If you are suffering from chronic disabling neck or lower back pain and have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease then artificial disc replacement might offer a surgical solution to curing your debilitating pain. And if you do not have health coverage to pay for this procedure, then surgery abroad might be an option for you.
WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL DISC REPLACEMENT?
The Internet is loaded with information on this subject so we are not going to go deep into explaining what it is and what kind of problems it can solve. If you were to ask one of our spine surgeons on the Healthbase website , however, then you would find out whether or not ADR is a good option for you. Until then here is a gist of the main points related to the surgery.
Artificial disc replacement or ADR is a treatment for patients with severe degenerative disc disease (DDD) which is a condition that can occur in the neck or low back and cause significant pain. ADR or artificial disc replacement surgery removes the affected spinal disc (the cushion that separates your spinal bones or vertebrae and helps protect your spinal column) and replaces it with artificial parts. It’s much like a hip replacement or a knee replacement surgery that replaces the worn out parts with prosthetic implants. The disk replacement surgery which is normally done through the abdomen aims to give flexibility and normal motion to the diseased spinal segment.
If the surgery is being done to treat neck pain and associated problems then it is called a cervical artificial disc replacement surgery. If, on the other hand, the surgery is to treat problems in the lower back, it is called lumbar artificial disc replacement surgery.
So that’s that about ADR for now.
GETTING THE ARTIFICIAL DISC REPLACEMENT SURGERY
What is important next is where to get this surgery. We think we might be able to shed some light on that part and how to do so without going broke. Affordable artificial disc replacement spine surgery is possible due to what is known as medical tourism . If you are one of the more than 47 million uninsured Americans, have a chronic disabling back pain and are a candidate for ADR surgery then you really want to continue reading.
Today’s patient is a global patient. You possibly know someone who has gone to another city or country for medical or dental care. Until recently, the types of care sought abroad have been limited to such treatments as cheap dental implants in Mexico or a face lift in Brazil . But that has changed over the last five years or so. Shopping for major medical care overseas has become a norm these days.
Yet, hopping on a flight abroad is probably the last thing you would want to do if you were suffering from chronic back pain. However, if doing so relieved you of your spinal problems without much affecting your bank balance, you might not find it as abhorrent an idea. Just for comparison purposes, expect to pay only about 20% to 40% of US hospital rates.
We do not need to delve into how the quality of care offered overseas is state-of-the-art, and is tried and tested as you can read all about that on the Healthbase website. But it is safe to keep in mind that just like in the US, there are good and not-so-good quality hospitals and doctors abroad as well. Here are a few suggestions for you if you were considering the medical tourism path of healing.
Outside of the United States, countries boasting some of the top spine centers in the world are India, Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Singapore and Turkey. Some of the more well-known spine hospitals in these countries are Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Healthcare (Wockhardt Hospitals), Barcelona Spine Center, Hospital Clinica Biblica, Parkway Hospitals, Anadolu Medical Center, etc.
Here are 5 things you must know about ADR surgery:
1. It is a treatment for degenerative disc disease of the spine and is an alternative to spinal fusion surgery.
2. Lumbar disc replacement is more challenging to perform than cervical ADR.
3. If cost is a concern, then you should consider medical tourism as a practical solution to cost-effective spine surgeries.
4. Some of the top spine hospitals in the world are in India, Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Singapore and Turkey.
5. If medical tourism seems like an uncharted territory to you, you wish to save time and you do not want to end up in a mediocre facility then engage the services of a specialized medical travel facilitator like Healthbase that can connect you with an overseas provider while also extending several other valuable concierge services.
Bangalore, July 28, 2010: Fortis Hospitals conducts Asia’s first Custom Fit Knee Replacement Surgery in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore). 56 and 59-year-old women suffering from degenerative disease of the knee brought to Fortis Hospitals with complications, underwent Asia’s first Custom Fit Knee Replacement Surgery. Patients were discharged within five days of the knee replacement operation. Patients started walking normally within a fortnight, unlike the usual 6-8 weeks required before resuming normal activities in the conventional surgery.
Dr. Sanjay Pai - Lead Orthopedic Surgeon, India
Lead orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sanjay Pai and his team at Fortis Hospitals Bangalore performed this revolutionary surgery by literally remodeling the anatomy of the patient’s knee and recreating or customizing a knee with the right kind of technology and expertise. The new custom fit knee replacement technology designs a perfect instrumentation system that matches the patient’s knee and ensures lesser pain, less tissue damage and faster mobilization.
According to Dr. Pai, “The two operations for knee replacement have been performed for the first time in Asia using the custom fit knee replacement technology. This is indeed a medical breakthrough and likely to revolutionize the way knee replacement surgeries are performed in India. We are glad to be the first adopters of this technology.”
