Would you Travel for Robotic Surgery?

International patients seeking medical expertise and treatment in the United States is a growing part of the U.S. healthcare landscape. In fact, inbound medical tourism is predicted to exceed half a million patient travelers by 2017, according to a Deloitte Center for Health Solutions Report. The highest percentage of those patients traveling for care are seeking oncology treatments.

Why travel for robotic surgery?

Unlike outbound medical tourism, inbound patients are typically not cost-driven. The quality of doctors and state-of-the-art technology in the United States attracts patients who are looking for the best possible medical care, regardless of expense. Many times, insurances are covering a portion of their international medical care.

When evaluating prostate cancer treatment options, there‚Äôs no need for men to be confined by the borders of their country. For many, a cancer-free life far outweighs the possible inconvenience of seeking treatment in the U.S.  Doctors such as myself, are providing international prostate cancer patients with access to the same opportunities for recovery and quality of life as those patients in the U.S.  Patients can be guided through all aspects of their United States prostate cancer surgery, from travel arrangements to family care to recovery, helping to reduce the complexity of such endeavors. Patients can often find an instant support system for both themselves and their families as they face life-saving surgery in the U.S.

What are the advantages of choosing skill and experience over convenience?

It is important for other U.S. medical specialists to recognize their roles in world healthcare. Patients are coming here because they are looking for the best possible medical care. The doctors and surgeons in their countries may have access to new technology, but may not yet have the case experience of U.S. doctors. That is something I, and we, can offer them.  While many now have the equipment to perform robotic prostatectomy surgery, they simply have not had the patient volume, and therefore level of experience.  American outcome statistics are not necessarily statistics that patients in other countries, with less experienced surgeons, may find. Prostate cancer patients deserve treatment options that are timely and medically advanced.

Looking Towards the Future

In this era of global healthcare, patients often travel to the United States to receive the expert medical care with the most advanced technology.  Robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) is still a young science and uncommon surgical procedures in other countries.  When you compare surgical outcomes between domestic and international patients and examine challenges that international patients face in getting RALP, their medical trip are justified.