Total hip replacement surgery, also known as hip arthroplasty, was first performed in the early 1960’s. Since then the procedure has been giving victims of hip joint failure a new lease on life, rather than being confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of their years.
Since those very first successful operations, around half a million people a year undergo total hip replacement surgery worldwide, and thanks to numerous improvements and advancements in both process and hardware, recovery times are now shorter than ever before and post-operation discomfort has been drastically reduced. In fact, many patients’ lives are now virtually unchanged after a hip surgery or replacement.
The only major hindrance for many patients in America is the price. Since the cost of major medical care in the USA is so incredibly inflated, and so many people are uninsured or underinsured, hip replacement surgery remains beyond the financial reach of millions. In recent years though, because healthcare has made such huge strides forward in many countries, healthcare in many places is now just as modern and high-quality as the care found in the United States. As a result, medical tourism has become a multi-billion dollar industry with around a million Americans a year choosing to travel abroad for their needed treatments.
One of the countries at the forefront of this healthcare revolution is Mexico. This is thanks to its well-trained and experienced doctors, surgeons, and other medical staff, most of whom speak fluent English, along with its clean, modern, and comfortable hospitals and much more affordable pricing.
The Quality Of Medical Care In Mexico
In spite of what many Americans may think, Mexico is a very modern country with regards to healthcare, and its higher education system is based-on, and very similar to, that of the USA. As a result, doctors and medical specialists are educated, trained, and licensed in practically the same way in both countries. In fact Mexico, like many other countries with well-developed medical industries, actually requires its surgeons and specialists to undergo far more frequent testing and attendance of continuing education programs to keep their medical license valid for practice than doctors in the USA. This means that, in essence, many overseas doctors are more up-to-date on the latest medical practices and technology than a lot of their American counterparts.
Furthermore, most surgeons in Mexico are highly specialized in their fields and tend to concentrate on a singular discipline or type of operation, thus many orthopedic specialists in Mexico routinely perform only one type of joint replacement procedure, making it the entire focus of their career and allowing them to become extremely experienced and skilled in one particular aspect of patient care.
With regards to the quality of the medical facilities, it should be pointed out that nearly all medical tourists and foreigners visiting Mexico for their healthcare are receiving care and treatments in private hospitals and clinics, since Mexico’s public hospitals are reserved for locals who qualify for the country’s socialized medical care plan.
This is fine with most patients, however, since not only are Mexico’s private healthcare facilities’ décor and environment more comfortable, but their staff are also known for their friendly demeanor and excellent bedside manner. Beyond these aspects, it should be noted that many of the private hospitals in Mexico voluntarily request examination by the International Joint Commission (IJC), an independent hospital testing and accreditation board that certifies their methods, equipment, services and practices to be compliant with the guidelines set forth by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These are the same governing organizations that set, scrutinize, and enforce the strict procedures, standards, and protocols that are required to be maintained by all private hospitals operating in the USA.
Hip Repair Procedures Available In Mexico
Mexico has been successfully performing total hip replacement surgeries since the early 1970’s, nearly as long as the USA, and doctors in Mexico actually have considerably more experience in the newer, less-invasive procedure known as hip resurfacing. In fact, this specialized procedure has only been approved for regular patient use in the USA by the FDA since 2007, whereas it was being routinely practiced in Mexico several years prior. Thus, Mexico’s reputation as a leader in hip surgery shines through.
Price Comparisons: Mexico vs. USA
Most people know that hip surgery and replacement in the United States is expensive, along with just about every other type of medical treatment for that matter. Yet since few individuals have a spare $20,000 to $60,000 (US) laying around to pay for a hip replacement and hospital stay, these prices can still come as quite a shock.
Interestingly, of that amount the typical cost for the total hip replacement surgery alone, a fairly straightforward one to two hour procedure, ranges from around $4,000 to $10,000 in the USA. The additional costs are a result of the exorbitant rates charged by the hospitals for surgical suite rental, overnight recovery stay, and supplies and medications that are sold at huge markups to patients who have no choice but to pay. For this reason, it’s good to know that equally high-quality options at much lower prices are readily available for those willing to travel.
The actual hip replacement surgery in Mexico is not significantly cheaper than the USA, since hardware, equipment, sedatives, and the surgeon’s skilled hands are all essentially the same. The cost savings comes from not being charged the massive hospitals bills that are so common in the USA.
Thus a typical total hip replacement surgery in Mexico, including surgery and hospitalization in a clean, modern, convenient facility along with all medication and services ranges from $9,000 to $12,000 (US). This is an estimated savings of 50% or more for every patient, and the clear choice for thousands of Americans every year.