Medical Tourism In Costa Rica Part 1: Comparing Costs

This is a follow up to the overview we did on the health care system in Costa Rica, including Medical Tourism. As the first of a three part series, we compare the difference in costs of various medical procedures performed in the United States and Costa Rica.

The Costa Rica Team

Costa Rica`s health care system in ranked slightly higher than that of the U.S.

Costa Rica has a quality health care system that ranks among the top Latin American countries. The World Health Organization ranks Costa Rica’s health care system slightly above that of the U.S. This is the result of a large government investment in the health sector. The location is an ideal destination for medical tourists from the U.S. and Canada. English is spoken by the doctors, so a language barrier is not an issue. Finally, the family oriented culture of Costa Rica makes it a friendly place. Visitors can be assured of a warm welcome and top notch hospitality.

So how do costs compare and what kind of savings can you expect? The following chart compares costs for medical procedures in both countries, which includes the average savings.

Cost of Medical Treatment in Costa Rica

Medical Procedures
Procedure USA Costa Rica Average Savings
Heart Bypass Up to $130,000 $24,000 70-80%
Heart Valve Replacement Up to $160,000 $15,000 80-90%
Angioplasty Up to $57,000 $9,000 70-80%
Hip Replacement Up to $43,000 $12,000 60-70%
Hysterectomy Up to $20,000 $4,000 70-80%
Knee Replacement Up to $40,000 $11,000 60-70%
Spinal Fusion Up to $62,000 $25,000 50-60%
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Procedure USA Costa Rica Average Savings
Facelift $7,000-$9,000 $4,600 $5,000 30-40%
Rhinoplasty $8,000-$12,000 $3,500 $3,900 50-65%
Breast Lift $5,000-$8,000 $3,000 $3,400 40-55%
Breast Augmentation $5,000-$8,000 $2,700 $2,900 50-65%
Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery) $4,000-$5,500 $2,000 – $2,200 50-60%
Brazilian Butt Surgery Up to $10,000 $3,000 – $3,300 55-65%
Tummy Tuck $6,000-$8,500 $3,900 $4,200 45-50%
Facelift $7,000-$9,000 $4,600 $5,000 35-45%
Male Breast Reduction Up to $6,000 $2000 – $2600 50-60%
Bariatric Surgery
Procedure USA Costa Rica Average Savings
Laparoscopic Gastroplasty Up to $30,000 $10,500 55-65%
Laparoscopic Gastroplasty Up to $30,000 $10,500 55-65%
General and Cosmetic Dentistry
Procedure USA Costa Rica Average Savings
Bridges $1,000+ per tooth $250 $400 per tooth 60-70%
Crowns $1,000+ per tooth $250 – $400 per tooth 60-70%
Implants $3,500+ per tooth $700 $900 per tooth 70-80%
Porcelain Veneers $1,500+ per tooth $300 $500 per tooth 65-80%
Root canal Up to $800 $315 55-60%
Teeth whitening Up to $700 $250 55-65%

Medical Tourism Savings Summary

The largest savings are found in the first category including major medical procedures like a hip replacement, heart bypass, hysterectomy and angioplasty. You can expect a savings of between 50 – 90% for these procedures. The largest savings noted is for a heart valve replacement, which can cost up to $160,000 in the U.S. In Costa Rica, however, the same procedure costs as little as $16,000.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, savings range from 30% for a face lift to 65% for breast augmentation. An eyelid surgery that costs $4000 to $5500 in the United States can be accomplished for $2000 – $2200 here in Costa Rica. These are significant savings. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, growth in the area of cosmetic surgery increased 3% in 2016,

Finally, you can save 55 – 70% on cosmetic dentistry procedures. According to Toursim Review Online Magazine, the most common dental procedures in order of popularity are dental crowns, bridges, implants, root canal work and veneers.

The Costa Rica Team

Cosmetic Dentistry continues to surge in popularity in Costa Rica

Around 15 percent of international tourists come specifically to take advantage of Costa Rica`s medical services. Cosmetic surgery and dental care are the most popular. The nation is among the top five visited by Americans for medical treatment. Patiets Beyond Borders estimates that the worldwide medical tourism market is growing at a rate of 15 . 25%