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A Complete Guide to Knee Replacement Surgery in India for Nigerians (2024)

Over the years, India has emerged as a global hub for medical tourism, offering world-class healthcare services at a fraction of the cost compared to many Western countries. Among all the medical procedures available, knee replacement surgery in India is one of the most sought-after treatments. 

In this guide, we will provide a step-by-step process on how to get knee replacement surgery in India for Nigerians. Whether you’re considering knee replacement surgery for yourself or a loved one, this guide aims to provide you with all the resources needed to get a knee replacement surgery in India.

What Is A Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee replacement is a surgical procedure to resurface a knee damaged by arthritis. Metal and plastic parts are used to cap the ends of the bones that form the knee joint, along with the kneecap. This surgery may be considered for someone who has a severe knee injury.

Various types of arthritis may affect the knee joint but the most popular one Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease affects mostly middle-aged and older people. It causes the breakdown of joint cartilage and adjacent bone in the knees. The goal of knee replacement surgery is to resurface the parts of the knee joint that have been damaged and to relieve knee pain that other treatments cannot control.

Types of Knee Replacement

There are two main types of knee replacement surgery. Your surgeon will recommend either a total or partial knee replacement. 

  • Total Knee Replacement (TKR): This is the most common type of knee replacement where the surgeon replaces all three areas of your knee joint. The inside (medial), outside (lateral) and under your kneecap (patellofemoral) are replaced with implants.
  • Partial Knee Replacement (PKR): A partial knee replacement involves the surgeon replacing only some areas of your knee joint, usually one or two areas that are damaged. Partial knee replacements are more common in younger adults who’ve experienced an injury or trauma.

Indications for Knee Replacement

Several conditions can lead to the consideration of knee replacement surgery. Some of the common ones include:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most common cause of knee pain and stiffness, particularly in older adults. It involves the breakdown of cartilage, the cushioning material between the bones in your knee joint. Osteoarthritis can affect any of your joints, but most commonly develops in the: Hands, Knees, Hips, Neck (cervical spine), and lower back (lumbar spine).
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation and damage to various joints, including the knees.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis: This can develop after a severe knee injury, leading to long-term joint damage.

Source: Cleveland Clinic

Signs that a Knee Replacement Might be Necessary

Here are some potential signs that a knee replacement might be an option to consider:

  • Severe pain and stiffness in your knee that interferes with daily activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, or getting up from a chair.
  • Non-surgical treatment options are no longer working
  • Pain that persists even at rest or at night.
  • Significant swelling and inflammation in your knee.
  • Limited range of motion in your knee.

Getting A Knee Replacement Surgery in India

India has become a popular destination for medical tourism, attracting thousands of patients each year seeking knee replacement surgery. This growing number is driven by several factors. 

  • Cost-Effective: The cost of knee replacement surgery in India is cheaper compared to the US, UK, Italy, France etc. Also, many Indian hospitals have transparent pricing structures, allowing patients to understand the total cost upfront. This includes medical fees, hospital stays, implant costs, and other associated charges.
  • Medical Expertise: India boasts a pool of internationally trained and experienced orthopaedic surgeons specialising in knee replacement surgery. Many surgeons have obtained fellowships or advanced training offering patients access to the latest surgical techniques. They also manage a broad spectrum of knee problems, from osteoarthritis cases to complex revisions and revision surgeries. This extensive experience allows them to tailor the surgical approach to each patient’s individual needs.
  • Medical Technology: Top hospitals in India are equipped with advanced medical infrastructure for knee replacement surgery. This includes minimally invasive surgical techniques, high-precision robotic-assisted surgery, and imaging tools for pre-operative planning and post-operative evaluation.
  • Medical Tourism Support: Hospitals in India prioritise providing a patient-centric experience, especially for their international clients. They ensure clear communication, cultural sensitivity, and personalised care throughout the entire journey. Some even offer:
    • Visa Guidance
    • Airport pick-up and drop-off
    • Hospital and accommodation arrangements

Step-By-Step Process Of Getting A Knee Replacement Surgery in India

Embarking on a journey for knee replacement surgery in India involves several important steps. Here’s a step-by-step process to guide you:

Step 1: Extensive Research Of Reputable Hospitals in India

Begin by researching reputable hospitals and healthcare providers in India that specialise in orthopaedic surgeries. Look for facilities with experienced surgeons, positive patient reviews, and international accreditation.

  • Online search: A quick Google search can provide information on hospitals in India that are best for foreigners. You can read reviews and go through their ratings to have an idea of what the doctor’s or hospital experience is like.
  • Recommendations: Ask for recommendations from family, friends, your doctor or Medvisit for guidance. People with personal experiences are in a better position to inform you on what step to take. 

Step 2: Gather Your Medical Records

Collect all relevant medical records, including X-rays, MRI scans, and a detailed medical history. These documents will be crucial for the initial assessment by the healthcare professionals in India.

Step 3: Cost Estimation and Financial Planning

Obtain detailed cost estimates for the surgery, including hospital fees, pre-surgery tests, and post-operative care. Factor in travel, accommodation, and any additional expenses. Ensure that you have a clear understanding of the payment process.

Step 4: Obtain Your India Medical Visa

Research the visa requirements for medical travel to India. After you understand the process, apply for a medical visa, which often requires a letter from the healthcare provider in India detailing the nature of your treatment. Also, ensure compliance with any related travel restrictions.

Step 5: Make Travel Arrangements Plans

Plan your travel, including flights and accommodation. Many hospitals in India are in partnership with nearby hotels or provide accommodation options for international patients. Ask the hospital where you will be receiving treatment about this and make sure you make the necessary arrangements. 

Step 6: Surgery and Post-operative Care

Undergo your knee replacement surgery as planned. Post-surgery, follow the recommended rehabilitation and physiotherapy treatment. The hospital’s international patient department will assist you with any post-operative care requirements.

Step 7: Follow-up Care and Return Home

Attend scheduled follow-up appointments with your orthopaedic surgeon before returning home. Obtain a detailed medical report and any necessary documentation for follow-up care in your home country.

Remember to communicate regularly with the healthcare provider in India and follow their guidance throughout the process. Additionally, consider consulting with a medical travel facilitator like Medvist who can assist you in coordinating various aspects of your journey for a smoother and seamless experience.

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