What is a total hip replacement?
A total hip replacement surgery or THR (also known as total hip arthroplasty, full hip replacement and complete hip replacement) is a procedure performed in order to treat:
• osteoarthritis of the hip joint (bone on bone)
• severe pain in hip joint
• loss of motion in hip joint
• deformity of the hip joint
• hip injuries
• rheumatoid arthritis
• bone tumor
• bone loss due to insufficient blood supply (avascular necrosis – AVN)

What are the components of a hip implant in a total hip replacement?
total hip replacement surgery implant photo xrayIn a total hip replacement surgery, the painful parts of the damaged hip are replaced with artificial hip parts called a prosthesis, a device that substitutes or supplements a joint. The prosthesis consists of steel components: a socket, ball, and stem.

The outer shell of the socket is usually made of metal and the inner shell consists of plastic, or the entire socket may be plastic. When the metal ball is joined with the socket, the new hip can allow for smooth, nearly frictionless movement.

What are the different hip replacement implant options available?
The materials used in the implant depend on several factors, including the age of the patient, the activity level of the patient, and the surgeon’s preference.
Below are brief generic descriptions of some of the most commonly used hip replacement implants.

• Metal and Plastic Implant
These are the most commonly used hip replacement implants. Both the ball and the socket of the hip joint are replaced with a metal prosthesis, and a plastic spacer is placed in between. The metals used include titanium, stainless steel, and cobalt chrome. The plastic is called polyethylene.

• Metal-on-Metal Implant
In this case there is no plastic piece inserted in between. Metal-on-metal implants do not wear out as quickly as the metal and plastic materials.

• Ceramic-on-Ceramic Implant
Ceramic bearings are available in 2 configurations: a ceramic femoral head (ball) with a polyethylene liner, or a ceramic femoral head (ball) with a ceramic liner. These are designed to be the most resistant to wear of all available hip replacement implants and they wear even less than the metal-on-metal implants. Ceramics are more scratch resistant and smoother than any of these other implant materials.

• Metal and Highly Crosslinked Polyethylene
One of the more commonly used implants are new types of plastic that are designed to be more resistant to wearing out. These so-called highly crosslinked plastics are manufactured in a way that they wear out less quickly than the traditional plastics. However, since these implants have been available only for a few years, no long-term data is present to establish how well they work compared to the traditional plastic implants.

How is the implant affixed in the body?
This is achieved in one of three ways:
• Bone Cement: A special type of bone acrylic cement may be used to secure some or all of the implant components to the bone. If used, the bone cement takes about 15 minutes to set.
• Press-Fit or Cementless: The implants may be “press-fit” into the bone. Press-fit components may have a special porous coating that allows bone tissue to grow up to it for fixation.
• Combination: Depending upon the implant components and condition of the pelvic and thigh bone, a combination of cement and press-fit attachment may be used.

Who are some of the hip replacement implant manufacturers?
Some of the hip replacement implants manufacturers are:
Johnson & Johnson DePuy
Stryker
Biomet
Zimmer
Smith & Nephew

What activities can I do or not do after receiving a hip joint replacement?
• Typically, patients are advised to avoid high impact sports such as jogging, basketball, racquetball, gymnastics, etc.
• Safer activities may include walking, golf, swimming, and bicycling.

What is the MIS (minimally invasive surgery) approach in total hip replacement surgery? What are its benefits?
The MIS approach (also known as “keyhole surgery”) in total hip replacement (THR) is an alternative to the traditional total hip replacement surgery. Traditional surgery involves a long incision and the surgeon has to cut muscles, tendons and ligaments to access the hip joint. The more tissues that are cut, the longer it usually takes patients to heal. The MIS approach is a less invasive approach of doing a hip replacement surgery in which the size of the cut is reduced. Newer surgical techniques and tools allow MIS surgeons to place the same hip implant in a manner that allows muscles and tendons to be avoided or separated, rather than cut. This makes rehabilitation faster and less painful and causes less scarring.

