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.

degenerative disc disease 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.

IN CONCLUSION

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.

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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

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

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American after successful heart transplant in IndiaAugust 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.

Source: http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/us-national-undergoes-successful-heart-transplant-42529


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If you have heard of medical tourism then you know it is the phenomenon that can buy you top-notch medical care at rock bottom prices with virtually zero waiting times. And you are probably also aware that India is one of the most popular medical travel destinations. What is great about India is you can get not only high quality care for low price but also certain unique treatments that not many other nations in the world offer, especially if you also factor in the unbeatable price. In the article below we talk about hip resurfacing surgery in India – a unique medical breakthrough technique for the treatment of hip pathology.

THE NEED FOR HIP RESURFACING
Your hip is a ball and socket joint. Both the ball and socket are covered by a protective layer of cartilage which makes the joint smooth and hip movements swift.

Any condition that damages this cartilage leads to pain, dysfunction and eventually arthritis. Injury, infection, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and bone dysplasias are some reasons that can cause damage to this cartilage thereby necessitating a hip resurfacing surgery.

Traditionally, such issues have been addressed by a total hip replacement (THR) which is a surgery to replace the hip joint by a prosthetic implant. A THR removes part of your healthy bone so the implant can be fixed deeply into the femoral bone. Patients also have certain movement restrictions following a THR surgery.

By contrast, resurfacing, which is a less invasive bone-preserving technology, replaces only the worn, diseased and damaged surfaces of the hip joint, and places an all-metal “ball and socket” implant in the hip joint. Resurfacing allows return to normal and sporting activities post-surgery, reduces the risk of dislocation and makes revision easy (if at all needed).

These reasons make hip resurfacing more favourable over hip replacement in certain specific cases. The anatomy and bio-mechanics after resurfacing mimic a normal hip very closely making it an ideal choice for young or more active patients with non-inflammatory degenerative hip joint disease.

HOW IS A HIP RESURFACING SURGERY PERFORMED?

Birmingham hip resurfacing implant

Birmingham hip resurfacing implant (Image source: Smith & Nephew)


After separating the femur or thigh bone from the hip socket, your surgeon reshapes the head of the femur. Next, the diseased bone and cartilage are removed from the hip socket.

Then, the implant, which comprises of two parts – the metal shell component for the hip socket, and the metal ball component with a short stem for the thigh bone, is placed.

First, the metal shell implant is firmly pressed onto the hip socket. After this the surgeon drills a hole in the femur (so the stem of the femur implant can be fitted into it), fills the metal ball component with bone cement, and fits the ball on top of the thigh bone with its stem into the drilled hole.

Finally, the femur with its new metal head and the hip socket with its new metal shell are put together to form a new resurfaced ball and socket hip joint that looks and functions like a normal hip.

HIP RESUFACING SURGERY AND INDIA
In India, hip surgeons have been practicing the hip resurfacing procedure for over a decade while orthopaedic surgeons in most of the rest of the world are still new to this procedure.

In the United States, for instance, where this procedure is still not commonly performed, FDA approved the first hip resurfacing system only in 2006. It is no wonder then that surgeons in India are much more experienced in this procedure than their counterparts in America.

Today, the majority of hip resurfacing operations are performed in India on Indian as well as foreign patients. Each year thousands of hip resurfacing medical tourists from all across the globe head to India to not only be in safe hands but also enjoy a tremendous amount of savings.

You can find top hip resurfacing hospitals in India that are Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited. Additionally, several of the best Indian orthopaedic doctors are also either educated or trained internationally.

Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal, India

Hip resurfacing costs about USD8000 in India . This is so less compared to what U.S. hospitals charge for the same kind of service and quality that you can bring a companion along, spend on sightseeing and still save thousands of dollars.

OVERSEAS PATIENT TO INDIA FOR HIP RESURFACING
Richard, who hails from California, USA, had been suffering from osteoarthritis in his hips for a long time but was unable to get surgery in the United States, earlier because of unavailability of the procedure in the country and later because of the extravagant price tag it came at.

