Medical Tourism in Cyprus
Cyprus is developing as a centre for medical tourism. Find out about the hospitals qualified to perform necessary as well as elective procedures, and how to go about organising medical procedures in Cyprus...
Although travelling abroad for medical treatment has been practiced for many years, it is only recently that it has been given a name: medical tourism. The high cost and long waiting lists for medical treatment in many countries has led more people to seek medical care abroad.
Many of the medical services available in Cyprus are of a high standard and the island is becoming increasingly popular as a destination for medical tourism.
Readily Available Medical Procedures
As there are no medical schools in Cyprus, all doctors and surgeons study abroad and gain their experience at international institutions worldwide. As a result a wide range of information, knowledge and various techniques has been brought back.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
One of the most sought after procedures is assisted reproduction or IVF. Numerous couples seek treatment abroad as the waiting list in their home country is either too long or the cost too high. There are a number of fertility clinics on the island and the majority have experience with overseas patients.
It is important to have a clear understanding of the treatment suggested, the costs involved as well as the success rate. Also find out how long it is necessary to stay in Cyprus for each visit.
Cosmetic surgery is in high demand and Cyprus has a number of plastic surgeons. Check the surgeon's credentials and ask how many procedures they have carried out. Photographs of their previous work will allow the patient to have an idea of what to expect. It is imperative the surgeon understands what is wanted and listens to the requirements.
Liposuction is not an ideal procedure for everyone, and is suggested for patients with localised fat as they will benefit more and see better results. In some cases, it is better if the client loses weight before considering various cosmetic surgery options.
Note: A woman who has recently given birth should wait a year until her body has recovered before considering any plastic surgery procedures.
Cyprus has a number of surgeons who carry out procedures by laparoscopic intervention. This means less bleeding during surgery and it minimises the possibility of complications. Recovery is very quick - normally one night (or at most, two) in the private hospital - and patients are generally fit to return to their routine or fly back to their home country within the week.
Weight loss surgery
Weight loss surgery is in high demand as an increasing number of people suffer from obesity and the consequences of being overweight, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart malfunctions. It is important to discuss this surgery with a highly qualified professional who specialises in laparoscopic weight loss surgery. Like all surgeries, it is imperative the patient understands everything surrounding the procedure, from preparing for surgery to how life will be post-surgery.
Cyprus is very popular for dental procedures. The costs are far lower than in several other EU Member countries and there are a number of highly specialised dental professionals on the island.
The most frequently performed dental procedures are veneers or "smile makeover" and dental implants. More complex procedures such as maxillofacial treatments are also offered.
Cyprus is gaining a reputation for offering specialised procedures such as minimally invasive spinal surgery, cancer surgery and facial reconstruction. The low costs, highly experienced medical professionals and desirable Cyprus environment contribute to its increasing popularity.
Questions to Ask a Doctor, Specialist or Surgeon
Here are important questions to ask and points to consider when deciding to go for treatment or surgery overseas:
- Check the credentials, speciality and experience of the doctor, specialist or surgeon who will be performing the treatment or procedure
- Provide a complete medical history
- Enquire about possible risks and complications - all procedures carry an element of risk
- Discuss what to expect after the procedure
- Ensure that the correct pre-operative tests have been carried out prior to surgery
- Research the brand of any implant being used
Once it has been established which surgeon, facilitator or facility is to be used, it is important to receive a surgery plan which includes all appointments, tests and surgery details.
Discuss the terms and the method of payment, often a deposit is required with the balance settled on arrival in Cyprus. For most elective procedures, the surgeon or facility asks for the full amount to be settled prior to surgery. Some facilities accept payment by credit card (establish this at the beginning) otherwise payment is made by banker's cheque, cash, or money transfer, in the local currency, the Euro.
Accommodation and post-op
A facilitating company can arrange all accommodation needs and post-operative care. However if they wish, a patient can find their own accommodation through any travel company or online booking agency.
Post-op care should be discussed with the surgeon; make sure that it is well-understood what must take place after surgery and on return home.
Most procedures take place in the medical facility from which the specialist or doctor operates.
Most of the larger private medical facilities either have International Accreditation or are in the process of gaining it. Ask the surgeon, facility or facilitator which accreditation they have. This can be verified with the Cyprus Health Services Promotion Board which is a non-profit organisation (part of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry) whose members are private hospitals, clinics, surgeons, doctors and facilitators.
A professional medical coordinator knows which doctors are best qualified for certain procedures and which have experience at specific medical facilities. The coordinator acts as a liaison between the patient and the doctor and works for the patient to ensure they receive the best possible care with the most qualified medical practitioner.
Top doctors usually charge slightly more than others as they use more expensive medical products and equipment and are likely to use more advanced techniques.
Insurance must be discussed directly with the insurance provider. Medical insurance policies cover most general surgeries and some even cover treatment abroad.
Procedures such as cosmetic surgery, dentistry and other elective surgery are not covered by insurance. However a few insurance companies are working to offer insurance cover for people planning to go abroad for elective surgery. This is now in the final planning stage and should be made available during the first half of 2011.
Medical insurance for EU nationals
- The European Commision have more information for EU residents on receiving planned medical treatment in another EU country
- For information from the UK's NHS relevant to British residents receiving medical care in Cyprus