Some of the potential patient benefits of the MIS procedure are:
• A single, smaller incision
• Less tissue trauma
• Spares muscles and tendons, allowing for the possibility of a faster recovery
• Faster and less painful rehabilitation
• Shorter hospital stay
• Smaller scar
• Reduced blood loss and less need for pre-surgery blood donation
• Faster return to work and daily activities

Is there an alternative to total hip replacement?
Hip replacement is usually considered for patients who are older than 60. For younger active patients, a different surgery called Birmingham hip resurfacing is a better alternative. Compare hip replacement with hip resurfacing.

How much does a total hip replacement surgery cost?
Check out:
Hip replacement in India
Hip replacement in Belgium
Hip replacement in Mexico

Who are some of the well-known surgeons who perform the hip replacement surgery?
Dr. Vijay C. Bose
Dr. Kaushal Malhan
Dr. Yash Gulati
Dr. Raju Vaishya
Dr. Sanjiv KS Marya
Dr. Koen De Smet
Dr. Dario Garin

Check out patient stories here.

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MEDICAL OUTSOURCING

Dictionary.com defines outsourcing as “a practice used by different companies to reduce costs by transferring portions of work to outside suppliers rather than completing it internally”. The term which has been generally associated with the automobile industry was popularized during the past decade by the computer or IT industry. But when it is the health industry in question, how does outsourcing work there? What is outsourced and how?

If you are thinking it’s the drug manufacturing that is outsourced, you are wrong. Nor is it the bookkeeping that is outsourced. What is outsourced is the patient himself or rather he chooses to have his treatment done offshore. The driving cause is the high cost of health care in his home country. Or in certain other cases, the long waits before he can get the needed treatment.

So, medical outsourcing or offshore medical which is also commonly known as medical tourism is the practice of seeking health care abroad. But, who provides these outsourcing services?

There are lots of offshore health care providers in the form of hospitals and clinics participating in this business. Some of them can be found on the other side of the border while others may be a few oceans across. Examples include those in India, Singapore, Thailand, Mexico, Turkey, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, and so on. Some of them give excellent service – even superior to what you can get at home using the latest technology and by world-renowned surgeons – while others may not be as great. To show their commitment towards top quality, many providers also have international accreditations like JCI, JACHO, ISO, etc. Some have strategic alliances with well-known US health care providers like Cleveland Clinic, Harvard Medical International and Johns Hopkins.

International health care providers are able to provide you with high quality treatment at an affordable cost mainly because of low labor cost, low administrative cost, low malpractice cost and low living cost in their country. That’s the same reason why IT companies started outsourcing.

Now the obvious question arises – how do you find the right provider for your needs? The answer is do research. There are lots of resources available – news, articles, blogs, forums, testimonials, etc. Many people find it useful to work with a health tourism facilitator or medical tourism facilitator like Healthbase (http://www.healthbase.com). They are specialized facilitators who carefully screen and partner with international healthcare providers that meet up to the high standards of patients from the US, the UK, Canada, etc. They also help patients with all the logistics involved in getting a surgery abroad.

There are a few other things that you will need to do for a successful experience in getting your surgery overseas. Getting into the details of all of them is beyond the scope of this article. Here are some of them: doing a thorough research on the surgery in question to establish your suitability for it as well as for medical tourism, getting to learn about your medical travel destination, arranging all your medical records and sending them to the international hospital, securing passport and visa, booking tickets, and more. You may want to start here: http://www.healthbase.com/resources/medical-tourism/medical-tourism-information.

Earlier, people would go abroad mostly for elective cosmetic procedures which were not covered by insurances. Today, people outsource their orthopedic procedures as well as cardiac surgeries as well as organ transplants. It’s not just individuals who are interested in this trend to save money. Medical outsourcing has also received attention from health insurance companies who have started offering overseas treatment plans to expand their customer base, and from employers who have included it as a benefit to their employees.