Facilitated by Healthbase, Richard had both his hips resurfaced through bilateral hip resurfacing surgery at Wockhardt Hospitals (now Fortis Hospital) in Mumbai, India, 3 years ago.

Richard after his surgery in India

Richard after his surgery in India (Image source: Healthbase Online Inc., http://www.healthbase.com)

Being an avid sportsperson that he was, barely 12 weeks after his hip surgeries, Richard returned to snorkelling in the sunny Southern Californian beaches. In the past, Richard had problems walking from his car to his front door.

MEDICAL TRAVEL TIPS FOR HIP RESURFACING PATIENTS
Here are the top 5 things every medical tourist needs to do or remember for a successful medical travel trip:

  1. Verify the credentials of the foreign doctor treating you.
  2. Don’t let cost be the driving factor; focus on quality.
  3. Keep your local doctor in the loop.
  4. Don’t keep your trip too short; allow time for recuperation as well as sightseeing.
  5. Engage the services of a medical travel facilitator like Healthbase. These are specialized medical travel agents that connect you with the hospital of your choice while providing all or some other valuable concierge services like detailed information about various procedures, detailed hospital profiles and surgeon profiles, medical records transfer, free surgery quote, pre- and post-consultation with the overseas hospital, feedback and testimonials from previous patients, medical and dental loan financing, passport and visa acquisition, airport pick-up and drop-off, hospital escort, tickets, travel insurance, hotel booking, sightseeing services in the destination country, etc.

Getting a New Knee or Hip? Do It Right the First Time

An informative article on joint replacement by Lesley Alderman appeared in the New York Times recently. It talks about the things that a patient should keep in mind if considering a joint replacement (hip replacement or knee replacement) surgery. Following is the article as it appeared on the NY Times website.

THERE is nothing like a new hip or knee to put the spring back in your step. Patients receiving joint implants often are able to resume many of the physical activities they love, even those as vigorous as tennis and hiking. No wonder, then, that joint replacement is growing in popularity.

In the United States in 2007, surgeons performed about 806,000 hip and knee implants (the joints most commonly replaced), double the number performed a decade earlier. Though these procedures have become routine, they are not fail-safe.

Implants must sometimes be replaced, said Dr. Henrik Malchau, an orthopedic surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. A study published in 2007 found that 7 percent of hips implanted in Medicare patients had to be replaced within seven and a half years.

The percentage may sound low, but the finding suggests that thousands of hip patients eventually require a second operation, said Dr. Malchau. Those patients must endure additional recoveries, often painful, and increased medical expenses.

The failure rate should be lower, many experts agree. Sweden, for instance, has a failure rate estimated to be a third of that in the United States.

Sweden also has a national joint replacement registry, a database of information from which surgeons can learn how and why certain procedures go awry. A registry also helps surgeons learn quickly whether a specific type of implant is particularly problematic. “Every country that has developed a registry has been able to reduce failure rates significantly,” said Dr. Daniel Berry, chief of orthopedic surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

A newly formed American Joint Replacement Registry will begin gathering data from hospitals in the next 12 to 18 months.

Meanwhile, if you are considering replacing a deteriorating knee or hip, here are some ways to raise the chances of success and avoid a second operation.

EXPERIENCE COUNTS Choose – or request a referral to – an experienced surgeon at a busy hospital. “The most important variable is the technical job done by the surgeon,” said Dr. Donald C. Fithian, an orthopedic surgeon and the former director of Kaiser Permanente’s joint replacement registry.

Ask for recommendations from friends who have had successful implants and from doctors you know and trust. When you meet with the surgeon, ask how many replacements he or she does each year.

VOLUME MATTERS A study published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery in 2004 found that patients receiving knee replacements from doctors who performed more than 50 of the procedures a year had fewer complications than patients whose surgeons did 12 procedures or fewer a year.

The researchers documented a similar trend when it came to hospital volume. Patients at hospitals that performed more than 200 knee replacements a year fared better than patients at hospitals that performed 25 or fewer.

