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Ontario attempting to reduce hip, knee replacement wait times


December 19th, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

An agency in eastern Ontario is launching an effort to bring down the long wait times for knee and hip replacement surgery in Ontario, Canada.


Currently, wait times for knee replacement and hip replacement surgery can be almost a year in many parts of eastern Ontario, compared with a provincial average of under 200 days. To help reduce this wait time, the Champlain Local Health Integration Network plans to launch a “Regional Hip and Knee Replacement Program” in early 2010, which is aimed at improving the quality of care offered to residents of the region.  ”The idea is to try and reduce wait times” and “improve efficiencies,” said Dr. John Gordon, the lead physician for the program.


Wait times are a common theme for patients with debilitating osteoarthritis. While some methods are available to delay the need for knee replacement and hip replacement surgery, most patients with severe osteoarthritis of the hip or knee must, sooner or later, pursue joint replacement surgery to treat the problem. The long waiting lists in many parts of Canada require many patients to suffer pain and reduced mobility in the months leading up to surgery.


There are concerns that, if the United States adopts a healthcare system similar to that in Canada, there will be similar issues related to waiting lists. Since osteoarthritis is not considered a life-threatening condition, joint replacement surgery is often put off until it has reached a very advanced stage, which has large implications for the quality of life of those afflicted by osteoarthritis.



Treatments available for osteoarthritis of the knee


November 18th, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

Because the cause of osteoarthritis is not known, there is no immediate cure, say experts. The only option to permanently get rid of the disease is by removing it, via total joint replacement. Osteoarthritis can be the direct cause of knee stiffness, knee pain, loss of movement, and inflexibility. There are, however, treatments which can help reduce pain and delay the need for total knee replacement or total hip replacement.


Some anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Naproxen – marketed under names such as Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn, Proxen, and Synflex – can be used in pain reduction and to reduce inflammation in the short term. These drugs can be a relatively safe alternative to surgery, although they are not without their risks.


Some treatments that are growing in popularity are joint fluid therapy and hyaluronan therapy, in which injections are made into the afflicted area to help restore movement and reduce pain. These treatments – which go under a number of names, including Synvisc, Supartz, Hyalgan, Euflexxa, chicken shots, rooster juice, and viscosupplementation – can often delay the need for a knee replacement  by months, or even years. Cortisone shots are also sometimes administered as treatment. However, while some patients experience improvements in their condition, others report little to no benefit.


For younger, more active patients, a procedure known as knee osteotomy is sometimes used to shift the patient’s weight to the non-arthritic side of the knee. This is a less-invasive procedure, which can often delay the need for a total knee replacement for up to ten years.


For many patients, total joint replacement surgery is often the only long-term cure for osteoarthritis. In knee replacement surgery, surgeons replace the weight-bearing portions of the bone with artificial devices. This procedure, developed in the 1960s, has evolved over the years into one of the safest surgeries performed – although complications can occur in a small minority of patients. Knee replacements can last as long as 20 years in many patients, although the life of the device is dependent on many factors, such as the patient’s activity level.


For the millions of Americans suffering from debilitating knee pain and loss of mobility as a result of osteoarthritis, there are treatments. Anti-inflammatory drugs, joint fluid therapy, and knee osteotomy are all options that patients should consider when attempting to reduce knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. However, total knee replacement remains most successful treatment for curing osteoarthritis.






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