What is a knee replacement?
Also known as arthroplasty, knee replacement is a common solution for resurfacing a knee damaged by severe arthritis or an irreparable knee injury.
Today it is considered one of the most consistently successful surgical procedures. Over 600,000 are performed each year in the United States alone.
Which countries are the most popular destinations for this procedure?
India, Thailand and Costa Rica.
What is the range of prices?
In the U.S. it’s $35,000,
$25,000 in Israel,
$17,500 in South Korea,
$16,000 in Singapore,
$14,000 in Thailand,
$12,900 in Mexico,
$12,500 in Costa Rica,
$10,400 in Turkey,
$9,500 in Jordan,
$8,200 in Poland,
$8,000 in Vietnam,
$7,700 in Malaysia,
$7,200 in Colombia,
$6,600 in India.
What are the common complications if the procedure is performed abroad?
Complications following total knee replacement are experienced by 1.65 to 11.3 percent of all patients. These complications include wounds that heal too slowly or inadequately, infections, blood clots in veins (which can be fatal if the clot reaches the lung), numbness in the leg or foot (the most common neurological injury), impaired functioning of the knee (which can be addressed through physiotherapy or an additional surgical procedure), and persistent pain and dissatisfaction (which is reported by as many as 20 percent of patients).
An example of a botched knee replacement
Yes, even in the United States.
In 2008, a 51-year-old woman named Jessie Mae Ned underwent knee replacement surgery at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. She was born in the same hospital, and as a former employee of its housekeeping department, she knew the hospital well and trusted its staff. She was mistaken. “You’re a guinea pig when you come to Parkland,” she later told a local newspaper.
Parkland is the primary teaching hospital for the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Jessie Mae’s surgery was assigned to a surgical resident trainee. The operation resulted in so many complications that she was forced to endure 23 additional operations over the next 16 months. Worse yet, an investigation found that “key portions of her post-operative care were handled by an unlicensed medical student who didn’t recognize symptoms of a major surgical injury.” The care she received was so substandard that ultimately her leg had to be amputated.
Although she had private insurance, Jessie Mae was left destitute and Medicaid was forced to pick up $1 million in costs. “I went from being a person who could pay all my bills to nothing,” she lamented. “All I do is beg.”
For its part, Parkland, which until then boasted that it was “considered the premier public hospital in the United States,” was forced to admit that its medical professionals “harms two patients a day in a significant way.”