Centre for the Advancement of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Room No. 502 CSC, 10240 Kingsway Avenue, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta T5H 3V9, Canada; University of Alberta, 2-590 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, 11405-87 Avenue NW, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 1C9, Canada.
Am J Surg. 2014 May;207(5):743-6; discussion 746-7
Medical tourists are defined as individuals who intentionally travel from their home province/country to receive medical care. Minimal literature exists on the cost of postoperative care and complications for medical tourists. The costs associated with these patients were reviewed.
Between February 2009 and June 2013, 62 patients were determined to be medical tourists. Patients were included if their initial surgery was performed between January 2003 and June 2013. A chart review was performed to identify intervention costs sustained upon their return.
Conservatively, the costs of length of stay (n = 657, $1,433,673.00), operative procedures (n = 110, $148,924.30), investigations (n = 700, $214,499.06), blood work (n = 357, $19,656.90), and health professionals' time (n = 76, $17,414.87) were summated to the total cost of $1.8 million CAD.
The absolute denominator of patients who go abroad for bariatric surgery is unknown. Despite this, a substantial cost is incurred because of medical tourism. Future investigations will analyze the cost effectiveness of bariatric surgery conducted abroad compared with local treatment.