ADJUST EXPECTATIONS Not everyone with joint pain will benefit from a joint replacement.

An implant can help reduce pain and improve mobility if the joint surface is damaged by arthritis, for instance. But a new joint will not help pain caused by inflammation of the surrounding soft tissue, said Dr. Berry, who is also vice president of the board of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Some people with mildly arthritic joints, for instance, can manage well with the judicious use of medication. “Surgery comes with complications and risks, and should not be approached lightly,” Dr. Berry said.

Joint replacement is not a minor operation. If you have uncontrolled high blood pressure or another serious chronic condition, a joint operation may simply be too risky for you.

NARROW YOUR OPTIONS “There is no one best joint,” Dr. Berry said. “A successful replacement depends on selecting the right implant for the patient.”

A good surgeon will recommend an implant that makes sense for your age, activity level and the shape of your joint. Younger or very active people who place more physical demands on the implant, for instance, may benefit from newer hard-on-hard bearing surfaces, like those made of ceramic, said Dr. Joshua J. Jacobs, chair of orthopedic surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

In general, be wary of the latest, most advanced new joint. There is little evidence to support the use of more expensive designs over basic ones, said Dr. Tony Rankin, a clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at Howard University. One recent study found that premium implants fared about as well as standard implants over a seven- to eight-year period.

Be skeptical, too, of advertising gimmicks. “I had a 78-year-old patient with a perfectly good knee replacement come in and ask if she should have gotten the ‘gender knee,’ which she had seen advertised on TV,” Dr. Rankin recalled. “She was doing well, but was swayed by the idea of a knee made just for women.”

GATHER THE DATA Once you have a recommendation or two from a surgeon, find out how well the joint has performed in others and if there are known complications. The newer metal-on-metal hip implants, for instance, are somewhat controversial and may cause tissue and bone damage in certain patients.

Ask if the hospital has a registry that tracks joint replacements. If so, ask to see the data on the implants you are considering.

It is also helpful to understand what the operation involves, including the materials that will be used and how the surgeon plans to fix the joint to the bone. You can learn more about your operation at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeon’s patient information Web site, orthoinfo.org.

If you want to delve deeper, look at a large national registry from another country, like Australia. The annual report of Australia’s registry lists knee and hip implants that had a “higher than anticipated revision rate.”

A caveat: the information can be difficult to parse for a layperson. “A surgeon can provide perspective on information that, taken out of context, could be misleading,” Dr. Rankin said. So discuss it with your surgeon.

PLAN YOUR RECOVERY To avoid complications during your final stage of recuperation, discuss with your doctor in advance the support you will need when you return home, Dr. Berry advised.

Recovery takes a different course for each patient, depending on the type of procedure and implant. In general, expect mild to moderate pain for the first few weeks. Some patients are able to return to work in one to two weeks, but full recovery can take six to 12 months, Dr. Jacobs said.

Make sure you have the help you need in the initial stages of recuperation. Since you may have difficulty getting around and won’t be able to drive right away, you may want to have a friend or family member stay with you. You may even need to hire an aide or visiting nurse.

Follow your doctor’s orders, and don’t rush your recovery. You don’t want your new joint to fail because you couldn’t resist carrying loads of laundry up and down stairs, or felt compelled to rearrange the patio furniture.

If the new joint is given time to heal, you will find plenty of opportunities for all that in the future.

Related links

  • Affordable joint replacement surgery overseas
  • Cost of knee replacement or hip replacement surgery
  • What joint replacement surgery patients are saying
  • Medical tourism
  • Chris Y from USA had a hip replacement surgery at Fortis Hospital, Mumbai, India facilitated by Healthbase. Following is his story about his experience with medical tourism abroad for hip replacement surgery.

    About 5 weeks ago I went from the USA (Raleigh, North Carolina) to Mumbai, India, for hip replacement surgery. I have been home for a while now and am happy to report I am making great progress toward total recovery.

