as one of the main trends in the development of the tourist offer in Croatia. There is also a wide network of nursing schools, with the university degree education introduced in the past decade to comply with the standards of the European Union. A guide to medical travel insurance (medical tourism insurance) Insurance for medical travellers is a developing area within medical tourism. Many are aimed either at UK or US based medical travellers. We provide an overview of those products that are widely available to people travelling for treatment. Other products are on offer or are being developed which are only available from the medical tourism agency or hospital that you book with. Some medical tourism agencies and hospitals offer their own cost-over run insurance. Our guide to medical travel insurance helps the medical tourist to understand why they need specialist travel insurance if they are travelling abroad for treatment. Medical travel insurance is travel insurance designed for the specific requirements and risks of medical travellers. An overview of medical travel insurance Why do I need special travel insurance if I am travelling to another country for treatment? Standard travel insurance policies provide no medical cover for medical or dental procedures abroad, if the procedure is for a pre- existing medical or dental condition or if the surgery or procedure or dental treatment is planned as part of the travel. When travel
  9. 9. insurance is taken out for travel which involves “medical tourism” or treatment abroad, the travel agent, tour operator, medical tourism agency or medical provider should point out this lack of cover. But few will tell you, even on cover that they may help arrange or suggest, that standard travel insurance policies will in general automatically exclude ALL cover, if you are travelling for medical treatment. So, if you take out standard travel insurance (or use your annual multi-trip insurance) and the purpose of your trip is for some form of treatment or operation, then the travel insurer may refuse your claim, even if it is related to something non-medical such as the loss of your luggage. No travel insurance policy will cover the cost of planned treatment. Medical travel insurance is simply normal travel insurance designed for medical travellers. Many policies of all types may suggest they have worldwide cover, but that is almost always only for emergency medical treatment; it does not cover you for choosing to go overseas for treatment. A few basic checks before buying a medical travel policy: 1. Does the insurance apply to the country you live in? 2. Does the insurance apply to the country you are travelling to for treatment? 3. Does the insurance apply to the hospital or surgery you are being treated in? Never buy insurance if the person selling it refuses to provide details of who the insurers are, the price, what is covered, and what is not covered. Legal aspects of medical travel insurance Insurance is a complex subject and subject to many laws, regulations and limitations. Insurance laws can depend on which country you live in, the country where treatment is taking place, and the country where the agency resides. Medical travel breaks country boundaries, and this can mean that different country regulations clash and are contradictory. The recent increase in medical travel is not something that laws or insurance regulations had in mind, so there is no case law that settles uncertainties. In some countries and states, there are rules on who can sell insurance, and this can be complex. In others it is a “let the buyer beware” situation with little regulation on insurers or insurance sellers. Are you covered for treatment abroad by your existing health insurance scheme? The vast majority of health insurance schemes do not allow treatment outside the country in which you are a subscriber. / The handful of private medical insurances that do allow treatment outside the home country, rarely cover dental, cosmetic or lots of other treatments that people go overseas for. / Most travel insurance policies now have exclusions on going overseas for treatment. / Medical negligence policies only cover hospitals not the customer, but a special new policy has been launched. / International insurance policies are designed for people who are expatriates -those working or living outside the UK, not for UK residents. / International insurance policies only provide very limited cover for travelling between countries for treatment.
  10. 10. / Cost over-run policies are available, but rare; and many are just uninsured guarantees. / Very few dental insurance policies cover non-emergency treatment outside the UK. / Policies will not pay your travel costs There are some specialist medical travel insurance policies designed for the medical tourist. Existing medical conditions and travel insurance If you are thinking of overseas treatment, this is often for an existing problem that you have. Many off the shelf travel insurance policies exclude pre-existing conditions and existing problems. Many people are tempted to avoid the problem by lying/ failing to disclose that the whole or partial purpose of a trip is for treatment. Failure to reveal relevant information can invalidate the policy rendering it worthless. Failure to reveal the true purpose of a trip when making a claim, is fraud, a criminal offence. Medical travel insurance: Insurance products We have provided key information on products offered to consumers who are travelling for treatment. For full information go to the provider, and remember to read ALL the documentation before parting with your money; there is then less chance of unpleasant surprises, if you have to make a claim. There are other insurance products available, but some are unique to a particular hospital or agency. In many countries, there is no legal requirement for the insurance seller or broker to provide easily available information on the insurance, such as policy details, price, policy wording, or even who the insurers are. Some other insurances are only available on a wholesale basis to agencies, insurers and hospitals. As this is a consumer site, those products are not listed here Do you need medical travel insurance? Although policies may not provide full cover, some insurers will offer some insurance on request. For example, on travel policies they may not cover anything connected to the treatment but may offer cover for baggage and money sections. After all, someone traveling for treatment and rest is probably a safer risk than a youngster on an adventure sports holiday. Many of the things for which people go abroad would not be covered under their private medical or dental insurance, if treatment were in the UK, so going abroad is no different. If you bought every insurance policy that the industry recommends you have for family security, you would be well protected but have no money for food, drink or for traveling overseas for treatment!
  11. 11. Insurance is just peace of mind; it is a way of protecting against the unexpected. Going overseas for treatment of any kind is not an unexpected event. There are ways of reducing risk other than by insurance e.g. use debit cards rather than cash, only travel with belongings that are disposable or easily replaceable. Insurance is merely a cash transaction; you pay the insurer in return for them assuming a risk. Going overseas for treatment usually means you are saving a hefty sum of money. Compare the guaranteed saving against any possible loss which only has a slight chance of happening e.g. losing all your baggage. If you save ?1,000 by traveling overseas for medical treatment, it is foolish to worry about losing ?300 of baggage and money. On the one hand the risk of saving ?1,000 is 100% while the chances of losing baggage and money is under 10% - otherwise how would insurers make money? If you went to an insurer and said ‘ I am going to have a car crash tomorrow will you insure me?” they would say no. Going to an insurer and saying” I plan to have dental treatment overseas next month, will you cover the cost?” will get the same negative answer. Why medical complications insurance is needed? An overseas medical practitioner and the health facility may be legally responsible if medical negligence can be demonstrated. This is known as medical malpractice. Some commentators make a lot of noise that you should not go abroad for treatment as unlike the US and UK, you will not be able to sue for medical negligence. What they forget to tell you is that under 5% of those in the US or UK who suffer medical malpractice, even attempt to sue. Only a few of those succeed and malpractice suits can cost time and money to pursue. Hospitals wheel out specialist lawyers, experts, and doctors to seek to prove that there was no malpractice, and any applicant’s life gets put under microscopic investigation. Not every operation or process succeeds. There can be many reasons for this, of which malpractice is only one. So insurance for medical complications is a good idea. To pursue a claim for medical negligence, a departure from the accepted standards for procedures in the country in which the surgery was carried out must be demonstrated. So not only must the legal claim be brought using the local legal system, but the claim must be established according to local medical standards of practice and local laws. Some legal systems permit waivers to exclude claims for negligence. As a result, claims for medical negligence face poor prospects of success, and are likely to succeed only in cases where the negligence is obvious and it is possible to retain a good local lawyer with language skills. For cosmetic surgery, it is almost impossible to prove medical negligence for various reasons. As a result, the patient will always need to meet the cost of reconstructive cosmetic surgery from their own pocket. Even if medical negligence is demonstrated, recovery can be an expensive and uncertain process. Medical Indemnity Insurance is not compulsory in many countries, and even if it exists, may be limited in amount, or exclude foreign tourists. Medical complications insurance provides some cover if the treatment has to be remedied or corrected.
