WHAT IS IT?
Replacement of an injured or damaged knee joint is called total or partial knee arthroplasty. The goal is to relieve pain, improve flexibility and ability to walk and function normally. This surgery uses a medical device known as an artificial knee joint, typically made of metal alloys, specialized high-grade plastics and polymers.
ARE YOU A CANDIDATE?
During your consultation with our orthopedic surgeons, your physician will discuss the procedure that is best for your situation and medical needs. Knee surgery options range from arthroscopic removal of damaged or torn cartilage, partial joint replacement, all the way to the most involved: a total knee joint replacement.
Need for knee replacement usually happens due to serious injury such as trauma, or the diseases osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis that damage bone and wear away the normal cushioning cartilage of the knee that allows for normal walking without pain. When arthritis or injury damage the joint surfaces, it causes pain with walking or climbing stairs, immobility, and stiffness. Pain may be so severe that it happens at rest or even disrupts sleep.
The surgeon will evaluate your medical condition and overall health, and determine if you meet the criteria to undergo surgery.
WHAT BENEFITS CAN I EXPECT?
With today’s advances in knee surgery techniques, your stay in the hospital is typically only a few days, and you will be assisted by the physiotherapist (similar to physical therapists in the US) to start standing and walking very quickly with the assistance of a cane or walker at the beginning. After discharge, we will recommend the appropriate physical therapy to help reduce pain, regain your knee strength, flexibility and normal mobility.
Most knee replacement patients experience significant pain relief, improved mobility, overall better function for walking and climbing stairs, etc. Patients also typically report improved quality of sleep and overall better quality of life. Within four to six weeks, most patients are back to their full normal daily activities. Â Your surgeon will advise you about any limitations in activity based on age, weight and other factors but most people are able to return to low-impact activities, such as swimming, golfing or biking. Most surgeons advise avoiding all high impact activities such as jogging, skiing, tennis, or contact sports.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE RISKS?
Your risks of developing complications during surgery depends on several key factors: your general health before surgery, the skill of the surgeon and surgical team, the quality of the hospital facility. Any major surgery has potential general risks that we do our best to minimize by carefully evaluating all our patients with medical and surgical review and consultation before you ever leave home to do our best to be sure that:
- you meet the appropriate criteria for the procedure,
- you are medically stable to travel and undergo surgery,
- you are mentally prepared and feel comfortable with your surgeon,
- your surgeon has the right training and experience to meet your needs,
- the hospital has all the facilities and equipment to properly carry out the surgery recommended.
Med Expert Chile has selected the leading surgeons in their fields and one of the top private hospitals in Santiago known for its meticulous attention to reducing risks of infection and complications during surgeries. With over 25,000 surgeries in 2013, our partner hospital had a 0.8% infection rate, one of the lowest in the world.
General risks of any major surgery can include, but not limited to, infection, excessive bleeding or blood clots, adverse reactions to anesthesia, inadvertent damage to other tissues surrounding the surgical site, or in very rare cases, disability or death.
Specific risks for your particular procedure will be discussed ahead of time by your surgeon.
We do everything possible to reduce these risks and help you feel comfortable and prepared to go forward with surgery.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
We do not sell “Off-the-shelf” surgeries at a fixed cost. We determine the right procedure for each person after our medical-surgical consultation to discuss your best options. A precise cost estimate can only be given after our Medical Director and Surgeons have completely evaluated your specific case and your medical needs and discussed all this with you.
Patsy tells us about her outstanding medical care experience in Santiago Chile for her knee surgery and physiotherapy, at much lower cost than the United States. She was an RN for 35 years in the US before coming to Santiago, and clearly knows how to evaluate the best medical and surgical care.