Cornea transplant surgery is also known as keratoplasty. It is a common surgery and has a good amount of success rate as well. Cornea transplant is required for people who have their corneal tissue damaged due to scarring or bruises. This affects the normal vision, which cannot be further corrected with the help of lens or medication. The cornea can swell thus resulting in distorted vision and it can grow painful, thus destroying the tissue gradually.
The following are some of the reasons why cornea replacement surgery may be required:
Cornea transplant surgery involves the replacement of the diseased cornea with a healthy cornea from a donor and it is performed commonly. However, there are some risks of rejection that would always be there. A corneal transplant is a surgery conducted to replace the cornea with a tissue retrieved from a donor. It is one of the most common types of transplants done. The cornea mainly comprises of five layers and it is not always necessary that all the layers are transplanted during the surgery.
In case of full thickness cornea transplant, all the 5 layers of the recipient are replaced with the healthy corneal layers of the donor. Lamellar cornea transplant includes only transplanting some of the layers of a donor’s cornea in the recipient patient’s corneal layers. The layers that are transplanted in this kind of surgery may include the deepest layer, which is known as the endothelium and this is generally known as the posterior lamellar cornea transplant. Some of the included procedures of this type of transplant include Descemet’s Stripping Automated
Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) or Descemet’s Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK). It may also have layers nearer to the surface included, which is referred as anterior lamellar cornea transplant. When only a portion of the cornea is diseased and not the entire cornea, then the lamellar transplants appears to be much more suitable compared to a full penetrating transplant.
Cornea transplant surgery is conducted on an outpatient basis, wherein the patient can leave the hospital on the same day of the surgery. In the pre-op or the waiting area, the patient is prepared for the surgery by giving medications, which would relax the patient.
A needle is attached to a tubing, which aids in delivering medications and fluids throughout the procedure to the vein of the patient. Electro leads are attached to the patient’s chest to have the performance of heart monitored at all stages. The above are some of the standard safety precautions.
Depending upon the condition of the patient, local or general anaesthesia may be administered before the surgery. Some of the determining factors can be age, length of the surgery, levels of anxiety of the patients, general health of the patient, and of course, the doctor’s choice. This should be discussed with the patient before the operation.
Once in the operating room, the patient’s eyelids are washed gently and carefully and then it is covered with plastic sterile drapes. Through a plastic tube, oxygen can be occasionally supplied somewhere close to the nose where the tube is placed. Most patients doze off during the procedure, while others may remain slightly conscious.
The instrument used to scrape off the part of the cornea is a circular cookie-like cutter instrument, which is called a trephine. It is employed to have the center of the diseased cornea removed. Next, a button-sized similar portion is cut from the cornea of the donor. With the help of nylon sutures, the tissue of the donor’s cornea is sewn in the recipient’s eye in the already cut section.
The sutures are employed in corneal transplant and they are composed of monofilament nylon and are very tiny, almost one-third the thickness of human hair. The patterns of suturing can be different, depending upon the choices of the surgeon and their training and also on the specific problem that is being addressed. In certain cases, 16 individual (interrupted) sutures can be used, while for others, continuous or running sutures can be used that closely resemble the hemstitch. A combination of both can be used and the results obtained are more or less similar.
With the conclusion of the surgery, a patch along with a shield is applied to the eye for protection. Now the patient is taken to the recovery room, wherein some of the parameters of the body are monitored and the patient is allowed to recover and get back to his or her senses before being discharged off.
The cornea has no blood supply, hence the healing of the procedure is slow. Sutures are kept for 3 to 12 months and if the vision is found to be really good, then they are kept in place. They do not cause any discomfort since they are buried but if they break, then their removal is required. At other times, the sutures can loosen. The removal of the sutures is a painless and simple procedure.
Immediately after a cornea transplant, the patients may experience pain, which can be relieved with medications such as Tylenol. The eye will remain patched until the healing of the epithelium is not completed. The surgeon checks immediately after the day of the surgery and advises whether it should be worn any longer or not.
Eye drops should be administered as prescribed and strenuous activities should be avoided for a few weeks. A pair of glass must be worn for a duration recommended by the surgeon. Watching the television does not cause any discomfort to the eyes. However, contact the surgeon if you experience discomfort in the eye or pain as soon as possible.
Cornea Transplant package cost in South Africa has different inclusions and exclusions. The top hospitals for Cornea Transplant in South Africa covers all the expenses related to the pre-surgery investigations of the candidate. The Cornea Transplant cost in South Africa includes the cost of anesthesia, medicines, hospitalization and the surgeon's fee. Extended hospital stay, complications after the surgery or new diagnosis may affect the overall cost of Cornea Transplant in South Africa.
After Cornea Transplant in South Africa, the patient is supposed to stay in guest house for another 21 days. This period is important to conduct all the follow-up tests to ensure that the surgery was successful and the patient can go back to the home country.
