Orthopaedic surgery is the most popular medical procedure undertaken through medical travel, only after cosmetic/plastic surgery and dental treatments. Patients look for orthopaedic treatments primarily with the intent of saving expenses but are surprisingly met with a variety of other benefits associated with seeking such procedures outside their homeland. The sky-high cost of orthopaedic treatments in most developed nations makes medical tourism an ideal alternative for the patients to undergo such medical procedures at affordable prices.
The number of patients travelling abroad for orthopaedic surgeries has seen an upward trend in the past few years due to the increasing population of senior citizens. Surgical orthopaedics generally deal with treatment of chronic conditions such as various forms of arthritis in the hands, knees and back, repair of damaged or injured bone, muscular or neural tissues and numerous replacement surgeries.
Benefits Of Seeking Orthopaedic Surgeries Abroad
Travelling overseas is now an emerging trend among patients across the world in the lookout for affordable and quality medical services. There are a number of advantages associated with overseas orthopaedic treatments:
1. Financial Savings
Orthopaedic patients travel for the same reason as other medical tourists do – they want quality treatment at affordable prices coupled with the added benefit of recuperation in an exotic foreign destination. It has been seen that a patient seeking any orthopaedic procedure overseas is able to save as much as 75% of the total cost which he/she would have to pay in their homeland. For example, the cost of hip replacement surgery in the UK might range between 9,000-11,000 pounds and by opting to go for the same treatment in India, a patient could save around 5,000-6,000 pounds. Therefore, cost serves as a major factor driving patients abroad for the same.
4. Minimal Waiting Time
Hospitals abroad are free from the common trouble of long waiting lines of patients which becomes an incentive for patients especially in case of emergency treatments or surgical procedures.
2. State-Of-The-Art Facility
Another factor that weighs heavy when it comes to matters related to choice of destination or place for orthopaedic procedures is the availability of latest and most technologically advanced methods of treatment. For instance, the technique of Cyberknife robotic surgery used to diagnose and treat cancer and tomotherapy, the latest radiotherapy machine are a few state-of-the-art facilities offered by hospitals in South Korea, an emerging hub for medical tourists.
When seeking treatment overseas, medical tourists encounter numerous JCI-accredited health facilities offering top notch services and excellent environment for recuperation after a prolonged period of undergoing surgical operations. The hospitals are well equipped with the latest medical tools and technology and provide state-of-the-art facilities to patients who undergo surgical procedures here.
3. Well-Trained And Experienced Surgeons
Also, most doctors in top hospitals overseas dealing with orthopaedic surgeries have at many years of prior experience and most of these experienced surgeons acquired their training in the US.
5. Care And Comfort Comparable To US Standards
Most hospitals offer personal care and the staff there look after the comfort needs of patients personally. A warm and healthy recuperation environment is created to enable speedy recovery of patients who undergo orthopaedic treatments, since most of these surgeries are followed by a period of symptoms which take a couple of days or more to heal.
Certain treatments like a knee or hip replacement surgery, which involve introduction of a prosthetic implant, require the patient to be extra cautious and usually the surgeons recommend bed rest in such cases. Luxury accommodations are also made available and the services and amenities are comparable to, and in some cases, even better than US standards.
Popular Orthopaedic Treatments
Some of the popular orthopaedic services opted for by most patients are listed below:
Knee Replacement Surgery (Partial or Total) Or Knee Arthroplasty
In knee replacement surgery or knee arthroplasty, the diseased or painful part of the knee which bears our body weight is replaced by artificial plastic or metal parts. this is done in order to relieve the patient of the pain and to help him/her overcome the disability caused by the same.
It involves the removal of particles of bone or tissue cartilage which causes pain and restricts movement. Two incisions are made on either side of the knee; a tiny camera is inserted through one incision while a thin surgical instrument is inserted in the other. The process is minimally invasive and the method of arthroscopy reduces recovery time thereby increasing success rates.
Hip Replacement Surgery (Partial or Total)
A hip replacement surgery is performed when the hip joint becomes painful or affected with arthritis, thereby replacing it with a prosthetic implant. This is done using what is known as the minimally invasive technique.
Hip Joint Resurfacing Surgery
Hip resurfacing is surgical alternative to hip replacement. It requires highly skilled surgeons as his/her level of experience with the procedure is crucial for a successful outcome.
Also known as decompression surgery, this procedure involves removal of the lamina (a portion of the vertebral bone) to create a space, thus enlarging the area of the spinal canal. The purpose is to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
Shoulder Replacement Or Shoulder Arthroscopy
The shoulder joints which have been damaged or affected by disease are removed and replaced with a prosthesis.
In elbow surgery, the damaged portions of one’s elbow are removed and replaced with implants. The elbow remains swollen and tender for a few days after the surgery.
Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR)
This type of surgery is performed on the lower back (lumbar spine) or the neck (cervical spine). A painful disc is replaced by artificial discs made of metal or plastic, which act as shock absorbers in our backs.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction
This reconstructive surgery involves repairing the Anterior Cruciate Ligament. A surgical tissue graft is used for the purpose, which replaces the ACL (located in the knee) to restore its function after an injury.
Planning Your Trip
While choosing healthcare facilities abroad for orthopaedic surgeries, a medical tourist should make sure that the hospitals he/she is short listing for seeking treatments are accredited, well-renowned institutions. Also, one must ensure that the orthopaedic surgeons are certified, hold prior experience in the field and are skilled in the latest diagnostic as well as minimally invasive methods. Also, one must check the details about the surgery – cost of procedure, duration of surgery, time taken in recovery, etc. – and plan their trip accordingly.
One can see a rapid progress in the field of medicine and the visible advancement in standards of healthcare provided. An upward trend in orthopaedics is also seen as surgeries are now becoming less invasive day by day. The success rates have moved up with a reduction in the possible risks associated with this part of medical treatment.