Why Custom-Fit Knee
While conventional knee replacement surgeries retro-fit predetermined sizes of prosthetics on to the patients’ knee, this procedure is very different because it works on the principle that no two patients’ knees are similar. With this technology the patient’s knee is digitally recreated with 3D image mapping after taking into account the bone structure, weight ratios, gender, age and even mechanical alignment. Based on this 3D model the customized knee is created. Something, that just fits them right. This technology ensures far greater accuracy and reduces the operation time by almost 40% and also results in less loss of bone & tissues.
How Custom Fit Knee Works
In short there are 4 steps to building and fitting a Custom-Fit Knee:
- Step 1: Understanding your knee
The process starts with a CT Scan of the whole leg from the hips to the ankle which is then used to create an advanced 3D image of the leg structure. The age, weight and gender are also taken into account, creating a complete patient imaging.
- Step 2: Processing and planning
With the 3D plan of the leg structure in place, an anatomical model is created to determine the mechanical alignment – the basic philosophy on which the entire process rests. Virtual instrumentation is then done and the surgery is planned accordingly.
- Step 3: Recreating the knee
Once the surgery is approved, the Custom Fit instruments are manufactured at state-of-the-art dedicated manufacturing centers. Even the individual patient name and data are etched on each unit to confirm identification during the surgery
- Step 4: Fitting the knee
With the Custom Fit instrumentation in place, the knee bone is chiseled to perfection so that the prosthetics fit exactly without any requirement for later corrective surgeries. After a 60 minute surgery, the patient ill have the knee that fits you perfectly.
Benefits of Custom Fit Knee Replacement Surgery
- Smaller incision
- Less soft tissue damage
- Lesser pain
- Early and better mobilization
- Better and pain free range of motion
- Improves alignment and sizing by using computer generated images of the patients anatomy to determine bone cuts and implant positioning preoperatively
- Better life span of the processes because of the accurate fit and alignment
August 06, 2010
Chennai, India: Sixty-five-year-old US citizen Ronald Lemmer’s heart is expected to beat for India after his successful heart transplant operation in Chennai.
He is the first American and the oldest person to undergo a heart transplant in India.
“The US doctors said that my husband would not survive if operated in India. We checked with an Indian doctor who is our friend there. He assured us about the safety and we came to India,” Shelly Lemmer told reporters.
“In the US there is a long waiting list of recipients for heart transplant,” Lemmer said.
The couple came to India in May and Lemmer was admitted to Apollo Hospital.
“We were in discussion with the American couple since March this year. They came here in May and Lemmer was operated upon in July,” senior cardiothoracic surgeon Paul Ramesh said.
According to Ramesh, the Lemmer case was a bit complicated as he had a previous bypass surgery, an angioplasty with coronary stents and a pacemaker.
In the US, Lemmer was told that he had a mortality chance of 80 per cent.
The other challenge was that the transplant was an inter-racial one and the human leucocyte antigen (HLA) has to match.
“The HLA will be an exact match only between identical twins. Between siblings it would slightly differ. The difference will be high between two different races,” Ramesh added.
Fortunately for Lemmer, he was able to get the heart of a 36-year-old man who was declared brain dead after a road accident.
Necessary compatibility tests – height, weight, blood and others – were done and permission from the Transplant Coordination Committee was obtained to carry out the operation, Ramesh said.
Today Lemmer is walking around like a normal person and is planning to return to the US August 10.
“The success of a transplant operation is determined not only by increasing the longevity of the patient but also in improvement in the quality of life he leads post operation,” Ramesh said.
According to him, Lemmer’s quality of life will be better henceforth.
The surgeon said equally interesting are the cases of Kasturirangan, who underwent a heart transplant a year back, and Piyush, who is two and a half years post-transplant and leading normal life.
“For Kasturirangan it is a transgender transplant operation. He now has the heart of a woman,” Ramesh said.
“In the last 25 years we have done 38,000 heart operations in Apollo Hospital and 28,000 are coronary by-pass operations,” chief cardio vascular surgeon MR Girinath said.
According to him, 11,500 operations are beat heart surgeries.
“In India heart transplants are done only in cities like Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Cochin and Bangalore. In the last 15 years, only 100 heart transplants have been done in India of which 10 were done at Apollo Hospital in Chennai,” he said.
Girinath also said that organ transplant operations are subject to various uncertainties and challenges like availability of organ, logistics and coordination with different medical teams – the one that harvests the organ and the other that fixes it in the recipient.
According to Ramesh, heart transplant operations that are not complicated would cost anything between Rs. 800,000 to Rs. 1 million.