Spinal Fusion Surgery in South Africa

The beginning of the last decade had witnessed more than 500,000 spinal fusions carried out in major healthcare facilities worldwide. Over the years, the number has kept on increasing. This is because, with every passing day and changing lifestyle, more and more number of spinal abnormalities are being reported. The procedure is implemented when any affected region in the spine fails to heal or recover naturally. In such cases, fusion surgeries are performed to help the spine heal artificially. In general, spinal fusion surgery cost may vary from $15,000 to $27,000 and may even exceed depending on a number of other factors. 

What is Spinal Fusion Surgery?

Spinal fusion surgery is performed to reduce friction or unruly motion of the affected or injured spine, which causes immense pain and suffering. Friction in such region mostly result from movement of a damaged, fractured or injured bone which causes excess pressure buildup on the nerves resulting into severe pain. In other cases, fusion surgeries are also performed in individuals suffering from spinal arthritis where the bone requires ceasing of any painful spinal motion. 

There are several types of spinal fusion surgeries, which are:

  • Anterior or lateral or transforaminal interbody fusion of lumbar region
  • Anterior discectomy or fusion of the cervical region
  • Scoliosis fusion

Ideal Candidates for Spinal Fusion Surgery 

Spinal fusion is mostly performed in case the individual suffers from persistent spinal conditions. Thus, ideal candidates for the procedure is decided, if the individual:

  • Suffers from spinal conditions like spondylolisthesis, spinal fractures, recurring and persistent spinal disc hernia, scoliosis, etc .
  • Is unresponsive to conservative treatments and physiotherapy
  • Is unable to perform daily activities 
  • Suffers from other conditions due to the same reason. 

Factors affecting the cost of Spinal Fusion Surgery

The spinal fusion surgery cost may be affected due to a number of factors, which are:

  • The type of condition an individual suffers from
  • The age, weight or the BMI of the individual
  • Any underlying disease or condition like diabetes, etc.
  • The extent of spinal fusion required
  • Type of surgical procedures required (if any) along with it.
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About the Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion surgery is a type of a spinal procedure used to join two or more bones permanently in the spine and to prevent movement between them. The bones that are joined are called as vertebrae. Spinal fusion surgery is performed along with other surgical procedures such as foraminotomy or laminectomy and after diskectomy in the neck. It is required if the patient has an injury or a fracture of the vertebrae. The spine will become weak due to an infection or tumors. Spinal fusion is also performed in abnormal curvatures that result from scoliosis or kyphosis.

How is Spinal Fusion performed?

This surgical procedure usually takes around three to four hours. The surgeon makes a surgical cut and views the spine. Surgeries such as a diskectomy, laminectomy, or a foraminotomy, are conducted first followed by spinal fusion.

Spinal fusion may be done on the back or neck or spine. The patient is made to lie with face down. The spine is exposed by separating the muscles and tissue. If surgery is on the lower back, the surgeon will use retractors to separate soft tissues and blood vessels. A graft is used to fuse the bones permanently. The surgeon gets the bone graft from other parts of the body, which is called autograft. Sometimes a bone substitute may also be used to fill in the space between the vertebrae and form a single long bone.

Recovery from Spinal Fusion

Pain medications will be given either by mouth or through an intravenous line. You will be taught the ways to stand properly, walk, sit and stand. You will not be able to eat for two to three days. Nutrients will be given through an intravenous route. You have to wear a bracelet after leaving the hospital. The surgeon will provide instructions to the patient regarding home care after surgery. Spinal fusion alleviates nerve pain by creating more space around the spinal cord and nerve roots. This surgery reduces post-decompressive deformity. The spine fusion surgery corrects any deformity which is present before surgery. The surgery ensures normal alignment of the spine. Laser spine institute can perform spinal fusion surgery in minimally invasive manner.