  12. 12. Medical complications insurance is not medical negligence insurance, and does not enable you to sue hospitals, doctors or agencies. Medical malpractice insurance is medical complications cover plus cover for other losses you suffer. Medical malpractice cover for individuals is first person loss only and does not assist you in suing any doctor, hospital or agency. We know only of one such medical malpractice policy in the world, and that will only cover JCI accredited hospitals Medical travel insurance: What to watch out for. Insurance history is scattered with companies offering what appears to be great cover at low price. If someone is offering any product that seems cheaper than everyone else, for a lower price, what generally happens is that either the company goes under, or your chances of getting any claim paid are negligible. If it looks cheap and nasty, it usually is. There are insurance providers outside the UK and the USA, who are reputable, but if you buy from any intermediary or insurer who is not covered by regulations within your own country, then you have no consumer protection at all. There are insurers who claim to offer international insurances which are available for UK residents, and seem to offer cover for treatment in any country. Some of these companies have a poor track record and reputation within the insurance industry. Some companies within the medical travel industry seem to offer travel and other insurances. Many of these do not understand the limitations of what they are offering. Several have been asked for clarification of what they offer- few reply. For example, any company that sells insurance within the UK, even if it only uses one insurer and leaves the consumer and insurer to deal direct, must be authorised by the Financial Services Authority. There are some UK medical travel sites which appear to offer insurance but do not appear to be regulated. If in doubt as to whether any UK insurer, intermediary or agency is regulated, ask what its FSA reference number is or check the FSA register at Some basic rules apply to all insurances; / If you have any questions or queries get the answer in writing - phone comments can be later denied; email responses are only of any use if they have a real name attached. / Always ask for a full copy of the policy wording. Nearly every insurer or intermediary can supply a PDF by email. / Always check that it is clear who the insurer is and where they are based. / If you have any questions -ask before you buy. / A common response to worries about policies with exclusions on overseas treatment is “ that is what it says but if you have a claim then insurers will still pay you… “ That gives you no protection as you are relying on an insurer being kind to you.
  13. 13. Some insurers are good to customers; others do everything possible to avoid paying claims / A frequent comment is “ The insurance trade association/ consultant/ intermediary told us not to worry about such exclusions as they do not apply in practice’ Oh yes they do! / If told, “The documentation is temporarily unavailable’ or a similar excuse. then walk away from that insurance offer. Ensure any price is a quotation, not a rough indication. Am I covered by my private medical insurance? The myths / You can buy cover just to cover overseas treatment. / International insurance from Company X will protect you. / Policies have a worldwide extension so cover must apply. / Insurances with non UK cover will pay for overseas treatment. The reality / There is no specific cover for those planning to go overseas for treatment. / International insurances are for expatriates not UK residents. / Worldwide extensions are for emergencies only. / Very few policies cover treatment outside the UK, and even when they do, most of the treatments you go overseas for are not covered. The detail With the rise of popularity of overseas treatment, private medical insurers have been adding specific exclusions to policies that exclude overseas treatment. Even if you have a policy that does not have such an exclusion, insurers can argue that you live in the UK so would be expected to be treated in the UK Your policy may restrict treatment to a specific type or group of hospitals, or even hospitals listed by name. Non-UK hospitals will not be on these lists, so no claim can be made. Policies have specific exclusions-such as; / cosmetic surgery / dental treatment
  14. 14. / reconstructive surgery / treatment at spas and health hydros / overseas treatment and repatriation / weight loss treatment / complications from excluded conditions / fertility and sexual problems / sex changes / experimental treatment / unrecognised providers and facilities The exclusion which normally applies even if not specifically excluded by the policy is a pre-existing condition. This can be interpreted in many ways to include anything you knew or suspected or have had treatment for, even if you have recovered. A small number of insurers will consider requests to pay for treatment outside the UK. But, this will only be for treatment that would have been covered in the UK, and will exclude travel and other non-medical costs. The logic that travel plus treatment could be cheaper for the insurer than paying for UK treatment will cut no ice. Some insurers will consider treatment abroad where it is not available in the UK. In such cases, insurers will meet the equivalent UK costs of the treatment, but not travel costs, only if cover applies had treatment been available in the UK. In the UK almost all medical procedures are available privately, so the extension is less generous than it sounds, while some of the overseas treatments would be excluded as experimental treatments. One of the few policies which allow customers to get treatment anywhere in the world only covers listed treatments, few of which are the sort of thing that people go overseas for. Am I covered by my dental insurance? The myths / You can buy cover just to cover overseas treatment. / Policies have a worldwide extension so cover must apply. / Insurances with non-UK cover will pay for overseas treatment. The reality / There is no specific cover for those planning to go overseas for dental treatment.
  15. 15. / Worldwide extensions are for emergencies only. / Very few policies cover treatment outside the UK, and even when they do, most of the treatments you go overseas for are not covered. The detail Many dental policies only cover accidents, emergencies and simple maintenance, so excluding more extensive dental treatment. Your policy may restrict treatment to your normal UK dentist. / Policies have specific exclusions-such as; / cosmetic procedures / dental treatment carried out in a hospital / orthodontic treatment / dental veneers / tooth whitening / implants The exclusion which normally applies even if not specifically excluded by the policy is a pre-existing condition. This can be interpreted in many ways to include anything you knew or suspected or have had treatment for. A small number of dental insurers include treatment outside the UK. But, this will only be for treatment that would have been covered in the UK, and will exclude travel and other non-medical costs. This may be limited to the EU only. Am I covered by my international health insurance? The myths / You can buy cover just to cover overseas treatment. / International insurance from Company X will protect you. / Policies are worldwide extension or limited to specific geographical areas so cover must apply. / Insurances with non-UK cover will pay for overseas treatment. The reality / There is no specific cover for those planning to go overseas for treatment.
  16. 16. / International insurances are for expatriates, not UK residents. / Most insurers will not sell international insurance to UK residents. / Worldwide or geographical extensions are designed to protect people living overseas in countries where treatment is not readily available, and is for emergencies only. / A small number of ‘ international ‘ insurances are available, but are not to be recommended for the average person. The detail If you live in the UK for more than 6 months of the year you are a UK resident and not an expatriate, so you are ineligible for many international health insurances. Many international insurances are designed to cover a wide range of medical treatments, with the proviso that for serious problems the person will be repatriated to the UK for treatment. Even when cover applies in several countries, most insurers will only pay the treatment costs if equivalent treatment is not available in the country you are in. Few insurers will pay the travel costs. Policies are designed to cover people from one country who are working in another country or living there as an expatriate. Most cover treatment in the country the person is in, treatment elsewhere if that is a better medical solution, emergency treatment almost anywhere and repatriation to their home country. There is a huge difference between covering unexpected treatment overseas, and covering deliberately sought treatment. Policies that appear to give the option of treatment in any country may effectively not cover medical travel by excluding cosmetic, dental and most elective treatments. Policies may also exclude it by limiting treatment only to approved overseas hospitals, so not paying for treatment in the country or clinic the customer chooses. There are one or two reputable international health insurance policies around which will cover people worldwide. These are mostly aimed at the international jet set with homes in many countries who travel around a lot on business and pleasure. They offer very wide cover but are very expensive. Other so-called international health insurance policies are offered by companies where the insurer does not have a UK licence. Some may be reputable, but as a consumer you have no one to complain to or any legal rights if something goers wrong. Other so called international health insurance policies from companies where the insurer does not have a UK licence are not reliable. Some offshore companies have a reputation for not paying claims, and a limited adherence to rules, regulations and the law.
