Medical Tourism Destinations - Singapore

Overview of Singapore

Singapore is a small island city-nation that sits at the Southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, and has a bit of an East-meets-West feel to it. One of the first things you’ll notice about Singapore is its obsessive cleanliness—if you are a bit tired of the grime and frenetic pace of travel in other Southeast Asian countries, Singapore will be a welcome change. Singapore has a tropical climate, so it is hot and humid year-round, but it tends to feel less sticky and oppressive than some of its neighbors. Singapore also tends to cool off at night to make for comfortable outdoor dining, strolling and sleeping conditions.

Pool in Singapore

Overview of Medical Tourism in Singapore

The primary reason why some people travel to other countries is to receive medical treatment or undergo procedures that are not offered at all in their home country or is only available in a few areas. In Singapore, two medical treatments in particular are offered on a wider scale than in other countries. These are hip resurfacing and treatment involving the use of stem cells.

Hip resurfacing is a process whereby the hip bone surfaces are shaved or otherwise repaired so that a small covering of metal, with only a small appendage reaching into the leg bone, can be applied. There is no cutting of either the hip or leg bone required. Recovery time is said to be shorter with this procedure, and the hip function is considered to be in a more normal range than if a total hip replacement had been performed.

Hip resurfacing is performed in the United States; however, only a few doctors are offering this procedure as an alternative to total hip replacement at this time. In Singapore, the opposite is true. Hip resurfacing is almost exclusively performed, and the same procedure can be repeated if necessary, with still no decisive loss of bone.

Treatment with stem cells is a controversial health topic in many countries, so much so that it is not even allowed in any form in some countries. Other countries may allow certain procedures, but still place high restrictions on stem cell treatment.

Singapore, however, provides stem cell treatment for patients who have severe heart failure in the form of using stem cells taken from a patient’s own blood. The cells then undergo a unique processing technique before being returned to the patient’s heart via injection into the heart muscle itself or into the blood vessels surrounding the heart through the insertion of a heart catheter.

There are only five physicians in the world who are trained in this procedure. The five are located in either Singapore or Thailand. These physicians consider the treatment a success. A patient who desires to undergo stem cell treatment may choose to take a medical tourism trip to Singapore in order to receive this treatment.

A person who is considering health travel to Singapore should be aware that medical facilities, doctors, and hospitals do not as a general rule recognize foreign insurance coverage. Payment is almost always expected to be rendered immediately, and only in the form of cash or credit card.

Travel Tips for Singapore

Singapore is a small island city-nation that sits at the Southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, and has a bit of an East-meets-West feel to it. One of the first things you’ll notice about Singapore is its obsessive cleanliness—if you are a bit tired of the grime and frenetic pace of travel in other Southeast Asian countries, Singapore will be a welcome change. Singapore has a tropical climate, so it is hot and humid year-round, but it tends to feel less sticky and oppressive than some of its neighbors. Singapore also tends to cool off at night to make for comfortable outdoor dining, strolling and sleeping conditions.

Singapore City

Singapore has four recognized official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese and Tamil, making it an easy place to travel and get around. English is the first official language and is spoken by most residents. The local currency is the Singapore dollar, with denominations similar to that of the U.S. dollar. Singapore is slightly more expensive than other Southeast Asian countries, but is much less expensive than its Western counterparts—so your money goes a long way here. Getting into Singapore is not a problem, most Western nationalities do not need to obtain a visa prior to arrival, and are granted an initial two-week stay. A month stay is usually granted if requested upon entry. Depending on your nationality, Singapore requires that you have at least six months remaining on your passport to be granted entry into the country.

Singapore is an absolute shoppers paradise! Pristine sky-scraper malls populate the commercial downtown area, while markets and street sellers dominate the ethnically diverse neighborhoods. Bargaining or haggling over the price of your purchase is a must when shopping at the markets—and much like in the markets in other parts of Asia, you will rarely see a price marked on any item. However, when shopping in the Western style malls, the shopping experience is, a bit more, well, Western. Most items will have a price marked—but if an item is not marked with a price, take this as an open invitation to bargain. Most Westerners are uncomfortable with haggling over the price of something—we just want to know how much something is so we can acquire our purchase. But for most societies around the world, including Asian societies like Singapore, haggling is a form of socializing and entertainment--and some bored merchants will want to drag on the exchange to liven up their otherwise monotonous day.

Singapore doesn’t have grand tourist attractions the way many other cities do, but there are many things to do and see. The best way to get a sense for Singapore is to explore the various neighborhood and business districts. Raffles Place is the business and trading center of the city, and situated on the Singapore River. A good way to take in the river and this portion of the city is to take a tourist boat ride or even just a water taxi to take in the sights. There is the pulsing Chinatown section of town, which is a must-stop place for meal, and there is an old British colonial section of town that gives you a sense of another time in history, and also are where the Parliament House, Supreme Court and City Hall continue to be housed. There are large populations of immigrants from India and the Arabian Peninsula, and accordingly there is a Little India section of town, as well as an Arab section of town, simply called Arab Street. Orchard Road is the Western Style shoppers heaven, but even if shopping isn’t your thing, this is a good place to ogle some of the largest shopping malls and department stores in the world.

Sources: travel.state.gov

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