Knee replacement, or knee arthroplasty, is a type of orthopedic surgery during which an injured or diseased joint is substituted with an artificial prosthesis. The procedure is aimed at avoiding the pain syndrome, restoring joint function and, thus, improving patient’s quality of life.
According to the extensive study of patients’ satisfaction with the results of primary total knee arthroplasty (TNA), expectations of up to 85% of people were met fully. There is a number of national registries (e.g. National Joint Registry of the UK, American Joint Replacement Registry) that collect information about replacement surgeries and use this data for further improvement of the treatment options.
Despite its effectiveness, arthroplasty is not indicated to all patients with severe knee disorders. Doctors always administer the full range of conservative techniques first. At early disease stages knee joint function can be restored without surgery. Thus, scrupulous patients’ selection is also important for receiving beneficial treatment outcome.
Indications for the total knee replacement
Total knee replacement is connected with common risks of the surgical intervention (e.g. infection, bleeding, pain syndrome, etc.) and requires prolonged rehabilitation period. This procedure is indicated to patients with severely damaged joints and resistance to the conservative therapy. Doctor may recommend TNA to a patient with:
- Constant and intense knee pain, joint pain at rest.
- Limited physical activity due to the disease, difficulties with walking and bending.
- Apparent deformity of the joint.
- Rigid fixation of the joint in one position (flexion, extension).
- Presence of fluid inside the knee due to inflammation.
- Poor effect or total intolerance to painkillers.
- Poor effect from non-surgical therapeutic procedures (e.g. physical therapy).
Prior to the surgery performing, it is advised to exclude possible causative agents of the knee damage. This includes treatment of the chronic infections, weight loss, regular physical activity for muscles strengthening, controlling calcium blood level and improving bone metabolism, avoiding traumatic sports.
How the joint replacement surgery is performed
Joint replacement surgery starts from careful examination. Doctor needs to estimate function of the joint, peculiarities of its shape, state of nearby bones and ligaments. Examination includes physical tests, X-ray and MRI/CT scan. Based on this data, 3D modeling of the knee prosthesis is performed. It should fit ideally in order to restore full-blown joint function.
First, doctor should choose between the total and partial knee replacement. Most candidates require total knee arthroplasty, as it fixes the whole joint. Partial (or unicompartmental) knee replacement is helpful in case of isolated damage of medial, lateral or patellofemoral compartment. Partial procedure is less expensive, connected with less blood loss and quicker postoperative recovery.
Replacement surgery itself is performed under the general or epidural anesthetic. A doctor makes few skin incisions, reaches a knee cap and moves it to the side. After that it is possible to reach damaged knee. Affected ends of the thigh bone and shin bone are removed and replaced with previously modeled metallic prostheses.
Thigh and shin parts of the prosthesis may be fixed with bone “cement” or with cementless method. Cement acts like a glue and in cementless method bone itself gradually grows into the implant. In addition, the inner part of the knee cap may be also replaced, if necessary. After that a doctor closes the operative wound with stitches or clips.
Benefits of the orthopedic treatment in Germany
Orthopedic treatment in Germany means careful patients’ selection, choosing the most suitable surgical technique and proper implant design. Success of the knee replacement in German clinics is connected with:
- High precision of the diagnostic measures (ultra-high-field MRI and CT scanners).
- Detailed 3D planning of the future intervention, prediction of the final result in advance.
- Using individually manufactured high-quality endoprostheses with extended service life (there is no necessity in changing the device in 7-10 years).
- Endoscopic interventions with minimal blood loss and absence of large scars.
- Extremely low risk of infectious complications.
- Possibility to carry out technically complex procedures in patients with bone fractures, osteoporosis, severe bone infections.
- Early rehabilitation, full restoration of the knee function.
List of the clinics that provide patients with the best knee replacement surgeons in Germany include:
- University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden.
- Charite University Hospital Berlin.
- Orthopedic Center Munich East.
- University Hospital Heidelberg.
- University Hospital Rechts der Isar Munich.
Cost of treatment and possibility of undergoing surgery abroad
Cost of treatment in leading German clinics primarily depends on the procedure type:
- Knee arthritis diagnosis – from 1,200 €.
- Total knee replacement – from 12,700 €.
- Total knee replacement with rehabilitation – from 16,500 €.
- Revision intervention with the endoprosthesis replacement – from 17,100 €.
Additional factors that influence the final cheque are patient’s age (surgeries in children are more complex) and presence of the concomitant disorders, level of the clinic and treating physician, duration of the rehabilitation program. If you want to know treatment price exactly for your case and undergo knee replacement in a clinic abroad, you should contact Booking Health.
Booking Health is the only in the world medical tourism operator that is certified to arrange treatment of international patients in the German hospitals. Should you leave the request with available medical information on the website of Booking Health, and our medical specialists will help you:
- Choose the most appropriate clinic and surgeon.
- Prepare all the necessary documents and book the appointment on the convenient day.
- Arrange additional examinations and confirm the diagnosis, if necessary.
- Go through all stages of the medical program under our independent supervision.
- Understand all the expenses and exclude additional fees for the foreigners.
- Book airplane tickets, accommodation, transfer, find the medical interpreter.
- Plan the rehabilitation program abroad, if necessary.