Osteoarthritis, the most common cause of knee and hip pain, afflicts an estimated 40 million Americans. With the population of the United States aging every day, many predict that osteoarthritis will afflict as many as one out of every five Americans by the end of the decade.
Osteoarthritis causes the degeneration of the cartilage in both the knee and hip joints, causing those afflicted to experience severe pain and decreased mobility. While the condition is not life-threatening, it does have severe implications for the quality of life of those who suffer from osteoarthritis. If the condition is allowed to progress to an advanced stage, patients can find themselves very limited in their daily activities.
The only long-term solution to osteoarthritis of the knee or hip is total joint replacement surgery. Artificial joints can replace the deteriorated cartilage, and allow patients to return to their normal lives, usually with greatly increased mobility and reduced pain. Unfortunately, total joint replacement surgery is a costly procedure, especially in the United States. Patients without health insurance can expect to pay upward of $45,000 for a single knee or hip replacement surgery in the United States.
For Americans who cannot afford the cost of knee replacement or hip replacement surgery, there are options. Medical tourism, the practice of leaving one’s country for medical care, can offer patients significant savings. Many countries offer joint replacement surgery for a fraction of the cost of the same procedure in the United States. In Taiwan, both knee replacement surgery and hip replacement surgery can be obtained for under $12,000, at world-class hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission International.