Arthroplasty is the replacement of worn-out or damaged hip or knee joint. A hip or knee replacement is an orthopaedic surgery performed in order to restore movement and relieve the pain within the joint. Hip and knee arthroplasty replaces a dysfunctional joint with a prosthetic implant.
Hip and knee pain that affects your daily life can be really difficult to live with. As the joints are affecting simple daily tasks can feel like a mammoth, painful chore; climbing the stairs, getting in and out of the bath, driving, being able to visit friends and family. This in turn can have an enormous negative impact on your personal health and wellbeing. Yet, it can be resolved with joint replacement surgery. However, due to the pandemic situation in the UK, every NHS hospital in the UK has now suspended or delayed all non-urgent elective operations. In addition, other medical services like specialist visits and scans, x-ray or MRI are under strain and in many cases unavailable. Many NHS patients have been asked to wait a further 6-12 months in addition to existing treatment delays.
Are you in need of a hip or knee arthroplasty? Should you go abroad for the procedure?
A second lockdown in the UK has further increased waiting times within the NHS, there is now a severe back-log of patients awaiting consultation let alone actually receiving the treatment they need. As of October 2020, there are over 162 888 patients waiting a year to receive treatment – in contrast, this was only 1 032 in July 2019. As a private patient in England, you will still be required to wait some time as private hospitals/companies have a formal agreement with the UK government to offer their facilities, to support with COVID-19, as needed by the government as a priority.
Whereas, if you require surgery or any medical treatment, you can receive it in Spain at the QS Ruber Internacional hospital within two weeks or within six if you would like to receive permission from the NHS to jump waiting list. They are the largest hospital group in Spain and have earned international prestige for their work in diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurological illnesses, as well as orthopedic, ophthalmologic, pediatric, and gynecological conditions. Furthermore, patients receive a completely personalised treatment from an expert and experienced team; from the initial consultation until discharge.
The average total cost of the surgery is 17 000 euros this includes: the implant, surgery, hospital stay (24 h), medical fees for the surgical team and anaesthetists. As a tax payer, you are able to claim back these medical expenses from the NHS. Prices do vary as different implants and surgery method could be more beneficial for your condition.
What does arthroplasty involve? Who will conduct my procedure? Is it Covid-19 secure?
Quirónsalud has effectively and successfully adapted their facilities quickly and expertly to the changing situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. The hospital has created a covid secure environment using the latest thermal imaging cameras that, using an infrared ray system, allow people with a fever to be detected automatically.
As well as this, they use multiple one-way systems within their hospital in order that they are still able to equally attend to urgent cases and patients whose care has not been interrupted. These one-way systems are rigorously monitored and disinfected routinely.
Furthermore, they employ a pioneering disinfection system which uses cold aerosolization systems, capable of generating a mist consisting of 1 billion microdrops of disinfectant dissolved in water and using air as a driving force; in conjunction with this ultraviolet C and UVC disinfection technology is used, therefore ensuring a thorough and deep cleaning process throughout.
In addition to the above protocols, patients can expect ‘Telemedicine’ where consultations are conducted via video call, conference call and chat and can be reassured of the continued expertise and individualised diagnosis from the medical personnel who they are in contact with.
The procedure itself will be carried out by Dr. Gómez Arrayás who is an expert surgeon in hip and knee prostheses (performing more than 150 implants a year). She has a lot of experience in the latest techniques. The surgery uses the Navigation System, a minimally invasive technique, and the new protocols for postoperative analgesia. It is possible to place a more personalized prosthesis for each patient. With this, it is possible to improve the results (greater mobility of the knee, more stability of the implant, the better orientation of the components and, therefore, the longer average life of the prosthesis), a shorter hospital stay (24-48h) and a faster recovery and incorporation into daily life after the intervention (fast track). It does not require postoperative drainage and it is very uncommon for subsequent transfusion to be required since with these techniques blood loss is minimal.