While South Africa is considered to be one of the best destinations for Cornea Transplant owing to the standard of Hospitals, and expertise of doctors; there are a select few destinations which provide comparable quality of healthcare for the procedure However, there are other countries as mentioned below that are popular for Cornea Transplant as well:
Apart from the cost of Cornea Transplant, the patient is also required to pay additionally for daily meals and guest house accommodation. The extra charges may start from USD 50 per person.
The following are some of the best cities for Cornea Transplant in South Africa:
After the Cornea Transplant takes place, the average duration of stay at the hospital is about 1 days. The doctors team review the patient's recovery during this time with the help of blood tests and imaging scans. Once they feel that everything is on track, the patient is discharged.
The average rating for Cornea Transplant hospitals in South Africa is 2.9. This rating is calculated on the basis of different parameters such as attitude of the nurses, cleanliness, quality of food and the pricing policy.
There are more than 3 hospitals that offer Cornea Transplant in South Africa. The above mentioned clinics have the required infrastructure and a dedicated unit where patients can be treated. Additionally, these hospitals are known to comply with the international standards as well as local legal requirements for the treatment of patients.
Some of the world-class multispecialty hospitals in South Africa are:
Below are some of the parameters which reflect the quality of these hospitals:
The hospitals are bound to provide quality treatment as the government of South Africa has framed strict healthcare rules to ensure there is no quality lapse. The patient-centric hospitals are equipped with superior infrastructure, high-tech medical equipment, and highly trained and qualified doctors, providing a unique patient experience.
The hospitals in South Africa receive accreditation from Joint Commission International (JCI) and Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA). In order to ensure coordinated and integrated care is provided by healthcare facilities, COHSASA sets and assesses standards for all sectors and departments of a healthcare system. The SafeCare program introduced by JCI, COHSASA, and SafeCare Foundation aims at using internationally recognized standards to provide health care delivery. The accreditation bodies ensure that the hospitals are consistent in delivering quality care, so, initially, they grant accreditation to hospitals and clinics only for 2 years which gets extended if the quality is maintained.
One of the leading medical tourism destinations, South Africa offers affordable healthcare and has superior infrastructure. Some other factors which contribute to the growth of medical tourism in South Africa are use of cutting-edge technology, new facilities provided by hospitals, doctors trained overseas, and a large number of accredited hospitals. Liberal laws for the use of stem cells in South Africa have helped it attract a large number of medical tourists for advanced medical treatment. The patient-centric hospitals in South Africa help you with all kinds of organization and administrative tasks and provide a world-class patient experience through all-inclusive care and assistance on a 24/7 basis.
With quality at their core, the well-trained and highly qualified doctors in South Africa provide world-class treatment. Having trained in foreign countries like Australia and Cuba, doctors in South Africa use their global exposure in developing deep expertise in various procedures. Doctors in South Africa are known for their deep expertise in dental procedures and fertility treatments. There are several reasons why South Africa has a large pool of quality doctors, such as education at reputed colleges, compliance with global standards, using human touch in treatment, and adopting a patient-centric approach.
You can stay in South Africa for a period of 90 days under a medical visa. The extension of the stay period is decided by the High Commission.. People must apply for a temporary residency permit if they require medical treatment for longer than three months. A visa becomes valid the day it is issued by the High Commission and not on the date of departure. Also, an application for a visa is not be accepted more than 30 days before departure. Here is a list of documents that you will require for applying for a medical visa:
South Africa is known to offer some procedures with high success rates, such as total knee replacement, meniscus repairs, hip replacement, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Cosmetic surgery and infertility treatment are some of the other popular procedures in South Africa which have a high success rate. Fertility treatment through egg donation has seen a high success rate in South Africa wherein a person can opt for a surgical or non-surgical procedure, with quite low waiting times. The reasons for the popularity of these procedures are affordable treatment cost, speedy recovery, use of advanced technology, and highly trained doctors.
The top-ranked cities that are most preferred by medical tourists in South Africa are Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban. Cape Town a major tourist attraction that has a rich culture, world-class doctors, and modern health facilities. Besides providing quality treatment, these cities are also known for having a better public transportation system, cheap hotels, and connectivity through airlines. Johannesburg’s public and private healthcare sectors work in coordination with South Africa's medical schools to produce internationally recognized medical specialists and the city’s medical care quality matches with that of Great Britain.
Yes, some vaccines are highly recommended or required for South Africa. WHO and the National Travel Health Network and Centre recommend the following vaccinations: hepatitis A, yellow fever, rabies and tetanus, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera. Make sure that infants of age 6 to 11 months get measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before they travel to South Africa. Typhoid vaccine is recommended for most travellers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas. You can connect with your doctor or the hospital in South Africa for the required vaccines. Also, refer to the travel advisory issued by the government.
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