Medical Tourism to Malaysia

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Malaysia is one the fastest emerging destinations for medical tourism in Asia, mainly catering for Asian health travelers.

According to the Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM), the majority of Malaysia's medical tourists come from Indonesia mainly due to the superior quality of healthcare that Malaysia offers. The same reason draws health travelers from other Asian countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Patients from richer Asian countries like Singapore and Japan, (which are the second and third highest origins of medical travelers respectively), visit Malaysia due to the lower prices of medical procedures.

Australians and people from the European Union are attracted to the lower cost of medical procedures in Malaysia, whilst Middle Eastern medical travelers visit Malaysia for both the price and the quality of healthcare provided.

The Healthcare System in Malaysia

The majority of hospitals offering services to medical tourists are privately owned institutions following internationally recognized standards in healthcare.

Currently, there are at least 35 hospitals in Malaysia that are being geared towards medical tourism. All are accredited locally by the Malaysian Medical Society for Quality of Health (MSQH) and are licensed by the Malaysian Ministry of Health. Most of these hospitals are accredited by international bodies including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Joint Commissions International (JCI) among others, making them on par with medical institutions in western countries.

Doctors and staff practicing at Malaysian international hospitals are English-speaking and internationally trained. Over 90 percent of these doctors were trained in the UK, USA or Australia, and in some cases are involved in international medical research.

Top Hospitals in Malaysia for Medical Tourism

  • Penang Adventist Hospital
    Jalan Burma, Malaysia
    First accredited by the JCI on November 2007. Established in 1924, this non-profit hospital is fully owned and controlled by a Malaysian company and has grown since then as a tertiary healthcare institution using up-to-date medical equipment and procedures.
  • Twin Towers Medical Center
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur is the in-house medical facility situated in the Petronas Twin Tower complex. This medical center is the largest outpatient polyclinic in Malaysia's premiere commercial center, catering to both local and international patients.
  • Institute Jantung Negara National Heart Institute
    Also known as IJN, it is the leading heart institution in Malaysia offering advanced cardiovascular and thoracic health services to both adult and pediatric patients, working in conjunction with leading international medical organizations and using the latest techniques in heart care.
  • Prince Court Medical Center
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    First accredited by the JCI on December 2008. Privately owned by Petronas, the hospital boasts of a 300-bed state-of-the art medical center offering various healthcare services including cardiology, plastic surgery and wellness treatments.
  • International Specialist Eye Center (ISEC)
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    First accredited by the JCI on February 2009. An ambulatory surgical center or ASC, ISEC is Malaysia's premiere center for ophthalmology and eye care.
  • Browse our list of hospitals in Malaysia >>.

Common Treatments done by Medical Tourists in Malaysia

Hospitals and healthcare facilities in Malaysia offer a wide array of procedures and services for medical travelers, which include but are not limited to the following:

Cost of Medical Treatment in Malaysia

The following are cost comparisons between Medical procedures in Malaysia and equivalent procedures in the UK and the United States:

Cost comparison with the UK [source]

General and Cosmetic Dentistry
Procedure UK Hospitals Malaysia Average Savings
Face Lift (rhytidectomy) $11,000 - $12,000 $2,500 - $3,500 70% - 77%
Breast Augmentation (Mammoplasty) $7,000 - $8,000 $3,000 - $4,000 50% - 57%
Breast Reduction $8,000 - $9,000 $3,000 - $4,000 55% - 63%
Breast Lift $2,000 - $3,000 $900 - $1,000 55% - 67%
Tummy Tuck $6,000 - $7,000 $2,000 - $2,500 64% - 67%
Liposuction (lipoplasty) $5,000 - $6,000 $2,000 - $3.000 50% - 60%
Nose Surgery (Rhinoplasty) $5,500 - $6,500 $2,000 - $2,500 61% - 64%
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Procedure UK Hospitals Malaysia Average Savings
Porcelain Bonded Crowns $950 - $1,000 $150 - $200 80% - 84%
Root Canal (per canal) $300 - $400 $200 - $250 33% - 38%
Cost comparison with the USA [source]