  17. 17. Am I covered by my travel insurance? The myths / You can buy cover just to cover trips for overseas treatment. / Normal travel insurance covers you. / Policies are worldwide or for specific areas so cover must apply. / Insurances with non-UK cover will pay for overseas treatment. / If I tell them it is a holiday I will be covered. The reality / There is no specific cover for those planning to go overseas for treatment. / Normal travel insurance will offer no or restricted cover. / Worldwide extensions are for emergencies only. / Travel policies are designed to cover emergency medical treatment, not planned treatment. / Saying it is a holiday when it is a medical trip is lying which can invalidate the policy or if you persist with the lie when claiming, a criminal penalty. The detail Very few travel agents, intermediaries, medical travel agents, and sometimes even insurers themselves, understand what is or what is not covered. As travel polices obviously do not have an exclusion for travelling overseas, many feel that medical cover applies anywhere. This is not correct. A huge problem with travel insurance is people not telling, not being asked about, or being falsely advised “It does not matter why you are traveling”, that the purposes of a trip are for medical/dental /surgical treatment Another problem with travel insurance is people not telling, not being asked about, or being falsely advised “It does not matter”, who are traveling with a pre-existing medical condition. Agencies and medical providers often recommend patients take out travel insurance. Some even offer to arrange cover. Whether what they offer is worthless or not, is debatable. Most travel policies now have a policy exclusion on going abroad for any kind of treatment. A policy exclusion applies to all sections of the policy Some travel policies have exclusions only on the medical expenses and cancellation sections; which exclude any pre-booked trip with
  18. 18. planned or pre-planned medical treatment Whether a travel policy that just covers baggage and money, for the full price of normal cover, is worth the premium, is doubtful. Travel insurance is not aimed at medical travelers. Restrictions and exclusions effectively mean that there is no or little cover under the policy. Few insurance, travel or medical agents point this out. The exclusion which normally applies even if not specifically excluded by the policy is pre-existing conditions. This can be interpreted in many ways to include anything you knew or suspected or have had treatment for -even if you have recovered. Policies have specific exclusions such as; / cosmetic procedures / non-emergency dental treatment / pre-existing medical conditions / attendance at any hospital in last 12 months / anticipation of any treatment or investigations or treatment in the future / being on the waiting list for in-patient or ay-patient treatment / traveling against medical advice Any form of medical treatment carries an inherent risk but also a risk of complication or adverse effects on pre-existing conditions. Therefore it is virtually impossible to medically underwrite such a policy and insurers have taken the simplest and clearest option available to them which is to exclude any medical costs related to such pre-arranged treatment or non-emergency treatment. Many misguided people say that if you are traveling overseas for treatment, then just forget to tell the travel insurer or agent and everything will be fine. Failure to disclose the true reason for the trip can invalidate the policy for the person seeking treatment and anyone accompanying them i.e. make the policy worthless. Failure to disclose the real reason, when claiming such as for loss of baggage, is fraud. Insurers now take a tough line on fraud, prosecuting offenders in criminal courts. Can I buy cost over run insurance? The myths / You can buy UK insurance to cover trips for overseas treatment. / You cannot buy this anywhere. / Cost guarantees are always insured. / Cost over run and medical negligence cover are the same thing.
  19. 19. The reality / There is no known specific cover in the UK for those planning to go overseas for treatment. / A handful of overseas agencies offer this cover with insurers not based in the UK. / Many so called insurances and guarantees are not actually insurance, but the equivalent of a lifetime guarantee when you buy a garden spade / Cost over run cover protects the patient; traditional medical negligence policies protect the hospital against being sued by the patient. The detail Many agencies offering cost over run cover are very reluctant to say who the insurer is, to provide details of what is covered or offer specimen policies. If they were UK based, they would be in breach of a whole range of financial regulations if they failed to advise who the insurer is, what the policy covers, offer a policy document to inspect on demand, offer product details and their connection to the ‘insurer; on demand. If based overseas, they are subject to EU, or local, or no restrictions at all. Simply stated, they do not have to tell you anything. Few readily explain who the insurer is. The good ones provide details of cover, cost, exclusions and who the insurance company is. Never ever buy insurance from someone who is not prepared to tell you who the insurer is, or makes unverifiable allegations of ‘ a reputable insurance company ‘ or ‘ insure at Lloyds’ ‘ A clue to problems is when they call it Lloyds or wrongly claim it is an insurance company. Many overseas insurers are reputable, but if you have to claim, you may be dealing with people with a limited grasp of English. Can I buy medical malpractice insurance? The myths / You cannot buy this anywhere. / Never go abroad if you cannot sue. / Cost overrun and medical negligence covers are the same thing. The reality / You cannot buy medical malpractice cover as it covers the hospital. / There is one patient malpractice cover available. / The ability to sue is a myth to keep lawyers rich.
  20. 20. The detail It is mostly lawyers and American websites that perpetuate the myth that you should not go abroad for treatment, as you cannot sue hospitals as you could in the UK or USA. This may be reinforced by people with a vested interest in discouraging people from going overseas for treatment. The sad fact is that suing any hospital is expensive. Few people succeed, and cases can take years. Medical malpractice lawyers are expensive, and hospitals will deploy a barrage of lawyers, doctors, consultants, expert witnesses and scientists to defend the case. According to figures released in 2007 - Medical malpractice in the USA kills an estimated 80,000 people, and injures thousands more, each year, but only two percent of malpractice victims seek compensation. Medical malpractice is medical treatment by a healthcare professional that is below the standard of care expected in that community and results in harm to the patient. Medical malpractice can include negligent conduct that causes harm as well as the failure to take necessary action. More specifically, there are three elements, which must be present in order to legally establish medical malpractice: / A professional relationship must have existed between you and the healthcare provider. / The healthcare provider must have acted below the standard of care of similar healthcare providers in the same community. / The substandard care must have caused harm to you. How can I protect myself against medical negligence? No medical/ dental/ cosmetic surgery is ever risk free. There is always a slim chance of something going wrong. Good medical travel agencies and surgeries/ hospitals will help you if something goes wrong. If something goes horribly wrong, that is not necessarily the fault of the hospital/ clinic. To succeed in a legal claim for malpractice you have to prove that the hospital/ clinic was negligent, and that is never easy. In some countries, the concept of negligence and malpractice is not recognised by the courts. In others, people promoting medical tourism will claim that their courts are fair to everyone, whatever their nationality. But in reality, a foreigner is always at a huge disadvantage in any court. The above problems may suggest that you should not travel overseas for treatment. But, in the UK, thousands suffer medical negligence or come out of hospital with a disease or bug that they caught there. Few try to sue the hospital. Fewer still succeed. Insurance sold by hospitals Some hospitals are said to be developing malpractice insurance cover which you can buy .The idea of a hospital asking you to pay them more money for an insurance which enables you to sue them if something goes wrong, may seem as absurd as a car thief offering you car insurance!