Additionally, she applies the ERAS (En Lankd Recovery After Surgery) program to her surgeries, which, added to the local anaesthetic blocks in the intervention, greatly reduce postoperative pain and the patient is able to move the limb and can walk on the same day of the surgery.
Patients are able to leave the hospital after 24hours – with the aid of crutches. The use of two crutches will be required for 2 weeks after the operation, reducing as the patient gains muscular strength. Patients receive a completely personalised treatment for their own needs, from the initial consultation until discharge.
Who are Quirónsalud Reuber Internacional?
Quirónsalud is the largest hospital group in Spain and following a merger with the German company, Fresenius-Helios, are now the largest hospital group in Europe. Quirónsalud covers all medical specialties, having earned national and international prestige for its work in diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurological illnesses, as well as orthopedic, ophthalmologic, pediatric, and gynecological conditions.
Furthermore, their network has over 125 care centres, of which 50 are general hospitals and 7 are university hospitals including in popular locations like Madrid, Barcelona, A Coruna, Sevilla, Malaga, Marbella, Murcia, Tenerife, Torrevieja and Valencia. Internationally, they have centres in Dubai, Lisbon, Peru and Medellín (Colombia).
Covid-19 response and safety at Quirónsalud hospitals in Spain
Quirónsalud Reuber Internacional has responded rapidly, effectively and successfully to the world wide Covid-19 pandemic; they were the first group to carry out mass testing of their entire workforce of 40 000 employees.
To date around 15,000 COVID-19 patients have been admitted to the Group’s hospitals (1,400 in ICU beds). In the first weeks of the crisis, 1,400 additional beds were added, including 400 new ICU beds (doubling the company’s initial capacity) and 140 beds in a medicalized hotel. In addition, around 350 new respirators were incorporated (including 30 that were shipped from Germany), all of that was accomplished during a huge international shortage.
Additionally, almost 2,000 new staff were hired to respond to both the significantly increased number of patients and the possible sick leave cover needed. Nearly 250 volunteers from Quirónsalud centers travelled throughout Spain to support the most critical moments in Madrid and Barcelona.
Quirónsalud Reuber Internacional, has ensured that they are well equipped to deal with any further rises in Covid-19 patients ensuring the supply of diagnostic kits (both PCR and antibodies), and purchasing more than 3.5 million protective kits (including 2.5 million masks), and an addition of 2 ambulances have been bought to move patients quickly between our hospitals.
Digital consultations and Telemedicine have grown massively and, during this crisis, Quirónsalud has exceeded 2 million users on their Patient Portal. Therefore, it is clear that digitalization is here to stay and that Quirónsalud has been able to successfully adapt to this new trend.
Why choose Madrid, Spain for arthroplasty?
The Ruber International Hospital is conceived as a “comprehensive hospital”; its’ services and departments are interrelated with each other and integrated into the hospital, As a result, the hospital has successfully achieved maximum efficiency in the organization and development of the different medical, healthcare, teaching and research activities.
Additionally, a rigorous selection of medical equipment, with highly experienced healthcare personnel together with the continuous provision of the most sophisticated and effective equipment in medical technology, allows the hospital to offer an optimal and excellent level of healthcare.
The Ruber Internacional Hospital is in Madrid, Spain. Patients can enjoy individualised care and the 174 comfortable individual rooms each with terraces.
How do I reclaim my medical expenses from the NHS?
It is possible to claim medical expenses for medical treatment from the NHS – however, it can be a complicated process. As a taxpayer, you have already paid for your treatment. The rules on how to claim a refund from the NHS for treatment received in Spain are quite complex. If you don’t follow the correct procedures you will end up with a rejected refund application. In addition, rules and conditions of the NHS refund are different and depend on the area you live in. This is due to NHS England having a hundred different regional bodies, with their own rules and conditions of refund: MeRefund can support you with this. More information on NHS refund for treatment in Spain.