Panama has become a popular destination for medical and dental treatments where foreigners can obtain major and elective medical and dental surgery for a fraction of what it would cost at home.
The U.S. presence in Panama from 1904 to end the end of 1999 created opportunities for Panamanians to be educated and trained in U.S. medical schools and famous clinics. Many U.S. dentists and medical doctors who worked at the U.S. controlled Panama Canal Zone and in U.S. military hospitals remained in Panama to become citizens in order to continue their professions. As a result of the U.S. influence, many medical doctors and dentists speak fluent English.
Panama is unique amongst all of the Central and Latin American countries because of the number of U.S. trained doctors and dentists.
Because Panama’s wages are much lower than in Canada, Europe, and the U.S., the fees charged by doctors and hospitals are reduced.
Medical tourism agencies report that the costs for typical dental and medical surgeries and hospitalization are 1/4 to 1/3 than in the U.S. and Europe. The waiting time to set up surgeries is vastly shorter than in Canada.
Typical costs in Panama compared to the U.S. include:
• Facelift costs $2,500 in Panama compared to a minimum of $10,500 in the U.S.
• Breast lift costs $1,500 to $3,000 in Panama compared to $4,000 to $9,000 in the U.S.
• Glaucoma (per eye) costs $2,500 in Panama compared to $4,800 to $7,500 in the U.S.
• Hip replacement costs $5,500 in Panama compared to $33,000 to $57,000 in the U.S.
World Class Hospitals in Panama
1. Hospital Punta Pacifica
This is the only hospital in Latin America which is affiliated with the world famous Johns Hopkins Medical Center of Baltimore, Maryland. Hospital Punta Pacifica was established in 2006 and is located in a wealthy neighborhood in Panama City and has 101 beds with 52 private rooms and over 350 English speaking doctors and staff. All staff members take English classes. The departments include: cardiology, urology, orthopedics, endoscopy, gastroenterology, pediatrics, dermatology, neurology, gynecology & obstetrics, oncology, chemotherapy, and physiotherapy.
2. Hospital Nacional
This 80 bed private hospital is currently expanding to double its size. It is managed by the American Hospital Management Company which is affiliated with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Kendall Medical Center in Florida.
Although it opened in the 1970’s, this is a very modern hospital. The departments include: Medical Imaging (MRI, ultrasound, x-ray, fluoroscopy, and nuclear medicine), endoscopy, mammography, angiography, bone densitometry, cardiologic exams (EKG, Holter monitor, stress tests and echocardiography), physical therapy, and hemodialysis.
3. Hospital San Fernando
This hospital has been operating since 1949 and has 159 beds. Departments include gynecology, radiology and diagnostic imaging, obstetrics, cardiology, oncology, respiratory medicine & allergies, urology, and nuclear medicine.
Specialties include general surgery, orthopedics, LASIK eye surgery, hip and knee replacements, gallbladder removal, gastric bypass or LAP-BAND surgery.
Hospital San Fernando is affiliated with the Miami Children’s Hospital, and Tulane University.
Most of the doctors speak English and their International Affairs Office staff speak English offering 24/7 bilingual service assistance with airfare and hotel reservations along with verifying benefits from insurance companies based worldwide and even coordinating sightseeing tours through a local tour company.
4. Centro Medico Paitilla
Centro Medico Paitilla is a 166 bed private hospital which was founded in 1975. The hospital is affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic of Ohio, as well as, being an American Heart Association training facility.
When the U.S. military bases were operating in Panama this hospital was only one of two authorized hospitals providing medical services for U.S. military personnel and their families.
Departments include: pediatrics, obstetrics & gynecology, oncology, vascular surgery, cardiology, neurology, and orthopedics. Their most frequent procedures include orthopedic prostheses, open-heart surgery, and cardiac catheterization.