Sometimes spinal fusion can lead to more back pain and prolongs the recovery time. Inflammation and scaring is also possible after the surgery. Due to nerve irritation, pain or weakness can also occur. The fused segment may also cause stress near the fusion. Inform the doctor immediately in case you suffer from breathing problems or witness signs of infection.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the health care infrastructure of South Africa / Why should opt for South Africa as a destination for your medical treatment?
Like most countries, hospitals in South Africa are based upon public and private healthcare systems. There are three main levels of healthcare based upon the payment method of the patient.
  • The full paying patients are those who usually prefer to be treated by a doctor working in the private sector. They can also be funded by an external source. Many non-South African citizens also prefer this treatment service.
  • Fully subsidized patients are those who have been referred from a Primary Healthcare Service Hospital.
  • Partially subsidized patients are patients whose costs are subsidized based on the amount of their income.
The public healthcare system has three main centers for health under its wing:
  • Clinics - These are run by trained professionals and nurses. They can serve as the first point of contact for a patient.
  • Community Healthcare Centre - This is a bigger setup, complete with full-fledged services and doctors and nurses.
  • Hospital - A patient usually gets here after a referral from a clinic or community health center. One can also go in for emergencies. A hospital provides various services like performing surgery and treating chronic illnesses.
Hospitals in South Africa are gearing up to tackle major illnesses and to provide better treatment options. The South African government is also working to introduce policies and towards accommodating more patients from all across the world. It is a great country to find affordable treatment options.
What are the conditions of the hospitals in South Africa? Are they JCI certified? What is the quality of the support staff in the hospitals
The Joint Commission International (JCI) accredits and certifies most health care organizations and programs all around the world. Joint Commission International Accreditation and Certification is recognized as the global leader for health care quality of care and patient safety.
Are the doctors/surgeons in South Africa of the best quality?
Doctors associated with Medigence are of the best quality. We hope to give our patients a pleasant experience and the best doctors we can find. Since South Africa has a lot of requirements in the field of healthcare, the country attracts doctors from all over the world to contribute their services. This can help to ensure that even you receive the best quality of doctors.
What is the process for obtaining a medical visa in South Africa?
One can apply for a visa to South Africa for a period of 90 days. The High Commission of India can then help one decide for how long a visa can be extended. This usually differs from person to person. The Medical Visa allows a person to stay for a maximum of six months with a valid visa. After this, one can go to the FRO office ( Foreigner’s Registration Office ) or FRRO (Foreigner's Regional Registration Office) and request for an extension. Do note that the validity of a visa begins on the day it is issued by the High Commission of India and not on the date of departure. Applications for visas will not be accepted more than 30 days prior to departure.
What support services does MediGence provide in the United Arab Emirates?
MediGence enables you to plan and manage your medical decisions better. These are some of our services offered:
  • Expert Opinion
    We help you seek an Expert Opinion on your diagnosis and treatment from an experienced team of doctors at MediGence and specialists from a reputable hospital.
  • Hospital Recommendation
    We recommend a hospital or a healthcare institution that is best suited for you, based on your ailment and its criticality.
  • 360-degree Hospital Review
    We give you a transparent and holistic view of the hospital and its infrastructure, accreditation, facilities, and expertise to give you confidence.
  • Doctor Validation and Communication
    We share a comprehensive profile of the treating doctor and also arrange a call to clear queries regarding treatment if needed.
  • Options to Choose From
    Based on your choice of destination and other preferences, we provide you multiple options with respect to hospitals and doctors to choose from.
  • 24X7 Patient Care Support
    A dedicated patient case manager stays in constant touch with you to help you at every step of the decision-making process and resolve queries that you may have.
  • Transparent Treatment Cost and Other Expenses
    We give a clear and accurate indication of the total cost of treatment including treatment, stay, meals, and other expenses.
  • Visa Assistance
    We provide and help prepare documentation for visa approval and coordinate with the embassy to expedite the visa process.
  • Accommodation Arrangements
    We propose to you a choice of accommodation based on your preference such as long stay, short stay, or luxury properties.
Which are the best cities in South Africa for medical treatment?
While many cities are striving to create some of the best hospitals in South Africa, Durban, Lenasia, and Cape Town already have some very good hospitals for treatment in South Africa. Located in Durban, Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre is a reasonable and affordable hospital in South Africa. Life Kingsbury Hospital in Capetown provides a holistic healing environment for patients. One can also opt for the Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital in Lenasia. This hospital has been running for nearly 30 years now and various medical facilities can be availed from here.

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