Cochlear implants and medical tourism

Brian J. McKinnon, Nishant Bhatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare the costs of medical tourism in cochlear implant surgery performed in India as compared to the United States. In addition, the cost savings of obtaining cochlear implant surgery in India were compare d to those of other surgical interventions obtained as a medical tourist. Methods: Searches were conducted on Medline and Google using the search terms: 'medical tourism', 'medical offshoring', 'medical outsourcing', 'cochlear implants' and 'cochlear implantation'. The information regarding cost of medical treatment was obtained from personal communication with individuals familiar with India's cochlear implantation medical tourism industry. Results: The range of cost depended on length of stay as well as the device chosen. Generally the cost, inclusive of travel, surgery and device, was in the range of $21,000-30,000, as compared to a cost range of $40,000-$60, 000 in the US. Conclusion: With the escalating cost of healthcare in the United States, it is not surprising that some patients would seek to obtain surgical care overseas at a fraction of the cost. Participants in medical tourism often have financial resources, but lack health insurance coverage. While cardiovascular and orthopedic surgery performed outside the United States in India at centers that cater to medical tourists are often performed at one-quarter to one-third of the cost that would have been paid in the United States, the cost differential for cochlear implants is not nearly as favorable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-132
Number of pages8
JournalCochlear Implants International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • India
  • access to care
  • cochlear implantation
  • cochlear implants
  • health care costs
  • medical tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Speech and Hearing


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