  21. 21. Legal expenses insurance At present there is no cover from UK insurers, which you can buy strictly for medical negligence. You could buy a legal expenses insurance, but most insurers will not cover medical malpractice nor cover actions in courts outside the UK. You could try to sue an overseas hospital in the UK, but many have now adopted terms and conditions which means that when you sign up for surgery you agree that any legal dispute has to be settled in their country. Cosmetic surgery insurance Several special policies to cover the costs of repairing cosmetic surgery that goes wrong, have been on offer. All have been withdrawn from the market. Patient medical malpractice insurance Barbados based AOS Assurance has launched Patient Medical Malpractice Insurance (PMMI). It is run by AON, the world’s biggest insurance broker, so has respectability. Insurance is available to UK residents but you will not have any protection for disputes with the insurer from the UK insurance authorities. With the new scheme, AOS has been quite clever. They realise that trying to sue a hospital is not an easy task. So they have put together a policy which provides compensation if you suffer injury and/ or financial loss as a result of medical malpractice Just as a travel policy does not require you to sue the airline that lost your baggage, or the hotel that cancelled your holiday, this insurance does not expect you to sue the hospital. It is not an easy way of getting treatment paid for by alleging incompetence, as you have to both prove any financial loss or disfigurement. There are substantial limitations. The main one is that the insurer will only cover hospitals that are authorised by the international arm of the US medical accreditation system, Joint Commission International (JCI) / It only covers treatment outside your home country, / It covers elective and non-elective procedures. / You buy cover before traveling for the medical or surgical procedure. / The premium is based on factors including the type and cost of the procedure. / This is not a policy that allows you to sue hospitals. / The insurance covers damages for-wage loss, cost of repair, out of pocket expenses and rehabilitation; disfigurement, loss of reproductive capacity; and death.
  22. 22. Other insurances We know of several companies trying to develop special policies for the medical tourism industry, but so far all are in the negotiation stage. A number of people have made promises about new policies they are on the verge of agreeing with insurers, but so far these remain mere hopes. TREATMENTS Dental treatments General A smile opens many doors, and a confident and unrestrained smile revealing healthy and beautiful teeth is simply alluring and gives the impression of an open and friendly person. Healthy and beautiful teeth are important for the appearance, but it is equally important to have healthy teeth, and their potential impact on overall health is an even more important aspect of the decision to have a dental treatment: a treatment or a replacement of a tooth. Modern medicine provides various dental treatments, possibilities of treatment and tooth replacement, and quality, appealing solutions are available to every patient: / crowns / bridges / implants / fillings / endodontic/ root canal therapy / veneers Choose the required treatment, the dentist and the region in Croatia to perform your dental treatment. Dental crowns A wide selection of materials for crowning the damaged tooth is available today, and their choice depends on the position and function of the tooth. The crowning is preceded by a dental radiograph of the tooth and the tooth is then drilled to remove the decayed part under local anesthesia. The dentist will then make an impression of the jaw which forms the basis for the creation of the crown, and take a sample of the tooth color so that the crown will perfectly match the natural color of the surrounding teeth. For a day or two, while the crown is being prepared in the laboratory, the patient is given a temporary crown that protects the tooth and serves as an aesthetic substitute.
  23. 23. The finished crown is fixed onto the tooth with special amalgams and becomes its integral part, enabling the patient to eat normally as soon as he/she arrives home. Complications of this procedure are rare. After the installation of the implant, it is important to maintain oral hygiene, giving special attention to the areas between the teeth in order to remove the food stuck between the teeth and to prevent breeding of bacteria on the edges of the crowns. Dental bridges The extraction of teeth leaves empty areas in the oral cavity, which cannot only become an aesthetic problem, but a medical one as well, because the remaining teeth tend to bend and shift, changing the shape of the entire jaw. The solution to this problem is to have a dental bridge fixed onto the surrounding teeth which must be strong and healthy. Alternatively, the bridge can be fixed onto the implants. Before the creation of the bridge, a radiograph of the jaw is taken, and the surrounding teeth are prepared - drilled under local anesthesia - so that the bridge can be fitted into place. After making the impression of the jaw, the bridge is created in the laboratory and the patient is given a temporary protection cover for the drilled teeth. Dental bridges are made from different materials: metal and ceramic, galvanized bridges, ceramic bridges in the color that matches the surrounding teeth. The best results are achieved with ceramic bridges, which is also the most popular choice. Skillfully made and accurately fixed, the dental bridges can last a long time: depending on the quality of the dental hygiene they can endure up to 25 years. The installation is performed with minimum risk, which can further be reduced by regular visits to the dentist. Dental implants The extracted teeth, especially the frontal ones which are the most prominent, can be replaced by a dental implant using modern methods. These methods can be used to replace one or several teeth, and to extend the line of teeth. Even a toothless jaw can be filled in. An implant is, in fact, a tooth screw, usually made from titanium, which is implanted in the jaw at the location of the root of the tooth. The advantage of implant technology is that it does not require drilling of the surrounding teeth, and the patients who have had an implant installed feel that their teeth are natural and solid. The installation of a dental implant requires that there are no inflammations or diseases in the jaw that could have a negative impact on the integrity of the dental structure. The patients should be at least 18 years old because the formation of the jaw ends at that age. In order to preserve the implant, the patient must maintain a strict regime of dental hygiene. Dental dentures Teeth are extremely important and without them, one loses the ability to chew food, absorb nutrients and digest. Tooth diseases, old age or accidents can lead to the loss of several or even all teeth, and dentures improve the quality of living and aesthetic impression of the face and the smile. A denture consists of a denture base and tooth substitutes, and it can be partial or complete.
  24. 24. It takes several visits to the dentist, for a period of 1-2 hours, to prepare and adjust the denture. During that time, several jaw impressions are taken and the denture is perfected. The patient’s mouth and jaw should be in the best possible condition. After the installation, the denture should be worn as often as possible, even during the night. The denture will last longer and be more comfortable to wear if it is given regular care. It is also important to pay regular visits to the dentist. Fillings In order to have durable teeth, all caries should be removed to preserve maximum tooth substance. A tooth cavity caused by the removal of the caries must be filled in, and plastic, gold, ceramic and porcelain fillings of different duration can be used for this. Modern materials give excellent results as quality and long-lasting solutions for tooth decay. The method of filling is discussed with the patient in advance, depending on the location of the decayed tooth in the jaw and the stage of tooth decay, i.e. whether the filling will be placed only on the top part of the tooth or it will extend from the top to the front and back walls of the tooth. The filling is molded to correspond to the shape of the patient’s tooth and, by taking the color sample of the tooth; it blends in with the tooth. All materials used are biocompatible and the risks of an allergic reaction are low. Nevertheless, sensitive patients should first consult a physician. Endodontic treatment/ Root canal therapy The spreading of an inflammation, caries, or inflammation of the tooth nerve, requires either extraction of the tooth, or root canal treatment which can save the tooth and is therefore recommended. Root canal treatment is important because it prevents the spreading of inflammation to the jaw and further complications. Prior to treatment, the dental pulp and jaw must be x-rayed. A highly twisted root canal can be an obstacle to the treatment because it prevents the dentist from reaching the root core even with the most accurate instruments. The inflamed nerve or necrotized nerve tissue is removed from the root canal using a local anesthesia, and the root chamber is then thoroughly cleaned. The clean canal is then filled up with antibacterial medicine and closed with temporary filling. If there are no undesirable complications in the next few days, the dentist permanently closes the tooth. Well prepared and thoroughly cleaned from bacteria, the tooth can last as long as a healthy tooth. Otherwise, the inflammation could occur again, which is why it is necessary to keep surveillance of the tooth through regular visits to the dentist. Veneers White and aesthetically pleasing teeth are the basis for an attractive smile that gives a person confidence in communication. Dental veneers can now solve a wide spectrum of dental flaws, from changes of the color of the teeth to crooked teeth.
