Surgery (illustrative)
Surgery (illustrative)Israel news photo: Flash 90

Now you can tour Israel and at the same time get a knee replacement. Sounds unusual? Well, according to Eli Knoller of IsraMedica, tens of thousands of Americans have been flying overseas for medical treatments in a new trend referred to as medical tourism.

Knoller spoke on Israel National Radio's Jay Shapiro Show about the phenomenon. To download the mp3 click here.

"A patient with a pre-planned medical treatment need can have the procedure done abroad," Knoller stated. "There are excellent medical facilities in the United States as everyone knows, but tens of thousands of Americans choose to have medical treatment overseas because the savings are very significant."

Knoller quoted statistics indicating a high rate of Americans without health insurance, meaning that any type of medical procedure would be an out-of-pocket cost.

Knoller said that another reason for medical tourism is "patients and their spouses can easily combined the medical needs with a trip to a foreign country and then enjoy rest and relaxation following the procedure."

Knoller told Jay Shapiro Show  that in some cases surgery can cost up to 65 percent less then in the United States. Examples of such procedures were listed as gastric bypass, spinal fusion, knee replacement, cosmetic treatments, dental implants, vein treatments, and other medical procedures.

In addition to Israel's countless medical breakthroughs, Knoller cited several other reasons Israel is becoming a hot-spot for medical tourism. "For religious reasons, regardless of what religion, or for patriotic reasons, people want to come to Israel because they believe in the high quality of medical care and innovations as well as they unique experience of visiting the Holy Land."

Arutz Sheva staff writer Ben Bresky contributed to this report.

Jay Shapiro is the author of six books on Israeli politics, the Middle East, Judaism and aliyah. He is a columnist and frequently lectures in Israel and the United States. He was previously a physicist at a major Israeli firm and served as an aliyah shaliach for the Jewish Agency in America. His show has been on Israel National Radio since 1998. The Jay Shapiro Podcast airs every Sunday from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Israel time on Israel National Radio.