Knee Replacement Surgery
Affordable Knee Replacement Surgery is not always available in the U.S. especially if you do not have insurance or insurances with limited coverage and high deductibles.
Approximately 500,000 people a year get knee replacements in the US. Prices can vary depending on the procedure and care needed. But an example of a billing goes as follows:
- Artificial Knee $4500
- Radiology $500
- Nurses and technicians $600
- Surgeon $2400
- Anesthesia $1200
- Medical and operating supplies $600
- Operating room charges (which varies greatly) $2500
- Recovery room charge $700
- Hospital stay $11,000
- Brace and crutches $200 Grand total: $24200
If you are in a situation where you need a knee replacement, you most likely want it sooner rather than later so the wait times applicable in the US are also an issue. The sheer limitations in every day life make it an absolute must for some to seek a replacement. Lack of mobility and constant pain mean you will do anything to see it put right. So what do you do if you can’t afford a replacement at home or don‘t want to wait for one? There are so many things to take into consideration when considering leaving your home, family and country for a serious operation. For most, of course, the first is the price difference.
Prices vary depending on the country, but for knee replacement my research has seen differences of up to tens of thousands.
Country Price range (estimated)
Complete Replacement to Partial Replacement
U.S $35k to $17k
One thing that you will find no matter what you read is that the prices will always vary depending on the country and also the institution your are dealing with. Use what you find during your research as a guideline only and only assume you know what you will be paying when you have received a written quote. Less money doesn’t always mean less care or professionalism. A lot of surgeons abroad are trained in the US and just because they may not have been trained here doesn’t mean they are any less qualified or efficient as our resident surgeons. Get the name of your surgeon and research them, find out their credentials and compare them to that of your US alternative. Ask to speak to your care team and surgeon to familiarize yourself with them, the more comfortable you are with them the easier your procedure and recovery will be.
You should expect up to 7 to 10 days recovery time abroad before you would be cleared to travel. But again this varies and may be longer. When you travel your legs may swell and there is a risk of a blood clot (DVT) or pulmonary emboli. Will anticoagulants be given? Consider what will happen when you return home and what care will you need. Any surgery carries risks and things do go wrong no matter where you are but when you leave the US you leave yourself open to the possibility if something does go wrong you have nowhere to turn but home.
Make sure you have a solid after care team, physiotherapy is a must for knee replacements of course, ensure for the time you are there after your operation you receive everything you would if you were at home. Don’t skimp on aftercare, having a knee replacement is great but if you don’t work that knee correctly and it doesn’t heal correctly you leave yourself open to several other issues. Physical Therapy may be needed for weeks in some cases and so be aware of this added cost for when you get home.
Consider also what type of prostheses is used, if it is not easily sourced in the US or not FDA approved and in the future you require after care or replacement parts you may again have to travel to obtain care.
There is always a question of “What follow up will I need when I return home”?” Even with a well-functioning prosthesis ongoing care will be necessary. Wear and tear plus associated bone loss can develop over time. So have a clear plan in place for this and consider all additional costs.
No matter what the procedure ALWAYS weigh up the pros and cons before choosing a path.
The following video describes the procedure.