Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a medical problem that affects the lower part of the esophagus or the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). LES is a ring of muscle responsible for keeping the contents of the stomach from flowing back into the esophagus. When this muscle weakens, the stomach acids leak back into the esophagus resulting in various symptoms including heartburn, bad breath, chest pain, vomiting, and teeth problems. People with GERD may also find it hard to breathe.
As advanced and comprehensive GERD treatment is not widely available in developing nations and extremely expensive in Western countries, many patients consider medical tourism. Some of the highly recommended medical tourism destinations are Southeast Asian countries, namely Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. These countries are known for their advanced medical technologies and infrastructure.
For a person with GERD, many hospitals in Southeast Asia offer an advanced surgical procedure called Nissen fundoplasty or fundoplication, which is not yet available in many countries. The procedure is now also performed in a minimally invasive way, a method that minimises blood loss and surgical risks such as infection. This procedure is performed using the same technology and methods being used in Western countries but not as expensive. In fact, it is up to 75% cheaper in Southeast Asia when compared to the US or the UK.
Although the cost of its healthcare is very affordable, the quality of medical care in the region is on par with Western countries. For one, Singapore is a first world country that has one of the best healthcare systems in the world while Thailand and Malaysia are home to several Joint Commission International (JCI)-accredited medical facilities that are certified to provide world-class medical services. These hospitals feature cutting-edge medical facilities and staffed by skilled nurses and internationally trained doctors and specialists.