Medical tourism refers to the travel of people to another country for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment in that country. Traditionally, people would travel from less-developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for medical treatment that was unavailable in their own communities; the recent trend is for people to travel from developed countries to third-world countries for medical treatments because of cost consideration, though the traditional pattern still continues. Another reason for travel for medical treatment is that some treatments may not be legal in the home country, such as some fertility procedures.
Some people travel to obtain medical surgeries or other treatments. Some people go abroad for dental tourism or fertility tourism. People with rare genetic disorders may travel to another country where treatment of these conditions is better understood. However, virtually every type of health care, including psychiatry, alternative treatments, convalescent care and even burial services, is available.
Medical tourists are subject to a variety of risks, which may include deep vein thrombosis, tuberculosis, amoebic dysentery, paratyphoid, poor post-operative care, and others.
Health tourism is a wider term for travels that focus on medical treatments and the utilization of healthcare services. It spans a wide field of health-oriented tourism ranging from preventive and health-conductive to rehabilitation and curative forms of travel; the latter being commonly referred to as Medical tourism. Wellness tourism is another related field. On the occasion of the 9th National Conference on Health Economy held in Rostock/Germany in 2013, it has been defined as the branch of health and tourism economy that contributes to maintaining and restoring health and well-being in particular by using validated medical services