    My hip problem was with me many years, but only showed itself during the past one year. In that year my gait went from normal to limping to a sort-of painful hop on only my good leg. Clearly I was in need. So I researched greatly many options both in the USA and abroad and found that more hip operations were successfully performed overseas, specifically in India. Through my research I connected with Moe, who is Healthbase’s Customer Support Manager. He patiently answered each of my questions, even when I would call again and ask new and different questions. Moe arranged for a 3-way conversation with the surgeon of my choice, who, also through my research, I chose to be the world-renowned hip resurfacing/joint replacement surgeon, Dr. Kaushal Malhan. After consideration, I realized that Healthbase, Dr. Malhan, and Fortis hospital were the right choices for me.

    About 3 months later I was ready to take a trip to Mumbai, India to become whole again. Being adventurous, I arranged for my own airfare, while Moe arranged for my hospital stay, and the date of my surgery. My stay in the hospital was for a total of 12 days and 12 nights, which went by very quickly.

    I hopped on the plane, (actually 3 planes), and was met at the airport (at 1 am) by Bharat, who is Fortis hospital’s International Patient Relations Manager. That same night I was brought to my room, where my check-in went fast and easy.

    Let me tell you about my room. It was spacious (it was actually called a suite). It was well lit and very clean. I had all the amenities I could want – a TV, a computer, a phone, a refrigerator (stocked with complementary juices), a large easy chair, hot water-maker for coffee, lots of pillows to lounge with, and a very big bathroom area. Every day during my stay the cleaning crew came to clean everything (even the bathroom) and to change my linens.

    The day after my arrival was devoted to surgery prep, which went like clockwork. It was obvious the staff had plenty of experience. I was scared, as I had never had surgery before, but was reassured at each step by every one of the staff member’s professional demeanor. The next day was my surgery, which apparently went very well. (In addition, I also needed bone grafting – this had been explained to me the day before the surgery). I felt well and strong almost immediately after the surgery. For a few days after the surgery I was given, it seems, just the right amount of pain medication, since I felt no pain, yet could easily read a newspaper, had a normal sleep pattern, and a good appetite.

    Doctors, nurses, and dieticians would stop by my room daily to ask how I was feeling, did I need anything, and would I like to have anything different foodwise. The meals were always very tasty, as I could choose daily from a menu book, which had a wide variety of Indian or Continental cuisine. I could specify anything I would like to eat for any meal. I did eat a large amount each day, and had fresh fruit plates at least twice a day. Also, the kitchen was just a phone call away, so I could ask for anything at any time, day or night.

    I am now moving about several hours each day without crutches or a cane. My gait is coming back, and I am exercising using the routine I was taught while in the hospital. I am completely free of medication, and foresee a time in the near future when I will be able to once again take up long-distance bicycling and walks on the beach. Dr. Malhan’s skill as a surgeon has made this possible, and his minimally-invasive techniques have definitely aided in the speed at which my recovery has progressed.

    So here is the bottom line. My being a patient in Fortis Hospital was a good decision, a smart financial decision, and from a surgical standpoint, a very wise decision. My room was big and clean, the care I received was very good, the food was absolutely great, and the physical therapy I received was specific to my needs, intense but not overbearing, to which I also attribute in large part my very rapid recovery (they claim the Physiotherapy Department as ‘World Class’ – I can attest their skills truly make them such).

    Anyone who is considering joint resurfacing or replacement should seriously consider the many advantages of having Healthbase as their medical tourism facilitator. In addition, I highly recommend the staff at Fortis Hospital in Mumbai, India, and especially Dr. Kaushal Malhan, whose world-renowned surgical expertise continues to create successful outcomes in patients such as myself.

    Thanks Healthbase!

    Related links

    Medical tourism, which is the practice of traveling from one place to another for medical care, is no longer limited to patients seeking conventional treatments such as hip resurfacing, spine fusion, knee replacement, heart bypass, lap band, cosmetic surgeries, or dental treatments. Today, many are going overseas to seek “unconventional” medical tourism treatments such as those for cancer.

