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Most common overseas medical procedures eases

BUPA International logo

The world's largest expatriate health insurer, with almost 800,000 customers in 190 countries, has analysed the most common procedures worldwide to find that caesarean sections and CT scans top the list of expat operations across Africa, North America and the Middle East. Removal of moles and skin lesions have in the past been common across most regions of the world but now have become rare, however, in Europe diagnostic tests - such as colonoscopies and gastrocopies - stand out as the most frequent procedures undertaken by expats.

 

Bupa International's data also shows that:

  • Expats in Africa have more operations to remove their appendix than those in any other region of the world.
  • MRI scans feature in the top three procedures in Central and South America and Africa.
  • There were no cases of primary repair to inguinal hernia in most regions of the world; in fact, operations to remove a hernia were only present as a top procedure in North and Central/South America.
  • Asia is the only region to have seen a rise in laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gall bladder) where as Central and South America is the only region to have seen a decline in the procedure.

 

Dr. Torben Staher Johannsen, medical director Bupa International, says: "Expats have common healthcare needs wherever they are in the world and health insurance plays a vital role in providing them with rapid access to high quality medical facilities, no matter which country they are in when they require diagnosis or treatment. Caesarean sections and CT scans dominate the list because they represent health procedures that transcend regional boundaries and are relevant anywhere in the world. It is interesting to see diagnostic tests such as colonoscopies on the rise in Europe, which is a sign that these tests are becoming more mainstream.  This can only be a good thing - after all the sooner health problems are diagnosed, the better the chance of someone being treated successfully."

Bupa International recently announced that it now provides cover not just for the diagnosis of chronic diseases but also to control them.

Top three procedures claimed for by Bupa International members according to region.

 

Region

Most common procedure

Second most common procedure

Third most common procedure

Africa

CT scan

Caesarean section

MRI scan

Asia

CT scan

Caesarean section

Diagnostic colonoscopy

Central/south America

CT scan

Caesarean section

MRI scan

Europe

Diagnostic colonoscopy

CT scan

Diagnostic gastroscopy

Middle East

CT scan

Caesarean section

Diagnostic colonoscopy

North America

Caesarean section

CT scan

Diagnostic gastroscopy

 

*Glossary of terms

 

CT scan: A CT (computerised tomography) scan is a type of X-ray which sends out several X-ray beams simultaneously from different angles instead of taking just one picture of a part of the body.

 

MRI scan: Magnetic resonance imaging uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the inside of your body.

 

Caesarean section (c-section): Delivery of a baby through a cut in the abdomen and womb.

Hernia: An inguinal hernia is a lump in the groin that occurs when part of the intestine pushes through a weak area in the muscles of the abdominal wall.

 

Colonoscopy: A colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look inside your large bowel, using a narrow, flexible, tube-like telescope called a colonoscope. Your large bowel includes your colon and rectum.

 

Gastroscopy: A gastroscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look inside your food-pipe (oesophagus), stomach and the first part of the small intestine.

 

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy: Removal of the gall bladder by minimally invasive surgery. This is sometimes called keyhole surgery.

 

Lesion: A lesion is an abnormal area of tissue.

 

Diagnostic procedure: A method used to identify a disease.

 

International health insurance: News update: June 2008

 

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