Sigmoid volvulus is the leading cause of acute colonic obstructions in many countries worldwide. It occurs when a part of the colon twists around a fixed base causing absolute constipation and distention.
The definitive treatment for this condition is surgery, which requires advanced surgical skills and breakthrough surgical technologies. However, in some countries, there is a limited number of highly skilled gastroenterology surgeons and medical centres with experience in treating this condition. For patients in such countries, this translates to extremely costly medical services, prolonged waiting time, or substandard medical care.
Such gap in healthcare is adequately addressed by Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia, Southeast Asia's medical tourism hubs. These countries are home to a long list of hospitals that have gained global accreditations from various international organisations (e.g., Joint Commission International or JCI and International Standards Organisation or ISO) for their readiness to treat patients with complex conditions. In these countries, patients with sigmoid volvulus are offered various surgical procedures based on the extent of their condition. These include colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy and concomitant rectal tube placement, sigmoid resection with primary anastomosis, and the Hartmann procedure. These surgeries are performed by highly experienced surgeons using evidence-based methods that are backed by clinical success.
Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia are the forerunners in the field of global medical tourism, serving patients not just from other countries in Southeast Asia but also from as far as Western countries who require high quality medical care that is at par with Western standards. Despite charging just a fraction of medical fees charged in Western countries, globally-recognised hospitals in the region continuously invest heavily in their medical infrastructure and international training for their doctors and surgeons to uphold the standards set by international accrediting organisations.