Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is an advanced diagnostic procedure that assesses the overall state of the upper digestive tract. It is minimally invasive and can be used as an alternative to traditional exploratory surgery that involves making a long incision in the abdomen. Also referred to as esophagogastroduodenoscopy, it is typically performed by a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specialises in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of medical conditions that affect the digestive system. With this procedure, gastroenterologists can diagnose various medical conditions including varices, Barrett’s oesophagus, oesophagitis, hernia, ulcer, and even cancer. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy can be combined with ultrasound biopsy that aims to evaluate suspicious masses to confirm malignancy.
This combined procedure is widely available in Southeast Asian countries including Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia where various hospitals and dedicated gastroenterology clinics continuously invest in sophisticated technologies and the most advanced medical knowledge. These include Joint Commission International-accredited medical facilities including Mount Elizabeth Hospital, National University Hospital, and Changi General Hospital in Singapore.
Aside from advanced technology and world-class medical facilities, another reason why medical travellers should choose Southeast Asia as their medical destination is the region’s highly qualified gastroenterologists. Many of them received their specialist degrees and fellowship training abroad including the United States and United Kingdom.
Patients who are diagnosed with problems of the digestive system can also seek comprehensive treatment in Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. Many world-class hospitals in these countries offer affordable healthcare packages that include all medical services for the treatment of their condition. Some even offer value-added services, such as translation and transportation assistance, to make their journey as hassle-free as possible.
But perhaps, the biggest benefit that medical tourists can look forward to when they travel to Southeast Asia is cost-savings. This is because the majority of medical services, which range from diagnostics to palliative care (for patients with a terminal condition), are up to 75% cheaper when compared to standard medical and surgical fees in the United States and United Kingdom.