When Chicago resident Mark Porter realized he needed an extensive and pricey amount of dental work, he didn’t hesitate. He booked a flight to Mexico. “I saved thousands of dollars on the procedures, and the savings basically paid for a wonderful vacation in Guadalajara,” he said.
Indeed, the idea of combining travel with medical and wellness procedures has become an increasingly appealing concept for many travelers. LGBTQ+ globetrotters are no exception, and they’ll find an array of welcoming options in a surprisingly diverse number of destinations.
The treatments available are equally varied — whether it’s dental work in Mexico, LGBTQ+-specific care services at A-P Medical Group in Las Vegas or more extensive surgical operations at facilities like Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok. A writeup in the San Francisco Bay Times, an LGBTQ+ newspaper and website, highlighted Bumrungrad’s gay-friendly services, ranging from behavioral health to allergy treatment and joint replacement.
Also promoting its LGBTQ+-friendly positioning, Clinic Center in Turkey serves a diverse clientele from around the world. According to clinic representatives, gay men are likely to visit for treatments that include Vaser high-definition liposuction, rhinoplasty, hair transplant and zirconium crowns, while lesbians often sign up for breast augmentation and liposuction. Transgender visitors often go to Clinic Center, meanwhile, for breast and facial surgeries.
Choosing an appropriate facility for any procedure requires research, of course, and this is even more important for LGBTQ+ travelers looking for a safe and welcoming environment. Earlier this year, two organizations — Medical Spheres and Spheres Media — announced the launch of Gay Health News, touted as the first global gay health support platform, providing information and resources about health and medical procedures on an international level.
Word of mouth and personal recommendations are also important. “I found my dentist in Guadalajara by asking around,” said Porter. “Nowadays it’s easy to make connections in cities where you don’t live. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking a hotel concierge or the owner of an Airbnb rental who their own dentist or doctor is. Getting good recommendations can help you feel more secure. I love traveling abroad, and the benefits of getting work done when traveling makes the trips even more worthwhile.”
While thousands of patients who planned to receive medical and dental procedures abroad canceled or postponed trips due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it is likely medical tourism will again thrive once travel returns.
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