Knee replacement surgeries have changed the lives of many people with severe knee pain while basic activities such as walking. Knee Replacement surgery is also known as knee Arthroplasty. The knee is a hinge-like joint that helps in bending the legs for movement. This hinge joint can be damaged because of reasons like injury, aggressive arthritis, or other destructive joint diseases. Any damage to the hinge joint can cause jamming of the joint and immense pain during movements. Normal movements turn stiff, and quality of life reduces considerably if the damages are too high.
Knee replacement surgeries are often conducted when pain is too unbearable, and X-rays suggest a weak knee. The procedure involves the installation of artificial knee components in knee bones. These artificial components are known as knee prostheses. Doctors remove the end of both thigh bone and lower leg bone. The end of the thigh bone (femur) is provided around the metal prosthesis. The end of the lower bone (tibia) is replaced by a high-quality plastic platform with a metallic base. The plastic platform is channeled and facilitates smooth movement of the metallic shell on the femur. The ligament supporting the knee is also changed based on the condition of the knee. This ligament prevents the knee from moving backward. Doctors can replace ligament with a polyethylene prosthesis to make the knee smoother. Doctors use knee replacement surgery as a last option, as it can be costly and has its own risk factors. Knee replacement surgeries have risks like blood clotting, infection, nerve damage, and heart attack. Proper supervision after surgery is important to treat any side effects before they turn into a bigger problem.
Knee Surgeries are common throughout the world. Hospitals from different nations provide these treatments around the world. But considering the high risk involved, you should choose an expert doctor for optimum results. Among different healthcare hubs, South Africa is one of the fastest growing ones. South African healthcare facilities comprise hybrid technological availability and global experts. The country is home to many orthopedic clinics and hospitals known for high international patient footfall. South Africa provides amazing treatment facilities with high success rates. The country has several medical world records in transplant surgeries. First Heart transplant surgery in the world was performed in Cape Town in 1967. The country also holds records for first penile transplant and the first 3D printed bone transplant surgeries. If you are situated in the African continent or can afford to travel to South Africa, then it is one of the best options you have for your knee replacement surgery in a professional manner.
The cost of a knee transplant in South Africa is much lower than that of the European and American nations. The fees structure of South Africa is known to give competition to global leaders like Singapore, Thailand, and India. There are many untapped resources and high development prospects in the healthcare system of South Africa. With continuous growth and development, the costs of treatments are expected to go down further. In South Africa, a total knee replacement may cost around $13000 to $15000 USD. This cost is almost three times lower than the knee replacement cost in the United States.
Within the country, the charges fluctuate largely between hospitals. The main reason is the type of technology and material of prosthesis use. A low-end clinic will provide you with the treatment in as low as $7000.
A bilateral knee replacement surgery is sometimes performed on both the knees in a single surgery or the surgeon may decide to operate on them individually in separate surgeries. The former case is preferred when the patient is young and the overall health is normal and maintained. In the latter case, there could be a gap of a few hours or a few days between the two surgeries.
During bilateral knee replacement surgery, you will be given general or spinal
The surgeon removes the kneecap and then the damaged or diseased parts of the knee are removed. These are replaced with a metal, plastic, or ceramic implants (as chosen by the surgeon, depending on the requirement). The implants are fixed using cemented or cementless fixation. The incision is closed with the help of stitches.
Bilateral knee replacement surgery lasts anywhere between one to three hours (is a single knee is replaced) or four to five hours (if both are replaced during the same surgery). Once the surgery is over, you are transferred to the recovery room for a few hours.
Bilateral knee replacement surgery is a major procedure and therefore, recovery may take time. You are likely to experience pain for the initial few weeks. However, it goes away gradually as you start performing physical exercises recommended by the doctor.
You should keep your wound dry and clean to prevent infection after the surgery. In addition, you should elevate your leg often for reduced pain. Talk to your surgeon if you experience redness, swelling, or inflammation around the knee.
The eligibility of a person to have a knee transplant depends on different tests performed during diagnosis. X-ray reports are analyzed to determine the need for operation. A person with a weak immune system and chronic diseases are not operated for knee replacement. A person is usually operated based on the pain. Knee replacement surgeries have a high risk associated. Therefore, a person with high difficulty in walking is the best candidate for a knee replacement.
Travel costs involved in going to South Africa will add up to the expenses. Being an ideal candidate for knee replacement in South Africa involves having a sufficient budget for the whole process. You can have surgery in countries closer to you or your native county to reduce costs.
The average costs in South Africa for knee replacement are lower than the global average. You can have your knee transplant at an average of 10, 000 USD. The best hospitals in the country will charge you higher at around 14,000 to 16,000 USD. Smaller clinics and public sector hospitals will charge as low as 9000 USD. The Netcare Hospital, a renowned orthopedic treatment center, charges 10,500 USD for knee replacements.
