Low-cost facilities, world-class expertise and almost no waiting list in Orthopaedic surgeries have made India the hub of medical tourism with more foreigners, needing joint replacements or affected with bone injuries, flocking to the country for treatment.
The market for orthopaedic implants has grown by five to six times in the last decade and a large portion of this growth has been driven by medical tourists from developed countries, as also from Africa and Middle East, experts say.
The cost factor, which is almost one twentieth of what it is in the western countries, is the primary motivator for foreigners, who want to avail "world-class" facilities at affordable prices, they say.
"There has been an evident change in the sector in the past few years with orthopedic implant surgeries becoming acceptable with greater number of Indians and the inflow of foreigners also going up considerably," said O N Nagi, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Ganga Ram hospital, Delhi.
Besides providing cost-effective treatments, Indian medical centres also cut down the painful procedure of waiting for their turn in countries where the sector is congested, said Dr. Nagi, who conducts 500 surgeries annually, 30-50 among them being for foreign patients.
"The last decade has seen the number of surgeries done, including those of foreign patients, go up by 5-6 per cent," he told PTI.
A knee surgery which costs $40,000 in America, can be availed at $8,000 in India, thus benefiting those opting for it even after adding up the travel costs.