  25. 25. The veneers are made from thin ceramic or plastic materials and placed onto the front part of the tooth to serve as a glazing. Preparation of the tooth includes a dental radiograph, cleaning and polishing, and removal of all caries. The dentist then determines the color of the teeth and drills a couple of millimeters off the front layer of the tooth to prepare the surface, and takes an impression of the tooth. When the patient visits the dentist for the second time, the veneer created in the laboratory is permanently fixed. In rare cases, the tooth can respond with initial sensitivity to the veneer that usually disappears after the tooth adapts to it. The risks and side effects are extremely rare in this procedure. Applied veneers require a little attention and care in order to prevent the damages caused by biting hard objects. Eye treatments General The eye is considered the most important human sensory organ. Indeed, the eyes and lips are our most prominent facial features, and greatly contribute to our appearance. Signals that are important in communication often come from eye contact. Wearing glasses creates certain difficulties, especially in sports activities, or when we need protection from the sun, etc. Unfortunately, for many people contact lenses are not an alternative because they are not biocompatible, require care and maintenance and may cause inflammation. Today, when many eye deficiencies can be corrected by modern laser techniques, patients with permanent eyesight deficiencies can choose from a number of alternatives: / gray cataract surgery / Femto-LASIK / LASEK / LASIK / PRK Gray cataract Although it most often occurs in old age, the gray cataract can also be caused by eye injuries or medications. The lenses increasingly becomes cloudy or opaque which causes blurred vision and eventually requires a surgical procedure. It is first necessary to perform a few preliminary tests that last 3-4 hours. One of the tests causes the pupils to dilate, so the patient will be unable to drive after the examination. The surgery for the removal of the gray cataract lasts approximately 20 minutes, but the overall treatment is 3-4 hours long. The
  26. 26. opaque eye cataract is replaced with the new, intraocular lenses made either from a soft material or a hard one, Plexiglas. In certain cases, the patient will be advised to remain in the clinic for 2-3 days, but most patients leave the clinic after a few hours of tests, with an eye bandage that stays on the eye overnight. After the procedure, the eye should not come into contact with water while showering or swimming. Proper care and consultation with the physician after the surgery can reduce the potential risks. Femto - LASIK Femto-LASIK is one of the methods that restore normal sight to those with distorted vision up to +/- 0.5 dioptre. The procedure entirely removes the need for poor eyesight aids or reduces it to only occasional use. The surgical procedure is preceded by tests that last for 3-4 hours and determine the condition of the sight. The tests cause dilation of the pupils, so it is not possible to drive after the examination. Those who wear contact lenses should not use them a few weeks prior to the surgery. Femto-Lasik surgery only lasts a few minutes, but the patient stays in the clinic for 4 hours. The procedure is painless and performed under local anesthesia. The lower layer of the cornea is corrected by the computer guided excimer and the epithelium is then returned to the eye to serve as a natural bandage until recovery. After the surgery, the eye needs to be closed for five hours for better recovery, and the patient will require an escort. Antibiotic drops are used for a week as a matter of precaution. The patient will feel a pricking sensation for the first few days while the wound is healing. It is important to avoid strong wind and sun for 5 days after the surgery. Easy sports activities are allowed after 5 days, but the patient should avoid intensive trainings for a few weeks. The risks of the Femto LASIK procedure are rather low. Combined with regular visits to the Ophthalmologist, they can be further reduced to a minimum. LASEK LASEK surgery is a method of sight correction that is used when the cornea is very thin and not quite suitable for treatment with other methods. During the surgery the surface layer of the cornea is removed, the deficiency is then corrected with the laser, and the epithelium is returned to its former place to serve as a natural protection during recovery. This is a routine procedure, but it is necessary to talk to the physician first and to perform 3-4 hour long tests: corneal topography, eye pressure measurement... Because of the dilated pupils, the patient will not be able to drive after the examination. Contact lenses must not be worn for 2 weeks before the surgery. After the surgery, the patient should keep his/her eyes closed for a few hours in order to enhance recovery. A burning sensation is possible during recovery, and tear secretion sometimes increases. Exposure to intense sun and strong wind is not advised 3-5 days following the surgery. After 5 days, the patient can engage in light sports activities, while intense sports activities are allowed only after a few weeks. Swimming pools and sauna are not allowed in the period immediately following the procedure. Good care after the procedure and regular check-ups reduce the potential risks. Eyesight improves within a few days after a LASEK
  27. 27. procedure, or four to six weeks at the latest, and eyeglasses and lenses become a thing of the past. LASIK This method is used to remove the predetermined amount of corneal cells with a computerized laser beam. Sight deficiencies caused by an irregular angle of reflection of light are thus removed by accurate modification of the surface of the cornea. LASIK is the most frequently used, the least painful and the least demanding method of eye correction in global terms. The procedure lasts only a few minutes and is performed under a local anesthesia. Patients who choose this method should not wear contact lenses or eye make-up in the period immediately before the procedure. During the first hours after the surgery, it is advised to keep the eyes closed to ensure optimum healing. After that, with regular check-ups and precautionary measures, it is possible to lead a normal life, and an eye bandage is usually not necessary. The risks of this procedure are rare. Normal sight is achieved after 4-6 weeks with +/-0.5 dioptre, which enables a life without glasses or contact lenses. PRK The PRK sight correction method has been performed since 1980. It is a safe and reliable method of sight correction for deficiencies of up to -6 dioptre. It is first necessary to conduct tests which last 3-4 hours: the exam of the surface of the cornea, eye pressure measurement… It is advised not to wear contact lenses two weeks prior to the procedure. The operation lasts only a few minutes, however the overall procedure takes up to 4 hours. The procedure includes complete removal of the epithelium, the protective and regenerable layer of the cornea, to ensure better access to the lower layers of the cornea which is then treated with the laser. During the procedure, the patient normally experiences no pain. After the surgery, the patient should have an escort because the eyes need to be closed for 3-5 hours, which enhances recovery. Epithelium regenerates itself within 2-3 days upon surgery and the patient will feel pain for a few days. In order to prevent inflammation, antibiotic drops are applied and it might be necessary to wear an eye bandage. One should avoid direct exposure to sun and strong winds. The patient will be able to play sports again after a few weeks. The patient needs to pay regular visits to the Ophthalmologist because it helps the process of recovery and reduces the risk of post- surgical complications
  28. 28. Cosmetic surgery When the outward appearance no longer matches the internal image of oneself, the feeling of self-worth can be seriously undermined. Many people closely link confidence and positive energy with beautiful and proportional outward appearance. Outward appearance has an essential function in everyday life. From the medical point of view, plastic surgery is not only used to improve self-image, it is also taken into consideration after accidents, when this type of treatment can be necessary. In recent years, immense progress has been achieved in this area in terms of types of treatment and surgical methods: / Breast augmentation / Breast lift / Breast reduction / Buttock reshaping / Cheek correction / Chin correction / Otoplasty/Ear correction / Eyelid correction / Face lift / Hair transplantation / Lip correction / Liposuction/ Fat removal / Rhinoplasty/ Nose correction / Skin correction / Scar removal / Sweat gland removal / Spider treatment of the veins / Thigh lift / Abdominal lift / Wrinkle correction / Wrinkle filler treatment
