Sometimes, when a person has such severe arthritis that the knee joint is unable to function properly, the only answer is a total knee replacement. The procedure involves removing the entire knee joint and attaching an artificial, mostly metallic, knee joint where the damaged joint was.
After physical therapy, the new knee joint operates very effectively and the person’s pain is relieved. Total knee replacements can last for several decades before needing to be replaced again.
What are the Indications for the Replacement?
Anyone who has severe osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis and who has irreversible damage to the knee joint associated with pain and limping may be a candidate for total knee replacement. Your doctor will review your X-rays and examine you in order to decide if you’re a candidate for total knee replacement.
What are the Risks of the Procedure?
The risks of total knee replacement are the same risks as those of other major surgeries, including bleeding and infection. There is also a risk of blood clots forming in the legs that can travel to the lungs and be quite serious. This is why doctors have you get up soon after the procedure to get the blood flowing through the legs. Infection and bleeding can be managed both during and after the procedure. In most cases, there are no complications and the patient goes home after they have the ability to walk with a cane or walker and are well on their way to physical therapy.
What are the Risks?
The risks are no different from that of having the procedure in the US. Because the procedure is being done on high risk patients, the risk of death is around one to two percent. There is a risk of infection, of wound opening (called dehiscence), bleeding and prolonged healing time. The opening of the stomach can be too small, leading to vomiting and inability to eat solid foods. These risks are uncommon and happen no matter where you have your procedure.
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Why should I have my Knee Replacement Overseas?
If you happen to be uninsured, the costs of the knee replacement surgery are far less if you have it done overseas as compared to having it done in the US. Your total out of pocket expenses will be less. Even if you’re on Medicare, the costs aren’t covered a hundred percent and you may still end up with a reduced cost by going overseas. Consider the cost of the part of the surgery that isn’t covered by Medicare against the cost of the procedure, travel expenses for you and a partner overseas. Often, you will save money on this sort of procedure.
Where can I go to have a Total Knee Replacement Overseas?
India is a hotspot for total knee replacements at a significant cost reduction to those costs you’d find in the US or the UK. At least one hospital offers specialized knee replacements, such as the high flexion knee replacement, the Oxford knee, and gender-specific knee replacements. In some cases, bilateral knee replacements can be done so you won’t have to make two visits to India. Surgeons are often board certified in Orthopedics and have done hundreds of knee replacement procedures in the past. The cost of a total knee replacement is about $45,000 in the US but in India, the cost is only $7000. Choose a hospital that is accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI) and you’ll find a high quality hospital.
Knee replacement can be done closer to home at a private hospital in Tijuana, Mexico. This carries the advantage of not having to go far from home to have the procedure, which is far less costly than a similar procedure done in the US. Patients can stay at the hospital and at five star hotels close by.
For a more exotic location, you can travel to Singapore for your total knee replacement. Inpatient hospital costs run around $250 to $300 per day and the overall cost savings is in the range of fifty percent over US costs. The hospitals are clean and contain board certified specialists in orthopedics. The greatest cost is the flight to Singapore, which can be expensive.