Surgery in India was the only way to save William Cory Foulk’s 30-year-long calling as an endurance athlete. The cutting-edge procedure he needed wasn’t available in the U.S.—and it wouldn’t be for another five months.
So in December 2005, William took time out from his architect business, and traveled to Chennai, India, for Birmingham hip resurfacing. Just 89 days later, he ran his first post-surgery marathon, and he continues to compete to this day.
The new procedure to replace dodgy hips and wonky knees results in joints lasting twice as long as with other techniques. Even though Birmingham hip resurfacing is now available in the U.S., William was better off going abroad. Treated by the pioneers of the technique (see sidebar), he also benefitted from serious savings. While hip and knee replacements in the U.S. can cost as much as $60,000, the same procedures in India, Singapore and Thailand cost 70% to 90% less.
In India, for example, most joint-replacement procedures range from $7,100 to $9,500. Birmingham hip resurfacing—what William got—averages $9,900. In Singapore and Thailand orthopedic treatment costs are 60% less than U.S. prices.
No surprise, then, that William is just one of thousands of U.S. citizens to travel to India each year for the best care at the best price. Another top athlete, Linda Pugilese, suffered from pain until she had hip resurfacing at the same Apollo Speciality Hospital in Chennai. Not long after her procedure, she won the weapons division in the U.S. Karate National Championships.
India, Thailand and Singapore are home to some of the best orthopedics centers anywhere on earth. Their hospitals are acknowledged worldwide for success rates of 98% or higher for these procedures.
Certified by the Joint Commission International (JCI), they meet the same quality and safety standards as U.S. hospitals. The JCI is an organization that accredits medical facilities across the world, ensuring they meet the gold standard in patient safety and health care. (See: www.jointcommissioninternational.org.)
Along with their expertise in hip resurfacing, surgeons at these Asian centers specialize in cutting-edge procedures that include computer-navigated knee and shoulder joint replacement, lumbar laminectomy (a surgery to relieve pressure on spinal nerves), delicate hand surgeries, and the most current arthroscopic and reconstructive techniques.
There are top-ranked orthopedic centers all over India:
- Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi was the first hospital to receive JCI accreditation in India, see: www.apollohospdelhi.com.
- In Chennai, India’s fourth-largest city, the Apollo Speciality Hospital consistently pioneers advancements in orthopedic procedures, see: www.chennai.apollohospitals.com.
- In Mumbai, the Fortis Hospital Mulund has an exclusive partnership with Harvard Medical International (HMI), see: www.fortishospitals.in.
- In Bangalore, the staff at the Manipal Orthopedics Center has performed hundreds of knee and hip replacements, see: www.manipalhospital.org. Also in Bangalore, the Fortis Center for Bone and Joint Care offers everything from minimally invasive surgical approaches for fractures to complex trauma service, see: www.fortishospitals.in/bangalore.html
Singapore has a health care system ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the best in Asia and sixth best in the world. You have your choice of excellent hospitals:
- The National University Hospital is Singapore’s first medical center to be JCI-accredited.
- The Gleneagles Hospital and Medical Center is partnered with Johns Hopkins in the U.S. and Thames Valley Hospital in the U.K.
- The Alexandra Hospital is the highest-ranked in the Singapore Ministry of Health’s patient satisfaction surveys.
Thailand, too, has a successful track record in orthopedics. Joint replacements are among the top three most frequently performed procedures at Bangkok Hospital Medical Center, the JCI-accredited flagship of Dusit Medical Group, Southeast Asia’s largest private hospital network.
And the BNH Hospital was the first facility in Thailand to offer total artificial disc replacement—ahead of some centers in the U.S. or the European Union.
Indian Innovation Leads the Way
In 2009, one of the world’s best-known orthopedists, Dr Vijay Bose, perfected a new technique for knee replacements. It uses a ceramic device that can last at least twice as long as more traditional ones. He did it in India… where cutting-edge surgery can cost 90% less than traditional procedures in the U.S.
An orthopedic trailblazer, Dr Vijay (based at Chennai’s Apollo Speciality Hospital) has performed more than 1,200 hip-resurfacing procedures with a 99% success rate. His international peers seek him out for training.
The point is: Though it may seem far to go, once you’re on the ground in India, you can access some of the world’s most innovative orthopedic procedures—and practitioners. And it can cost as little as one-tenth (travel expenses included) what it would to receive treatment at home.
How to Slash Your Health Care Costs
International Living’s new in-depth health care report is available now. Covering seven of the world’s top medical destinations, it gives you all the details you need to get the best quality health care at the best prices. Find out more: www.intliving.com/healthcare.