  29. 29. Breast augmentation The breasts are one of the most important feminine symbols and have a significant role in the feeling of self-worth. Women who are dissatisfied with the natural shape of their breasts, changes caused by aging and loss of weight, disproportional breasts and small breasts can find help in cosmetic surgery. Breast augmentation is one of the most frequent procedures in cosmetic/plastic surgery and it is not performed for solely aesthetic reasons. The reconstruction of breasts using silicon implants can be necessary in early stages of breast deformation or after amputation of breasts due to a malignant disease. The methods of the typical breast augmentation differ in the type, shape and size of the implants. The implant filling is composed of silicon and biocompatible saline; sometimes an empty implant is inserted and the filling is later injected. The pros and cons of each method must be thoroughly considered in each individual case. The procedure itself is conducted under general anesthesia and it is necessary that the patient stay in the hospital for 1-3 days. All post-surgical measures are designed to help the process of recovery. In the first weeks after the surgery, it is recommended to wear a special brassiere that lifts the breasts. Sports and other physical activities should be avoided for approximately 2 months. After about 6 months, these complications should entirely disappear, along with most of the scars. At this stage, the results of the breast surgery become visible and recognizable. Biocompatibility of the implant may represent a certain amount of risk because the implant is essentially an alien object in your body. In some cases, a hardening of the outer coat can occur as the result of a defense mechanism. A second corrective surgery might be helpful in this case. Breast lift The breasts are one of the most important feminine features. When they lose firmness and elasticity due to natural factors such as pregnancy, breast feeding and the normal aging process, cosmetic surgery offers the breast lift, also known as mastopexy, as one of the possibilities to lift and tighten the breast tissue. When it is no longer realistic to expect improvements through balanced diet, exercise and cosmetics, a breast lift should be considered. The body and breasts should be fully developed, and the patient’s health stable. A breast lift is a surgery which is normally performed under general anesthesia. The procedure lasts for 2-3 hours, and the patient remains in the hospital for 1-4 days. In the first days after the breast lift, the patients wear a tight bandage to protect the scars and maintain tightness of the breasts. After the surgery the patient can expect swelling, pain and potential hematomas. These problems are usually treated while the patient is in the hospital. The main risks of a breast lift are wound inflammation and oversensitivity in the breasts. If the wound is healing well and post-surgical measures have been taken, the patient can soon return to her normal daily activities if hard physical work is avoided. Breast reduction/ Reduction mammoplasty The size and shape of the breasts are very important to every woman. For many women, very large breasts have negative effects and are not attractive. Their weight can even cause medical problems: due to bad posture and curving of the spine a woman can suffer from neck, shoulder and back pain.
  30. 30. In modern cosmetic surgery, breast reduction is a frequent and usually routine procedure which helps many women regain confidence. Depending on the initial condition, different methods of breast reduction, also called mammary reductoplasty, are available. In most cases, it is combined with a breast lift to achieve the desired shape and firmness as much as possible. The breast reduction is normally performed under general anesthesia; the patient remains in the hospital after the procedure for 1-7 days. Following the surgery, the patient wears a tight bandage, but she can have a shower and maintain normal bodily hygiene after a few days. As in all other surgical procedures, swelling, hematomas and potential pain are possible, but can be eliminated during the patient’s stay in the hospital. The patient wears a breast supporting brassiere for a few weeks which helps the healing of the wound. Some scars will probably remain on the skin. If the patient follows the doctor’s advice for the best possible personal care after the procedure, all symptoms and problems should disappear within approximately 6 months, when the final results will also become quite visible. The symptoms caused by too large breasts will also be reduced. Buttock reshaping Today it is desirable to have a fit figure with well shaped buttocks. When sports and long-term changes in the diet fail to produce significant improvements, plastic surgery should be considered: to remove the fat, to tighten the buttocks after weight loss, to “tighten” the buttocks and make it rounder and larger. In some cases, the three options, reduction, tightening (firming) and augmentation are combined. The buttock reduction is normally achieved with liposuction, and, if necessary, by subsequent skin lifting. In the latter case, the muscle tissue of the buttocks must be stable. Buttock augmentation surgery uses implants and fat transplantation in order to achieve the desired shape of the buttocks. Before the corrective surgery, the patient’s health condition must be determined. The shape and content of your buttocks are thoroughly analyzed and possible results are discussed. The type and extent of the surgical procedure depends on the method of the treatment: liposuction usually requires only local anesthesia, while the general one is used in larger surgical procedures. The patient is usually advised to remain in the hospital for one or two days, which ensures proper post-surgical care among other things. The pain and swelling, or any other complications, can be successfully treated during the first few days following the procedure. During the next six weeks, special socks must be worn which prevent retaining of fluid in the tissue. In case of correction with implants, the patient is not allowed to sit for a few days to prevent the misshaping of the buttocks. The patient can resume his everyday activities after approximately 4 weeks. The final results show after six months: visibly better shape of the buttocks and firmer and tighter skin. Calf reshaping If the calves are asymmetric or too small, one should first attempt to solve this problem by exercise. If this produces no improvements, cosmetic surgery offers calf augmentation. Well shaped and potentially larger calves are achieved with calf implants, patient’s own tissue, or silicon or fat injections. The procedure is identical for women and men.
  31. 31. Cheek correction Your face is not only determined by the shape of your eyes, nose and mouth, but also by the structure and the shape of your bones which form the basis of your face. The proportions and the shape of the chin and the cheek bones are therefore equally important characteristics of a symmetrical face. High cheek bones are considered elegant and lovely. Plastic surgery can give “weak” cheeks a more beautiful shape and fullness. Chin correction When the chin is too prominent, protruded or if it is “weak”, flat and lacks projection, reshaping can make the profile of the face look beautiful and proportional. In some cases, a genioplasty (chin reshaping) can be performed for medical or orthopaedic reasons. This procedure can generally be performed after the jaw bone has been fully developed. Shifting of the chin area to the desired direction is surgically achieved after a thorough analysis of the face and consultations with the patient, in most cases with general anesthetic. Depending on the type of correction, the surgeon removes parts of the chin or, in case of the lowered chin, visually shifts the chin by inserting an implant. Swelling and hematoma are possible after the operation, but they soon disappear. The patient might also experience pain during eating or speaking. The healing process should be aided by cold compression and proper care. The patient should maintain the oral cavity with special care. With adequate care of the wound and generally positive outcome of the procedure, normal daily existence without difficulties is usually possible after 7 to 10 days.
  32. 32. Ear correction/ Otoplasty On most people, ears are not a very prominent feature, except when they do not match the overall appearance, i.e. stand out in the negative sense: the so called “Dumbo ears” or floppy ears. The problem of inborn malformation or asymmetry of the ear cartilage on both ears can be removed with a modern surgical procedure. This is a simple, low risk method of reshaping the cartilage that can be done on one or both ears. It is recommended to undergo the procedure in childhood years, because the cartilage is then softer than in the adult years. The child should definitely be older than five when the main phase of ear growth begins. The procedure is performed on children and adults of all ages without significant difficulties. Floppy ears are caused by the underdevelopment of the ear or the lack of ear folds. The surgical procedure creates the folds and fixes the ear into a new position. There is no fear of prominent scars because the procedure is performed in the rear part of the ear. Usually, when there are no complications, the surgery can be conducted under local anesthesia and lasts for two hours, or 30-60 minutes per ear. In extreme cases, the patient is advised to remain in the hospital overnight. After the surgery, as soon as the effect of the sedative wears off, the patient can leave the hospital with an escort. If the process of recovery goes according to plan, the patient can return to work, and the children can return to school, within three or four days.
