Medical tourism refers to people traveling to a country other than their own to obtain medical treatment. In the past this usually referred to those who traveled from less-developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for treatment unavailable at home. However, in recent years medical tourism usually refers to those from developed countries who travel to third-world countries for lower priced medical treatments. although the traditional pattern continues. The motivation may at times be for medical services illegal in the home country, such as surrogate parentage.
Medical tourism most often is for surgeries (cosmetic or otherwise) or similar treatments, though people also travel for dental tourism or fertility tourism. People with rare genetic disorders may travel to countries where the treatment is better understood. However, almost all types of health care are available, including psychiatry, alternative medicine, convalescent care, and even burial services.
Depending on the destination they choose, medical tourists may be subject to a number of risks, such as deep vein thrombosis from air travel or poor post-operative care.
Health tourism is a wider term for travels that focus on medical treatments and the use of healthcare services. It covers a wide field of health-oriented, tourism ranging from preventive and health-conductive treatment to rehabilitational and curative forms of travel. Wellness tourism is a related field.