Knee replacements require skilled experts and proper technologies. With an absence of any one of these, there can be severe deviations from the expected results. The South African healthcare system is one of the most rapidly growing sectors in the world. South African clinics, especially orthopedics, are equipped with suitable technologies. South African hospitals employ some of the most skilled orthopedic surgeons in the world. The country is also a famous tourist destination. So, the country has developed to welcome international people. The bilingual hospitals and special departments for international patients are the key features of the country.
South African hospitals have a strong benefit of high success rates. Doctors are highly experienced in all kinds of transplant treatments. Within the country, the average success rate of knee replacement is 90 to 95%. The remaining failures are usually cured by some minor revisions that are taken care of immediately.
The country houses some of the best hospitals and several specialty clinics for knee replacement treatments. Netcare Hospital in Johannesburg is renowned for orthopedic treatments. It is a large hospital group for all kinds of treatment. The USP of the hospital is its low pricing structure despite the high-quality treatments it provides. Life Healthcare Hospital is another hospital group with good orthopedic services. The hospital is famous for its flawless success rate in knee replacement surgery.
Many orthopedic surgeons serve their expertise independently or through well-established hospitals. Dr. Jason Crane is a legendary doctor in the knee transplant sector. The surgeon provides his treatment services in the famous Mediclinic Hospital, Cape Town, as a full-time surgeon. Dr. Richard PB Vonn Bormann is another well-known orthopedic surgeon who has expertise in transplant surgeries. He currently works under the Netcare Hospital Group in Cape Town.
The cost of knee replacement changes is based on the ownership system of hospitals. Government-owned hospitals will provide cheaper surgeries than private hospitals. Other factors include the availability of technology, demand of the hospital in the markets, extra facilities like accommodation, and the experience levels of orthopedics in the hospital. Another main factor deciding the costs is the quality and material of the prosthesis used for the patients.
The popular multispecialty hospital groups in South Africa are:
The performance of these hospitals have been evaluated on the below parameters:
South Africa is known to have strict government regulations for controlling the quality of care provided by the government and private hospitals. The hospitals have world-class doctors and top-notch infrastructure and provide a wide range of facilities to meet the needs of patients.
In South Africa, the healthcare system is bound to follow standards set by the Joint Commission International (JCI) and Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA). COHSASA develops and evaluates standards in all areas and departments of a healthcare facility in order to make sure that integrated and coordinated care is provided. COHSASA, JCI, and SafeCare Foundation have come together to launch the SafeCare program to implement internationally recognized standards to improve health care delivery. Initially, a two-year accreditation is awarded to hospitals and clinics that adhere to standards and the period can be extended if the hospitals continue to deliver expected quality care.
South Africa is gaining global attention for medical tourism due to affordable treatment costs and world-class infrastructure. Medical tourists prefer South Africa for treatment due to many other reasons like world-class facilities provided by hospitals, advanced technology, global exposure of doctors, and accredited hospitals. In addition, South Africa’s liberal laws allow for the use of stem cells in medical practice, making it an invaluable destination for patients in need of advanced medical treatment. The hospitals in South Africa aim to destress your medical holiday by dealing with all of the organization and administrative tasks, as well as provide intensive care and assistance on a 24/7 basis.
The doctors in South Africa strive to provide quality treatment utilizing their deep subject knowledge and hands-on experience in handling various complex cases. Majority of doctors in South Africa have received rigorous training in countries like Cuba and Australia which makes them competent in dealing with even the most complicated cases with great ease. Doctors in South Africa are known for their deep expertise in dental procedures and fertility treatments. South Africa has world-class doctors due to several reasons like their education at reputed colleges, adherence to global standards, patient-centric approach, and incorporation of the human touch in treatment.
A person can apply for a medical visa to South Africa for a period of 90 days. The High Commission helps one decide for how long a visa can be extended. People who require medical treatment for longer than three months must apply for a temporary residency permit. 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. Make sure you have the below-listed documents while applying for a medical visa:
Some popular procedures available in South Africa are hip replacement, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, total knee replacement, meniscus repairs. Cosmetic surgery and infertility treatment are some of the other popular procedures in South Africa which have a high success rate. Egg donation program is available at the majority of fertility clinics and you 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, which attracts a wide variety of people from different ethnicity and cultures, has world-class doctors and state-of-the-art medical facilities. Most of these cities have an efficient public transportation system, cheap accommodation options, and connectivity through airlines. Healthcare in Johannesburg is similar to Great Britain’s health care, and the city’s public and private healthcare sectors work hand in hand with South Africa's medical schools to create internationally recognized medical specialists.
Yes, you need to get vaccinated before travelling to South Africa. WHO and the National Travel Health Network and Centre have suggested the following vaccinations: Yellow fever, hepatitis A, rabies and tetanus, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera. Infants of 6 to 11 months old are at greater risk of contracting measles, so they must get MMR vaccine before travelling to South Africa. It is always recommended that you get typhoid vaccination if you are going to stay with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas of South Africa. It is best to refer to the travel advisory to know in detail about the required vaccines. You can also get in touch with your doctor or the hospital in South Africa for more information on vaccination.
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