Medical Tourism in Malaysia
Need a tummy tuck? How ‘bout a hip replacement, a face lift, a hair transplant. What about a boob job and removal of that ugly double chin, maybe some laser eye treatment, and wouldn’t you just love to have a new set of pearly whites?
Barry Matheson checks out the waiting rooms.....
“These days, everyone wants to look beautiful”, says Dr Suresh Nair, one of Malaysia’s top dental surgeons who runs the Pristine Dental Centre located in the Mid Valley-Megamall about 30 minutes from the centre of Kuala Lumpur.
I met Dr Nair on a visit to Malaysia to inspect the range of services being offered to “medical tourists”.
Health tourism is soaring in the friendly Muslin country which lagged behind Thailand in the field, but it has caught up and believes it’s now a ’cut above’ its neighbour.
A whopping 770,000 foreigners travelled to Malaysia last year from all over the world, including many from Australia in a bid to improve their looks and health at a fraction of the price they’d pay back home.
For example, one implant here costs around $2,000 versus over $5,000 in Australia.
“It’s much cheaper here, from 60% to 80% for most surgical procedures, especially dental work which is more than half the cost you’d pay in Australia”, according to Rubhen Nair Pradunmun from the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council.
He says the standard of care foreign patients receive is high quality with many of the doctors that work in the private hospitals having been trained and received their degrees from places such as Harvard and Oxford.
Dr Nair’s dental practice is impressive. On a tour of his facilities he showed me how it is now possible to have custom-made teeth designed to suit not only your face, age and gender, but your lifestyle and profession too.
“We can give you the ‘perfect smile’, boasts Dr Nair.
“We customise the smile according to the patients’ own features and character needs. If a patient shows us a photo of a smile that they’d like to have, we can reproduce the same effect on him or her”, he says.
Nair will even give you a ‘trial smile’ to see if you like it or not.
A dental technologist draws three sketches of possible smiles. Temporary veneers or crowns are created and placed in the mouth, so the patient can assess their look and request to modify the size, shape or colour of the teeth giving them the chance to select the best and most pleasing design.
The process takes about two weeks to complete and during the waiting period, you’re able to eat, drink and brush as usual with your trial teeth.
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At the Dentalpro Specialist Centre in the affluent KL suburb of Bangsar, they don’t use needles any more.
“We have needle-free injections”, says Rozita Talib, who runs the centre.
Their Comfort-In Soft Injection system delivers liquid medications with high pressure spring power which penetrates the skin and delivers the medicine into the body.
“No one likes needles, not even me, says Ms Talib, “and our method does away with needle phobia”.
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At KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital, it’s a one-stop-shop where they do everything from Reconstructive & Plastic Surgery to Orthopaedics, Acupuncture, Herbal Therapy, bad backs, slipped discs, even cancer treatment.
“We have a new machine, the Human Accelerator”, says Dr Darari Bin Masud. “It’s able to deliver highly precise radiation beams for the treatment of head, neck and many other forms of cancer and it treats tumours with great speed and accuracy”.
But what if there’s a problem such as a breast enlargement suddenly leaking?
“We can’t say all operations will be problem free, but we do have a 95% success rate”, notes Dr Omen George from KPJ Damansara Hospital”.
BEVERLY WILSHIRE MEDICAL CENTRE
No, it’s not the famous movie star hotel in Beverly Hills, but you’re sure to get the red carpet treatment at KLs Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre.
“Our wealthy owner liked the name of the Los Angeles hotel so much, he named his medical centre after it”, said Cheryl Chan, Senior Sales Manager – International for the swanky facility.
“People get a bit shocked when they see our centre, the second they enter they get the feeling of walking into the lobby of a fancy hotel”, she added.
Her centre specialises in cosmetic surgery, aesthetic medicine, healthy aging, Botox treatments, breast augmentation, you name it, and it’s all done by professionally licenced doctors.
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Just 15-minutes from KL is what’s been tagged “Asia’s most extraordinary hotel”, the opulent Golden Horses Health Sanctuary.
Rearing golden horse statues greet you at the entrance and the huge medical centre is more like a Hollywood movie-set.
Inspired by the beauty of Venice, it features Venice-style canals, a man-made cove and a golf course.
It’s equipped with state-of-the-art, cutting-edge technology and focuses on preventive and curative treatment, upholding its philosophy “prevention is always better than the cure”.
Patients can stay in one of the 472-tastefully furnished luxury guestrooms with King or Twin beds and dine on Malaysian and Western delicacies in the six food and beverage outlets.
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Here are some questions you should ask to ensure you have complete peace of mind before you seek medical treatment in Malaysia.
• Is this country and this medical facility the best choice for me
• Do they have the experience dealing with my condition
• What facilities do they have
• What do I know about the doctors and medical staff
• Number of similar cases treated successfully
• Costs and travel insurance cover
Medical experts suggest that after surgery, stay in Malaysia for up to a week and come back for a follow up in case of an infection.
Many combine their treatments with some R ‘n R, with visits to tropical islands such as Langkawi, or relax by the pool at a beautiful spa resort. And KL is a shopper’s and food lover’s paradise.
If you do stop over, the medical centres can arrange corporate rates at up to 50% off at 2, 3, 4 and 5-Star hotels. They’ll even provide complimentary airport transfers and limousine transfers from hotels to their surgeries.
A GRAND TIME
If you want to be close to the action in Kuala Lumpur, check out the Grand Millennium Hotel. Located in the heart of the CBD, the 468-room hotel is surrounded by shopping malls and restaurants serving excellent and inexpensive Malaysian cuisine.
General Manager Peter Gibbons says the hotel offers a wide range of well-equipped amenities and services such as free-form swimming pool, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, as well as a signature spa.
“We also offer baby-sitting services, free high-speed internet access, multi-lingual personnel, car rental, express laundry/dry cleaning, foreign currency exchange, and a hair and beauty salon.”
There is also an Executive Club on the 18th floor. Drop in for an evening glass of complimentary wine, beer or spirits and a nice selection of canapés and cheese.
Dining: The Mill Café has an excellent buffet and al la carte selection of tasty Mediterranean and Asian fare, prepared by French Executive Chef, Laurent Lherisson.
The average costs for rooms and suites range from AU$145-300 per night.
“Business and leisure travellers will enjoy the comforts of a real home in an oasis of tranquillity here,” added Mr Gibbons.
The author was a guest of the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council and Malaysian Tourism.
As with any medical or health care procedure, always consult your Health Care Professional.