Everything You Need to Know About Traveling For a Hip Replacement

Posted on Thu, Jan 18, 2018

It is common for a person’s hip joint to break down through normal wear and tear. Other conditions, such as osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and bone tumors can contribute significantly to the weakening of the hip joint. While doctors typically recommend less invasive forms of treatment to begin with, such as lifestyle changes or mobility aids, modern medicine has developed surgical techniques for treating damaged hip joints that require medical intervention.

The most popular procedure, known as a hip replacement, thankfully does not involve replacing the entire hip. Instead, it is a relatively noninvasive operation during which a surgeon will make an incision near the damaged joint and, using fine motor coordination and technique, carve out the damaged section before replacing it with a fully functional, artificial part.

However, like many surgical procedures, hip replacements can be quite expensive and require a period of low activity from patients during recovery. These factors have prompted many who are considering a hip replacement to look abroad for medical treatment. These medical tourists travel thousands of miles, sometimes overseas, to find the highest quality care at the lowest price. If this sounds like you or someone that you know, here is everything that you need to know about traveling for a hip replacement.

Find a Reputable Surgeon

Thanks to the rise of medical tourism, many highly skilled surgeons are setting up shop in popular destinations such as Mexico, India, and Thailand. However, prospective patients should still be wary of second rate physicians offering seemingly good deals on medical care. Although the medical tourist industry self-regulates very well, many countries popular among healthcare travelers don’t have strong, reliable regulations of their own.

To avoid a scam, make sure to read about patient experiences for the surgeons that you are considering. Legitimate doctors will likely have partnered with local hospitals or built up reputations of their own back in the United States. It’s never a bad idea to consult with your general practitioner on your choice of surgeons and hear their thoughts.

Make Travel Plans Before You Leave

After you finish surgery you will probably want nothing more than to lie down and rest. This is a good thing and taking it easy will help your body heal, but it also means that you must take care of all logistics and planning before you depart. The two most important things to plan out are lodging and travel.

If you plan on taking a recovery vacation in your destination of choice, as many medical tourists do, you case travel apps like AirBnB to secure a place for rest and recovery. If you plan on returning home shortly after your surgery, it is advisable to travel via air ambulance. Traveling after surgery without appropriate medical support can leave you vulnerable to dangerous complications such as blood clots.

You should also consider how you plan on traveling to your destination. Longs flights can be difficult and uncomfortable for those with hip trouble. If you cannot find a friend or family member who will help you travel, a medical escort can see to all of your needs. Medical escorts can also be very helpful if you have unrelated conditions that make travel difficult.

Talk to Your Physician About a Pre-Surgery Workup

Virtually any surgical procedure will put some amount of stress on your body. This is why it is important to speak with your general practitioner about your plans for surgery and travel before finalizing the details. Be sure to ask your physician if it is appropriate for you to travel and, if so, what precautions you should take. Additionally, confirm that a hip replacement is the ideal path to treat your symptoms and that you are healthy and prepared to undergo surgery.

Traveling for a hip replacement is a great way to feel better and save money. If you decide to fly for surgery, make sure you do so responsibly by following the guidelines presented here. Good luck on your treatment and recovery!


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