  33. 33. Eyelid correction Our eyelids form a complete aesthetic unity with our face and contribute greatly to an open, friendly appearance. However, the natural aging process can leave visible marks. The skin and the muscular tissue in the area of the eyes can lose elasticity, which causes development of wrinkles and excess tissue. Furthermore, fat tissue can develop in the eye cavity. Such skin irregularities are highly visible and described in common terms such as droopy eyelids (upper eyelids) and bags under the eyes (lower eyelids). Depending on the nature of irregularity, droopy eyelids or bags under the eyes can create the impression of a prematurely aged and tired face. By lifting and visually rejuvenating the eyelids, the eyes and the face become more beautiful. Face lift True beauty knows no age. Nevertheless, many people want to stop the natural process of aging, or at least slow it down a bit. Our skin is subject to the normal aging process which leads to reduced elasticity and tightness of the subcutaneous muscular tissue. Wrinkles appear primarily in the face and neck area, and the skin becomes limp. All this can cause different changes to your appearance and make your face look tired. A person’s lifestyle can also leave marks: sunbathing, diet, smoking, alcohol etc. can accelerate the natural aging process of the skin. Further deepening of already deep wrinkles will not be stopped by anti-aging creams. Limp skin can be removed with a face lift, and the tissue can be tightened. If properly performed, a face lift can make your face look up to 8-12 years younger. The procedure is performed with special care to keep the mimic and features of the face intact, while maintaining the natural look. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. It is possible to tighten the skin of the entire upper part of the face and to lift the neck and cheeks. Targeted procedures can also be used to soften the deep wrinkles between the nose and in the corners of the mouth. Wounds that heal normally in most cases disappear within a few months. Two or three weeks after surgery, the patient can experience a tightening feeling on the skin, swelling and nausea. All undesirable side effects should disappear after that period, and the skin should be visibly tighter. The healing process can be accelerated with a lot of rest and by raising the head during sleep. Hair transplantation Loss of hair is a common problem faced especially by men, even in younger age. When hair loss significantly increases and the hair stops growing, the thinning of the hair becomes apparent. The emergence of bald areas in most cases affects a person’s self- confidence. The loss of hair is primarily influenced by genetic factors, but disease and accidents can also cause excessive and permanent hair loss. When the reasons for alopecia become clear, the therapy can be prescribed. It can include hormonal or medical treatment, or hair transplantation. The purpose of having the hair transplantation is to evenly distribute the hair across the scalp. The hair gains more volume, and the bald areas are covered. This procedure is performed on the outpatient basis under local anesthesia. About 14 days prior to the procedure, the patient should avoid alcohol and nicotine and stop using medications such as Aspirin.
  34. 34. The surgery begins with taking some hair from the area with a sufficient amount of hair (the donor site). Small follicular units (a group of hair that corresponds to natural groups of hair, about 15 hairs), a mini-graft (a group of about 2-4 hairs) or a micro-graft (a group of 1-2 hairs) is extracted from this area. The bald spots which need to be covered by hair (the recipient site) are prepared by puncturing small holes in the scalp. The hair is then ready to be transplanted. The wounds on the donor site are stitched and later form a permanent scar. A compression bandage should be worn for 1-2 days. For optimal results, the procedure needs to be repeated several times due to the fact that one procedure allows the transplant of a limited number of hair groups. Apart from the described method, follicular units can also be directly removed and transplanted. This method enables transplantation of bodily hair. A thin layer of skin forms after the transplant. The pain is usually localized and can be eliminated with an analgesic. Depending on the complexity of the procedure, the patient can engage in sports activities 2-3 weeks after the transplantation. In cases of a hair loss due to aging, the procedure can be repeated after a few years. Corrective jaw surgery The jaw plays an important part in the human daily eating process and verbal communication. An irregular positioning of the jaw can cause considerable difficulties in chewing, swallowing and speaking, which can have a negative effect on the quality of living. Long-term consequences include temporomandibular joint disorder which can be, among other things, caused by non-physiological straining of the teeth. Apart from these functional limitations, the off-centre positioning of the jaw is often seen as an aesthetic problem due to the fact that the upper and lower parts of the jaw have a crooked biting area and therefore attract attention. An inborn anomaly of the jaw, or an anomaly caused by an accident, can be corrected with orthodontic treatment, surgery, or, as is most often the case, a combination of these two methods. Lip correction Full, nicely shaped lips are considered sensual in most cultures, while thin lips do not correspond to contemporary ideals of beauty. The lips are often thin from birth, but they can also grow thin with age and lose their beauty. Furthermore, some women think that lips that are not ideally shaped blemish their beauty. To those who wish to have more nicely shaped or fuller lips, cosmetic surgery offers help in the form of lip correction and augmentation. This enables you to determine the shape and size of the new lips given to you by a cosmetic surgeon. Liposuction Obesity can cause not only psychological and social problems, but also health problems, because certain parts of the body, especially the ankles, suffer pressure from the excess weight. The removal of body fat, known in professional terms as liposuction, can bring you one step closer to the body of your dreams, regain your confidence and reduce the potential health problems. The results of liposuction can be especially promising for the localized “cushions” of fat in specific parts of the body such as hips, abdomen or chin. Nevertheless, one must bear in mind that liposuction is not an alternative for the weight loss achieved through sports, a proper and
  35. 35. healthy diet, and it is not a method to treat obesity. It simply enables the removal of specifically concentrated flab from certain parts of the body, giving it a more symmetrical shape. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a healthy diet and to stay in good shape through sports activities even after liposuction. Rhinoplasty/ Nose correction The nose is the central part of the face and therefore, an important feature, which means that its aesthetics in this respect is also important. Despite the fact that there are no perfectly symmetrical noses, due to cartilage or bone irregularities, it can be more intensely deformed: it can be too wide or too long, too protruded, crooked or too flat… Nose deformities, such as crookedness, can disrupt its basic functions: breathing and smelling. An irregularly shaped nose can be corrected. Rhinoplasty makes your nose proportional with your face and/or definitely improves the air circulation in the nasal part of the nose. Prior to the procedure, the nose is thoroughly examined and the patient’s wishes are discussed. Computer simulation is usually available and it helps the patient to visualize the results of the upcoming procedure. This is a low risk surgical procedure which is carried out, depending on the extent and complexity, under general or local anesthesia. After the procedure that lasts 1-2 hours, the patient stays in the hospital. In order to stabilize the new shape, the nose is placed into a mould for about 2 weeks. During this time, swelling of the nose and hematoma are possible, accompanied by mild pain. A patient is advised to rest during the first weeks following the procedure, and the swelling should disappear in that period. Sporting activities should be avoided. Skin correction The skin is the largest organ of the human body. Due to its exposure to outward influences, it is prone to accidents, environmental influences, and the signs of aging are more visible than on other organs. Cosmetic dermatology prevents or reduces permanent marks and scars on the skin, such as warts, acne, venous anomalies (venous angioma), scars, stretch marks, signs of aging… In most cases, the laser treatment or peeling will be sufficient to achieve cosmetic correction. This includes removal of the surface layer (or layers) of the skin affected by undesirable change. In the case of the laser treatment, the removal is achieved through vaporization using the laser beam. Different types of skin changes require different lasers. A chemical peel is the removal of a skin layer using different acids. In the mechanical peeling, the skin is peeled off using a rotating diamond or a small steel brush. Two weeks after the removal of the
