Undergoing weight loss surgery is the goal of many people who struggle with obesity on a daily basis. Unfortunately, due to high interest and demand for such procedures, as well as the limited capacity of the healthcare systems, the road from qualifying to actually getting the help you need can be long and full of complications.
It should not come as a surprise then that more and more people see clinics located abroad as a possible solution to their problems. Nowadays, travelling to other countries for medical treatments is so easy and affordable that it has led to the development of a specialized branch of tourism, called medical tourism.
What kind of benefits does this option offer? Is it safe to have surgery in another country? And what about prices? How much do procedures such as gastric bypass cost abroad?
Who Is Weight Loss Surgery For?
While the stereotypical perceptions often paint weight loss procedures as an easy way out without having to bother with dieting and exercising, in reality, such treatments offer patients help in battling obesity. It is a serious and chronic disease that can lead to severe health complications and have a huge, negative impact on everyday life when left untreated.
Losing weight is, therefore, not merely an aesthetic issue and offers many benefits, e.g., improved wellbeing and health, a confidence boost or increased physical fitness resulting from the reduction of excess kilograms.
It’s important to note that weight loss surgery is not available to everyone whose weight is above the norm. Patients are usually encouraged to try different weight reducing methods first before any type of surgical intervention is considered.
Only when such alternatives fail to bring satisfactory results or the patient’s health condition requires such a step, doctors will refer obese patients for bariatric surgery. Qualifying for weight loss surgery is possible when one of the following requirements is met:
- BMI of 40 or above,
- BMI between 35 and 40 for patients with obesity-related health conditions that can be alleviated due to weight loss.
Weight Loss Surgery Abroad – What Are the Benefits?
Going abroad for surgery doesn’t eliminate the need to meet the requirements listed above. It does, however, enable patients to skip the queue and significantly shorten the waiting time.
Of course, treatments in private clinics can get expensive, especially when compared to the possibility of undergoing a similar procedure free of charge within the public healthcare system. But given the fact that they often offer modern and cutting-edge technologies and methods unavailable or uncommon in public hospitals, choosing this option can help you achieve the desired effect so much quicker and more effectively.
Weight Loss Surgery on the NHS or Abroad? Basic Information You Need to Know
Many obese patients don’t realize that they don’t necessarily have to choose between undergoing their bariatric surgery on the NHS or paying for treatment abroad – there’s a third route available. British citizens and residents can be eligible to access medical care funded or reimbursed by the NHS within the EU and EEA countries under certain conditions, such as:
- bariatric patients can count on the NHS funding only if the type of surgery they plan on undergoing abroad would also be covered in their situation by the NHS when performed in the UK,
- in order to fall under the NHS coverage, any surgery carried out in another country has to be available within the state healthcare system of that country.
There are, of course, various other requirements and stipulations which regulate access to this solution, and the option of funding weight loss surgery abroad through the NHS will not be available to everyone, but it’s definitely something worth keeping in mind when considering different options of treatment.
5 Things to Consider Before Travelling Abroad for Weight Loss Surgery
- You should keep in mind that healthcare standards can vary between countries. That’s why the issue of safety should definitely be at the very top of the list of things to consider. This is the reason behind the popularity of countries located in the eastern part of the EU as a great destination for medical tourists. The cost of undergoing medical treatment there is relatively low, but the standards are equally high as in Western Europe.
- In this day and age, it’s not unusual to look for clinics and treatment options online, however, it’s important to realize that not all information provided by the clinic itself has to be accurate and factual. It’s always a good idea to thoroughly check all the details in various sources, read reviews posted by previous patients and make sure that the doctors have the necessary qualifications.
- While medical treatments abroad tend to be cheaper than those available in private clinics locally, they are still quite pricey. To avoid unpleasant surprises and complications, such as additional costs and unnecessary stress, during your trip, enquire about the exact extent of help and support you can count on within your chosen healthcare package.
- If you want to avoid unexpected costs and complications, you need to have a reliable health insurance policy in place when travelling abroad, especially when it’s for medical purposes. Basic coverage rarely includes planned treatment abroad, so it’s important to check such details with your insurer and buy additional insurance if necessary.
- Even though it may seem like a relatively minor problem compared to issues such as healthcare standards or insurance coverage, you should definitely make sure that a language barrier won’t be an issue when travelling abroad for surgery. The last thing you want is misunderstanding the doctor’s instructions or being unable to communicate properly with the medical staff taking care of you before and after surgery.
If you’re thinking about weight loss surgery abroad, make sure to pick a clinic capable of providing high quality and professional treatments, as well as pre-surgery and post-surgery care such as KCM Clinic in Poland.
Look for experienced doctors well-versed in the newest surgical techniques to get the best possible results, and never risk your health to save money. Investing in your own health is a long term investment that will bring you many benefits over the years!