    Cancer patients may be driven abroad by low prices but what remains the prime motivator is the easy accessibility to the latest technology at overseas cancer hospitals.

    COMPARING THE US AND ABROAD
    Without a doubt USA is the pioneer of the latest medical technologies and the country invests heavily in cancer researches. Such developments have provided remedies for previously irremediable diseases, thereby prolonging and improving the lives of the critically ill. However, these advancements remain beyond the means of those who lack health insurance, simply because of the price tag at which they come, in the US anyway.

    But, in India or Singapore or Turkey, for instance, not only are the same state-of-the-art technologies being used, the treatments are offered at a much lesser price making them accessible to a greater part of the populace. It is not uncommon, therefore, to see surgeons in Asia working behind the gamma knife or the CyberKnife or the da Vinci robotic surgical system, treating patients from all over the world and offering their services at a much discounted rate as compared with US rates.

    COMMON CANCERS AND THEIR TREATMENTS OVERSEAS
    Cancer hospitals abroad treat all types of cancers. Though most types of cancers are suitable for overseas treatment, a patient’s candidacy can only be decided on an individual basis. The more common ones that patients go abroad to cure are prostate cancer, breast cancer and thyroid cancer.

    There are several types of cancer therapies available today. Some of them are: surgery, radiotherapy (RT), chemotherapy, palliative therapy, etc. The specific treatment plan designed by the foreign doctor will depend on: (1) the type of cancer, (2) its stage, (3) whether it has metastasized to other parts of the body, (4) the patient’s overall physical health, and so on. The doctor may decide to give a combination of various types of therapies to increase the effectiveness of the treatment.

    Following are some examples of cancer treatments given abroad to remove the cancer from the body and to treat the symptoms of the disease:
    (1) Surgical resection of the affected organ followed by radiotherapy or chemotherapy to remove any remaining cancer cells.
    (2) Depending on distant metastases state and the pathology report, the doctor might use palliative or aggressive radiation therapy.
    (3) A high dose IMRT of primary and lymph nodes (LNs).

    ISSUES WITH SEEKING CANCER TREATMENT ABROAD
    As is well known, the quality of care offered abroad is on par with what is available in the United States. So the treatment quality is not a concern. But what might be of concern is the duration of the treatment.

    When you go overseas for a surgery such as a hip resurfacing or a heart surgery, you usually need to spend no more than 2 to 3 weeks in the host country. That’s true for most of the procedures you seek abroad. But in the case of cancer treatment, the duration of the treatment is a big concern. The treatment plan that the oncologist or the doctor designs can run over a period of several months. This means longer stays for the international patient and his companion which in turn translates to higher expenditure on accommodation. To resolve this and to generate more savings, Healthbase recommends seeking long-term accommodation in service apartments instead of hotels as the former cost much less.

    Even with higher expenses on accommodation factored into the cost, the resulting savings on treating cancer abroad can amount to approximately 40-80% when compared with the cost of treatment in the United States. For an accurate cost estimate and arrangement of cancer treatment abroad, check out the Healthbase website.

    Recent advancements in the field of organ transplantation have remarkably improved the success rates of transplant surgery. However, the cost of transplant operation still remains quite high in countries such as the United States. Patients without the means to pay for the high costs of transplant surgery are, therefore, increasingly looking towards affordable medical tourism in countries such as India, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey to meet their healthcare needs.

    Organ transplantation is the surgical replacement of one of your vital or non-vital body organs which has failed or is damaged as a result of injury or illness.

    Latest advancements in the field of transplantation and regenerative medicine (stem cell therapy) have greatly improved the success rates of transplant surgery. However, lack of available donor organs and tissues continue to result in increasing number of loss of lives of those needing transplants. Currently there are more than 100,000 patients in the United States alone waiting for an organ transplant. And, thousands more get added to the list each month.

    Organs that can be possibly transplanted are vital organs such as heart, intestine, kidney, pancreas, liver, lung, bone marrow, etc. or non-vital ones such as hair.

