Talk to a money minded orthopedic surgeon and the first piece of advice you would get for you swollen knee/hip joint would be to have it replaced. However, a qualified orthopedic surgeon would first ask to you try out all forms of non-surgical treatment options before choosing surgery. He would recommend that you choose surgery only as a last resort when all other treatment options have failed. So let us take a look at the myriad treatment options available for hip/knee joint problems, including the surgical options as well.
The Need for Joint Surgery
Even though the body can repair itself, the joints can become fragile with time. Joint pains are usually caused when the cartilage between the bones wears away, causing conditions like osteoarthritis in the long run. The unbearable pain and discomfort caused by the condition would urge one to get joint replacement surgery sooner or later.
Non-Surgical Ways to take care of the joints
While surgery is considered as the last resort for hip/knee joint related issues, there are many ways to slow down the process, thus buying an individual some time before opting for surgery. Some of the more common treatment options include losing weight, placing less impact on the joints, avoiding high impact sports like running, cycling or swimming, etc., avoiding injury to the joints, exercising, OTC medications, prescription drugs, acupuncture and dietary supplements, etc.
Some other more recent treatment options to take care of the joints without opting for surgery include:
These are fitted by a physical therapist and help improve the alignment of the knees, thus helping reduce joint pain.
- Corticosteroid Injections
These injections are administered to the kneed joints in order to reduce the pain and inflammation in the region.
- Hyaluronic Acid Injections
These are also administered in the knee joints and supplement the lubricant that is missing in the arthritic joints. The injections would thus, reduce the pain and discomfort caused by the joints as well as improve function.
- Electrical Stimulation
This method would either encourage the creation of new cartilage to support the bones, or strengthen the thigh muscles in order to stabilize the knee joints.
Opting for Hip/Knee Joint Surgeries
A large number of people have started opting for hip/knee joint surgeries these days. However, the rising healthcare costs in countries like the U.S. and UK are forcing the people from these countries to travel overseas for the same procedures.
While some of these individuals travel for elective procedures that are already covered by their insurance, others travel solely because their insurance does not cover the costs of the procedure back home. There are also those who wish to travel to foreign locations for hip/knee joint surgeries in order to avoid the exceedingly long waiting lines back home, as well as squeeze a nice vacation in an exotic location in the process of getting treated.
Countries that lead in hip/knee joint surgeries
A number of countries around the world have started welcoming medical tourists to their world class medical facilities for high end hip/knee joint surgeries. Most of these countries are from the Asian continent, including Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and India who enjoy thousands of medical tourists for these as well as several other medical procedures and treatments every year.
The past few years have seen countries in the Middle East and Latin America also upgrade their medical facilities and surgical training centers in order to lure more medical tourists to their shores. These facilities also offer a range of surgical procedures, including hip/knee joint surgery for highly affordable costs when compared to the U.S. or UK.
Some of these facilities also offer the latest in knee surgery techniques in order to attract medical tourists who are wary of going under the knife or are apprehensive of the long recovery periods post-surgery. These new techniques would use minimally invasive methods to correct the joint without much blood loss or scarring. They would also come with the added bonuses of a quick recovery period and very little downtime, thus assuring near 100% patient satisfaction.
Several non-surgical ways exist to protect the joints which need to be tried out before choosing to get surgically operated for the same.