Medical Procedures
Procedure US Hospitals Malaysia Average Savings
Angioplasty $55,000 - $57,000 $7,500 - $8,500 80% - 86%
Heart Bypass $120,000 - $130,000 $11,500 - $12,500 90% - 91%
Heart-valve Replacement $150,000 - $160,000 $14,500 - $15,500 90% - 91%
Hip Replacement $41,000 - $43,000 $9,500 - $10,500 75% - 77%
Hysterectomy $18,000 - $20,000 $3,500 - $4,500 77% - 81%
Knee Replacement $38,000 - $40,000 $7,500 - $8,500 78% - 80%
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Procedure US Hospitals Malaysia Average Savings
Face Lift (rhytidectomy) $7,000 - $9,000 $2,500 - $3,500 61% - 64%
Breast Augmentation (Mammoplasty) $5,000 - $8,000 $3,000 - $4,000 40% - 50%
Breast Reduction $4,000 - $6,000 $3,000 - $4,000 25% - 33%
Complete Liposuction (lipoplasty) $4,000 - $6,500 $2,000 - $3.000 50% - 53%
Nose Surgery (Rhinoplasty) $5,500 - $6,500 $2,000 - $2,500 61% - 63%
General and Cosmetic Dentistry
Procedure US Hospitals Malaysia Average Savings
Root Canal $600 - $1,000 $200 - $250 67% - 75%
Porcelain Crown $600 - $1,000 $150 - $200 75% - 80%

Malpractice and Liability Laws in Malaysia

Statistics from 2004 have indicated that at least 50 percent of private medical practitioners in Malaysia had no medical indemnity cover, although the Ministry of Health in Malaysia have declared an increasing trend in the amount of compensation paid by the Malaysian government for liability cases since the year 2000. At present, the Malaysian government follows the Tort system for the control and regulation of litigation cases due to medical malpractice of negligence, wherein compensation is paid only for proven negligent cases.

Pros

  • Medical facilities

    State-of-the art medical, healthcare and diagnostic facilities
  • Prices

    Competitive prices for medical procedures and treatments
  • Language

    English-speaking, highly trained and qualified medical specialists and staff
  • Quality standards

    Strict adherence to internationally recognized quality medical standards
  • Tourism infrastructure

    Affordable accommodation and a favorable tourism destination, suitable for post-surgery recovery

Cons

  • Safety concerns

    Terrorist activities and kidnapping of tourists are still primary concerns, particularly in certain areas of the country that are geared toward Western visitors and tourists

Traveling to Malaysia

There are six international airports in Malaysia catering for more than 35 international carriers from all around the world. This makes Malaysia very accessible from neighboring Asian countries as well as from outside the continent.
Average estimated travel time in hours
From/To Malaysia
New York City 20
Los Angeles 19
London 12
Singapore 1
Jakarta 2
Dubai 7
Riyadh 7
Bangladesh 3
Pakistan 5
Tokyo 6.5
Sydney 8

Entry and Exit Requirements to Malaysia

There are various visa requirements to Malaysia depending on the country of origin. Length of stay is typically 1 to 3 months; however extensions may be available upon request to the Malaysian High Commission.
The following is a brief summary of visa requirements from prominent nations where most medical tourists are arriving from (October 2009):
  • No Visa Requirements:
    • UK and British Commonwealth / protected countries
    • United States of America
    • Switzerland
    • Netherlands
  • No Visa Requirements depending on maximum length of stay:
    • 3 months maximum:
      Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bosnia Herzegovina, Chile, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Norway, Oman, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Slovakia, Tunisia, Turkey, U.A.E., Uruguay, and Yemen.
    • 1 month maximum:
      Asian Countries, Hong Kong, Macau, British National Overseas and North Korea
    • 14 days maximum:
      Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Macau (travel permit) and Portugal Alien Passport.
  • Needs Malaysian Visa for a stay exceeding one month:
    • Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines
  • Needs Malaysian Visa for Entry
    • Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo Republic, Cote D'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Western Sahara, Taiwan
  • Special Approval Required
    • Citizens of Israel and Yugoslavia

Statistics of Medical Tourism in Malaysia

The amount of medical tourists to Malaysia in 2007 has tripled since 2003, with figures already reaching more than 282,000 for the first nine months of 2008 alone, which is 16 percent higher than in 2007. The 2007 figures indicate Indonesia at the top of the list and accounting for 72 percent of foreign patients to Malaysia, followed by 10 percent from Singapore and another 5 percent from Japan.
HealthCare Patients Visiting Malaysia according to the Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM):
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
102,946 174,189 232,161 296,687 341,288

Malaysia Medical Tourism Patients by Country of Origin (Year: 2007)
Indonesia Singapore Japan India Europe Others
72% 10% 5% 4% 3% 6%
Hospitals in Malaysia