  36. 36. skin, a scab will appear on the surface of the wound under which a new skin layer will form. This is usually rejuvenated and smooth skin with few, if any, markings of undesirable skin change. Laser and peeling treatments are usually performed on the outpatient basis. The type of anesthesia depends on the size of the area of the treated skin. The peeling treatment is usually performed several times. In order to avoid skin depigmentation after the treatment, sunbathing - natural or artificial - should always include high factor sun block for the next six months. After the treatment, the usual redness and swelling slowly disappear, and the scab falls off within 5-8 days. Scar removal Accidents, operations, acne and burns often leave scars. These scars are often located on visible parts of the body and diminish the overall appearance. Frequent consequences are low self-esteem and the need to cover these parts of the body. Apart from aesthetic problems, nerves can also weaken the vital functions: e.g. mobility of the joints reduces when the skin can no longer stretch over the joints due to the scars. Today, unwanted scars can be corrected with a laser treatment, peeling techniques or surgical procedures, while simultaneously renewing the coherent texture of the skin. Spider vein treatment Across the world, more than 50% of people over the age of 50 experience certain changes in the vein system, and about 15-25 % of all adults suffer from varicose veins. In most cases, part of these vein diseases cause cosmetic or aesthetic problems. Prominent varicose veins, however, are also very painful: they can cause drowsiness, heaviness or a tickling sensation in the legs. In some cases, these symptoms can greatly limit the daily activities of an individual. Without treatment, the problems with veins can lead to a blood disorder, vein inflammation and deadly blood clots. Apart from dermatology and surgery, phlebology, a branch of medicine devoted to the treatment of vein diseases, offers different cures for vein diseases and thus restores the patient’s quality of life. Sweat gland removal Sweating is normally a physiological mechanism for regulation of bodily temperature. However, the condition when the sweat glands become overactive and the person sweats copiously even when he/she is not physically active, under stress or exposed to high temperatures or similar conditions, is called hyperhidrosis (Latin term). The effects of excessive sweating can seriously disrupt daily life. When traditional medicines do not produce desirable results, the unpleasant sweat glands can be removed by a surgical procedure. The least invasive surgical procedure is called the suction curettage. It is performed on the outpatient basis under local anesthesia. The sweat glands are suctioned (a procedure similar to liposuction) and then smoothed to reduce the nerve supply. The benefits of this method are quick recovery and minimum scarring, but the percentage of repeated procedures is relatively high.
  37. 37. When the sweat glands are completely removed, which is a less common procedure, the skin is also removed, and the wounds are subsequently closed by stitching. After this procedure, healing of the wounds takes longer and it leaves visible scars. In severe cases, there is also the possibility of a surgical treatment of the sympathetic (vegetative) nervous system which is responsible for sweat gland activity. The procedure includes intensive post-surgical care and regular surveillance of the wounds. The process of recovery is different with each patient. Before and after the abovementioned procedure, you should avoid alcohol and nicotine and stop using anticoagulant medications. Thigh lift Our thighs play an important part in the perception of the body. Due to changes in weight, aging, gravity and even genetic predisposition, your thighs can lose their shape. The problems of a folded skin and hips that resemble “riding trousers” can be corrected with sporting activity and a balanced diet, and in more complex cases, with liposuction. However, the excess skin can only be removed by a surgical procedure, the so-called thigh lift, and different methods are available in that respect. Abdominal folds The basic characteristics of a beautiful abdomen are slenderness and tightness. Even when the size of the abdomen is reduced with sporting activities, diet or liposuction, the problems of excess skin which is limp or hangs like an apron remain. When there are significant oscillations in weight, e.g. during pregnancy, the skin partly loses the ability to return to its previous state. In this case, plastic surgery offers the tummy tuck treatment which removes excess skin and flattens the abdomen. This procedure includes a wide range of plastic or cosmetic surgical procedures and should be considered only when body activity or a healthy diet cannot produce further visual improvements. Eyebrow correction Our emotions - sadness, anger, laughter, happiness - leave marks on our face. Barely visible when we are 25, these marks deepen with time and can no longer be ignored. Wrinkles develop primarily because the facial skin is inextricably connected with subcutaneous facial muscles, and over the time, intense muscular activity reduces the tightness and elasticity of tissue, the amount of skin fat and connective tissue. The most frequently occurring wrinkles are the so-called “crow’s feet”, glabellar wrinkles and frown lines. Apart from other methods which provide visibly younger looking skin (face lift and laser therapy), correction of the eyebrows can also be done with products such as Botox or Xeomin, which contain an active ingredient botulinum toxin (BTX). This substance is used in small doses to avoid health risks, and is also very efficient. Botulinum toxin (BTX) is injected directly into the skin with a syringe to block the transmission of the substance that causes contractions of facial muscles. The aim is to visibly soften wrinkles. The treatment requires minimum effort from the patient, and complications are rare.
  38. 38. The first visible results can be expected within 2-5 days. Within 6 weeks, the lines are visibly softened and flattened, and the skin is smoother. This procedure does not aim at complete removal of all wrinkles, as this would turn the face into a mask, it rather seeks to make the skin visibly younger and to soften the wrinkles, while maintaining the natural look of the face. The toxin disintegrates inside the body and within 3-9 months, the contraction signals usually stop functioning so the procedure needs to be repeated. Eyebrow injections Development of facial wrinkles with age is quite normal. The reason for this is reduced elasticity of tissue and amount of skin fat, and the decay of the connective tissue. When wrinkles appear, aesthetic dermatology offers the possibility of anti-wrinkle injections with different tissue fillers which are injected into the wrinkles. The impact of age on the appearance is thus corrected on the individual basis. Depending on the filling material, the results can be temporary or permanent. Corporate Medical Treatment in Croatia Although the rate of inflation in the healthcare sector seems to have slowed down, the annual increase continues to exceed the overall inflation rate. Corporations are coming up with employee healthcare benefits strategies that would save on corporate medical treatment cost. In particular, they are concerned about the rising cost of business health insurance that comes with high premiums to cover surgical interventions and hospitalization expenses. Over the last few years, most employee health care providers have seen certain common issues such as cardiac stress, obesity and orthopedics, which are often very expensive. An alternative way to save cost on such things is to opt for corporate medical treatment abroad. Several companies facilitate global corporate medical treatment abroad and strike a perfect balance between high quality employee health care and lower cost. The traditional approaches to deal with increasing cost of employee healthcare, involved making employees more responsible for their health, transferring part of healthcare cost to employees and offering incentives to employees who opt to enroll in wellness programs, smoking cessation workshops, diabetes and asthma management etc. However, these approaches have done little to decrease costs and sometimes lead to discontented employees. Corporate medical treatment abroad provides an easy alternative to save cost on employee health care and keeps your employees happy. This is one of the main reasons why corporations are turning to global corporate medical treatment abroad or “medical tourism”. This not only helps them to save cost but also ensures that the employees are happy to enjoy some vacation time and experience world- class health care treatments. Croatia Medical Tourism provides global corporate medical treatment abroad. A typical corporate medical tourism plan would also accommodate a partner for the patient and would involve an option for vacationing before /after the treatment. Some companies also offer corporate medical treatment abroad with a possible cash back options for the employee provided from the savings on corporate health care.