At the time of writing this article, neither Merriam Webster nor Dictionary.com had an entry for “medical outsourcing”. But given the speed with which the trend is spreading, pretty soon they will have to update their dictionaries.

You can learn more about medical outsourcing, the details of the process, international healthcare providers and arrange your surgery by logging on to http://www.healthbase.com. Healthbase.com is a medical tourism facilitator committed to providing low-cost high quality medical travel services to the global medical consumer.

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MEDICAL TOURISM GUIDE

Today, cheap yet world-class surgeries are just a flight away. But the deluge of information available out there can overwhelm anybody. So, here is a quick guide to medical tourism to answer most of your questions about the phenomenon.

WHAT IS MEDICAL TOURISM?
Medical tourism is the process of traveling abroad to receive superior medical, dental and cosmetic care by highly skilled surgeons at some of the most modern and state-of-the-art medical facilities in the world…all at a fraction of the price in the US, UK and Canada.

MEDICAL TOURISM OFFERINGS
1. Incredible Savings: Compare a $7,000 hip resurfacing in India with a $48,000 one in the US. In general you are able to save 50% to 90%.
2. Excellent Quality: Many international providers are accredited by JCI, JCAHO and ISO or by local accrediting organizations. They have world-class facilities, have access to the latest technology and provide personalized service. If in doubt, read testimonials by patients who have experienced treatment overseas.
3. Surgeon Expertise: Most surgeons catering to international patients have either been educated or have received professional training at top schools in the US, UK or in other countries in Europe.
4. No Wait-Lists: Access to immediate service is what attracts those from countries that have public health care system towards medical tourism.
5. Longer Hospital Stay: You can have a longer hospital stay than possible in your local hospital back home under the supervision of your surgeon and physical therapist.
6. Travel Opportunities: While the primary motivation for most customers is affordable surgery, the opportunity to visit exotic destinations is an additional draw for some.

WHO SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN MEDICAL TOURISM?
In general, most medical tourists are either uninsured, underinsured or those seeking elective surgeries. Others resort to medical tourism due to the long wait-lists or unavailability of certain procedures in their country.

WHICH COUNTRIES OFFER THE BEST SERVICES?
The most popular medical travel destinations are India, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, Belgium, and Argentina amongst others. Some of these countries are considered best for cardiac surgery, others for orthopedic surgery and yet others for plastic surgery. You should base your selection on: quality, distance and cost.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT PROVIDER
When choosing a provider, don’t get swayed by attractive packages and fancy websites. Read and watch what others are saying about the particular hospital, clinic or surgeon. Check out the facility pictures and videos. Consider the provider’s accreditation, awards and recognitions, facility and equipments, statistics like success rates, etc.

WILL MY HEALTH INSURANCE PAY FOR IT?
Insurance companies are keenly looking into medical tourism as an option though most haven’t adopted it into their plans yet. So check with your health insurer for details.

SHOULD I COMBINE “SUN, SAND, AND SEA” WITH SURGERY?
That depends.
Usually after a cosmetic surgery, you are advised not to expose your body to the sun or to sea water. But, you can always choose to enjoy them before your surgery.
With certain other medical procedures, it’s best for you to stay indoors and relax after your surgery.
In any case, you should always consult your surgeon if you have travel or tourism on your mind.

WHAT ARE MEDICAL TOURISM FACILITATORS?
Medical tourism facilitators like Healthbase are specialized facilitators that connect you with the hospital of your choice while providing all or some other valuable 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, airport pick-up and drop-off, hospital escort, tickets, travel insurance, hotel booking, tourism services in the destination country, etc.

This medical tourism guide is just a starting step. You should do the proper required research before you fly to your medical tourism destination.

You can learn more about the growing trend of medical tourism, international healthcare facilities and surgeons and the details of the medical tourism process by logging on to http://www.healthbase.com. Healthbase.com is a medical tourism facilitator committed to providing low-cost high quality medical travel services to the global medical consumer.

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