    TRANSPLANTATION TOURISM

    The high cost of transplant operation in the United States and several other countries is driving many patients to seek affordable care in more affordable countries such as India, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey where the price differential is remarkable.

    Medical tourism, also known as transplantation tourism in this case, is increasingly becoming popular with transplant patients who have been able to find a suitable donor like a relative. Transplant surgeries overseas in India or Singapore cost as low as 20% of what they cost in the US whereas quality wise they are on par with what is available in the United States.

    GUIDELINES FOR TRANSPLANTATION TOURISM

    When you have professionally established the need for an organ transplant and are considering a transplant surgery abroad, you must do your due diligence before setting your foot in the foreign land. Following are some of the guidelines that will help you.

    Provider related: Do proper research to ascertain that the provider you settle on offers top quality of care. Thus, consider the transplant hospital‘s quality data and statistics such as success rate, quality measures, patient rating, etc. A hospital’s quality standards, such as being accredited by Joint Commission International, ensure that the quality of care offered will be top notch. Also, if possible, make sure that the facilities, equipments, technology, etc. being used by the provider are cutting edge.

    Surgeon related: Make sure that your foreign transplant surgeon and his team are highly qualified and experienced in the specific kind of organ transplantation that you are seeking. A look at the surgeon’s resume or profile should give you a pretty good idea of his qualifications.

    Aftercare related: Aftercare of an organ transplantation surgery is as important as the operation itself. Therefore, you must find out what support your foreign provider will give after you have returned to your home country. You must keep your local provider informed about your decision of going abroad to seek care.

    Law related: Last but not the least, the legal aspect of organ transplantation plays an important role when seeking a transplant surgery. Every country – home or foreign – has some or the other organ transplant laws in order to protect its citizens from potential exploitation, organ trafficking, and other such illegal acts. As such, different countries have different policies as to who is allowed to donate to whom. So, learn about the transplant policies that apply in the host country where you are seeking treatment.

    Seeking organ transplantation surgery overseas is not a simple process. However, by working with a specialized medical tourism facilitator you are relieved of the complications involved. For an accurate transplant surgery cost estimate and arrangement of organ transplant surgery abroad, check out Healthbase.com.

    OTTAWA, Feb. 3, 2010 – Accreditation Canada International partners with the Environment and Quality Assurance International Certification Center (EQAICC). The EQAICC is an international certification body with head offices in South Korea and Japan, and branch offices in China, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

    This new partnership will permit the EQAICC to implement Accreditation Canada’s international accreditation program in health care organizations in South Korea.

    “We are pleased to bring Accreditation Canada International to Korea,” says Dr. Jason Moon, CEO of EQAICC. “The high quality of Accreditation Canada’s services will be welcomed in Korea. These services will soon be expanded to Japan and China.”

    Accreditation Canada International will provide education and training to EQAICC professionals and their extensive network of surveyors. In partnership with EQAICC, several pilot projects with South Korean hospitals will be carried out to identify areas of the program that must be tailored to the South Korean health care system and environment. The hospitals will receive an accreditation recognition decision from Accreditation Canada.

    More on the story here

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    (Ottawa, Canada – January 27, 2010) As part of its expanding role in the global marketplace, Accreditation Canada International has launched Qmentum International, a new accreditation product tailored to its international clients. The Qmentum International program builds on more than 50 years of Canadian accreditation expertise. This rigorous program will challenge performance-oriented, client-focused health services organizations at all levels, while recognizing their achievements at different stages of their quality journey.

    Qmentum International focuses on quality improvement, patient safety, risk assessment and mitigation, performance measurement, and accountability. It provides a sustainable quality improvement approach through step-by-step implementation, based on ongoing support and capacity-building within the organization.

    The program is founded on Accreditation Canada’s widely recognized national accreditation program, as well as the successes of previous international programs. Fulfilling the requirements of the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua), the development was guided and supported by the expertise of an international advisory committee, with members representing the Middle East, the Caribbean, Europe, and South America.

    More on the story here.

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