SINCE ITS EMERGENCE as a sought-after service niche, medical tourism has become one of Brazil’s fastest-growing industries, a global role reflected in the sophistication of its physicians, surgeons and medical facilities. Particularly well-known for plastic surgery, Brazil ranks as one of the top five countries in the world for cosmetic procedures. Over the past several years, this South American country’s medical treatment offerings have expanded to include high-quality procedures encompassing cardiology, neurology, orthopedics, dental work, fertility treatments and diagnostic medicine.
Brazil boasts more than 60 hospitals and medical centers accredit- ed by the prestigious Joint Commission International — in fact, the celebrated Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo was the first medical center outside of the United States accredited by JCI. The majority of Brazil’s JCI-sanctioned facilities are located in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, while others can be found in Porto Alegre, Salvador da Bahia, Recife, Belém, Belo Horizonte and additional towns.
For the medical tourist, Brazil’s wide selection of large institutions and intimate, private hospitals means it’s possible to choose the type of setting that’s most personally appealing as well as a location that’s most conducive to relaxing before a therapy or for recuperation post-procedure. If being surrounded by a vibrant city sounds like the perfect way to accelerate recovery, medical treatments in Rio de Janeiro can later be followed by tours of the historic sites, visits to the beaches at Copacabana and Ipanema, or even timed to coincide with the music and pageantry of the city’s annual Carnival celebration.
Slightly less intense and filled with stunning examples of architecture, ranging from Colonial to neo-Gothic, São Paulo has a large concentration of top-ranked hospitals. And for an even more low-key experience, Porto Alegre is known for its parks and greenery. As the capital of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul near the border of Uruguay and Argentina, Porto Alegre also offers plenty in the way of culture and history.
Whether you think of scheduling a medical procedure as a side benefit to a vacation or the other way around, Brazil’s combination of quality care and gorgeous scenery proves a persuasive combination.
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