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Knee transplants may be treatment for knee pain


January 11th, 2010 by Formosa Medical Travel

As osteoarthritis continues to afflict more and more Americans, sufferers turn to different treatments to ease the pain and regain mobility. Although knee replacement surgery is considered the most effective and long-lasting treatment to knee pain, an advanced procedure is being pursued by some younger patients: knee cartilage transplantation.


Osteoarthritis causes the deterioration of the cartilage in the knee. The cartilage serves as a load bearing zone and allows for flexion of the joint. Unfortunately, cartilage has poor regenerative qualities and, once afflicted by osteoarthritis, can degenerate quickly. Once osteoarthritis has progressed to an advanced stage, simple tasks such as walking can prove very painful or even impossible.


In performing a cartilage transplant, doctors first must perform a biopsy. In this minor surgery, surgeons take a sample of knee cartilage from the non-essential area — that is, the zone that does not bear weight. The biopsy is then taken to a lab, where it is cultured and grown into millions of cartilage cells.


The cultured cells are then used to replace the damaged knee cartilage, in a more-invasive surgical procedure. Once the undeveloped cartilage cells have been re-inserted, a period of about three months is necessary for them to continue the healing process and replace the damaged area of the knee.


Younger patients are more suited for cartilage transplants than older ones. Some doctors recommend that the operation only be pursued by patients in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s, while older patients should consider either partial or total knee replacement surgery.



Common misconceptions about total hip and total knee replacement surgery


November 23rd, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of knee and hip pain, afflicting an estimated 40 million Americans. Also known as degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis can cause the deterioration of both the knee and hip. As the US population continues to age, it is estimated that osteoarthritis will affect as many as one in five Americans by the year 2020.


Although osteoarthritis is not life-threatening, it does have significant effects on the quality of life of those who suffer from it. While non-surgical treatments such as anti-inflammatory drugs – i.e. Naproxen, Aleve, Proxen, etc., and joint fluid injections (such as Hyaluronan, Synvisc, and Synflex) can delay the need for surgery, the only long-term solution is total joint replacement surgery.


There are a number of misconceptions about total hip replacement and total knee replacement surgery. The most common is that total knee replacement and total hip replacement are highly-dangerous procedures. In reality, total knee replacement and total hip replacement surgery have the highest success rates of any elective surgeries performed today.


Currently, the vast majority of knee and hip replacement surgeries are performed in minimally-invasive fashion. This allows for minimal scarring and faster healing times, while maintaining the same success rate. While some believe that minimally-invasive procedures may result in different outcomes, the data show that these procedures are equal to their more-invasive counterparts – the only difference being the size and appearance of the incision.


Another misconception is the idea that joint replacements can only last as long as twenty years. This is not necessarily the case. The reason for this is, of course, that the data being used for this assumption is based on knee and hip replacements that were performed twenty years ago. Research is constantly being done to increase the performance of joint replacement devices, and a great deal of time has gone into developing improved models. New production methods and materials will likely increase the lifetime of hip and knee replacements in the future.



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.



Medical tourism to experience resurgence, says Deloitte


November 11th, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

In a new report, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions projects medical tourism to rebound strongly from the effects of the economic recession in coming years.


The report, entitled “Medical Tourism: Update and Implications”, says that while outbound medical travel from the United States fell by nearly 14% between 2007 and 2009 as a result of the recession, it is predicted to show a strong resurgence as economic conditions improve. The number of outbound medical travelers could be as much as 5 million per year by 2017, the report suggests, if the industry continues to grow at the expected rate of 35% per year.


Paul H. Keckley, executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions,  expects outbound medical tourism to continue its rapid growth despite the efforts at healthcare reform in the United States. “There is nothing in current health reform bills that decelerates the cost of care,” said Keckley, “so that contributes to the appetite that people have.”


Healthcare costs will continue to rise by six percent per year for the next decade, the report says, making medical tourism an increasingly attractive option for the aging US population. With medical tourism “offering savings of up to 70 percent after travel expenses, we anticipate that the industry will recover from the current economic downturn,” said Heckley.  ”Medical tourism represents an important option for patient populations who need care but lack adequate out-of-pocket funds to afford a procedure in the U.S., or those who seek lower prices for purposes of savings.”

Medical tourism represents an important option for patient populations who need care but lack
adequate out-of-pocket funds to afford a procedure in the U.S., or those who seek lower prices
for purposes of savings.


Knee Replacement Alternatives


November 3rd, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

Knee Replacement Alternatives

There are a number of alternatives to knee replacement surgery that sufferers of osteoarthritis should consider before getting a total knee replacement. As the cost of knee replacement surgery increases in the United States, many people are exploring new methods for arthritis relief.

 

Most knee replacement alternatives focus on limiting pain, rather than treating the cause. Some options include anti-inflammatory medications, lifestyle changes, and other treatments – which can often reduce the pain caused by osteoarthritis, and delay the need for a knee replacement. In the intermediate stages of osteoarthritis, many patients are given joint fluid therapy, also known as “chicken shots” or “rooster juice“.  Chicken shots for knee pain relief are a currently a very popular alternative to total knee replacement surgery.

 

Cortisone shots and Synvisc injections are also often succesful in limiting knee pain in the short term. However, in many cases, patients who are seeking a long-term solution to osteoarthritis should consider surgical treatment.

 

Before getting total knee replacement surgery, consult your doctor about some of these less-expensive alternatives.






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