Demand for Hip Replacement Surgery Continues to Increase among Baby Boomers
Beginning with the post World War II period, the demographic structure in the United States has been changed. The economic improvements and the advantages brought by the countries participation in the war led to a high increase in birth rates. Children born between 1946 and 1964 are known as Baby Boomers or the Baby Boom Generation.
According to "The Baby Boom Cohort in the United States: 2012 to 2060" report, baby boomers will bring important changes in the country's landscape as they have already started to move into old age and retirement. One of these changes is related to the medical industry, as millions of aging Americans are in line for orthopedic surgery and other medical treatments and procedures which come with age.
The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, a study published at the beginning of this year, states that in the 2000s around 792,500 hip and knee surgeries have been performed by Americans. This number is expected to jump the 2 million limit by the year 2020. The study also informs that around 45 million US citizens have some level of pain in the joint areas.
How is Medical Tourism contributing to the increase of Hip Replacements among Americans?
Baby Boomers, although already in their 60s, are active people. Their goal is to live longer and with no pain. This is where technology and medical tourism comes into play. Minimally invasive procedures, quick recovery time, robotic equipments, no pain, no bleeding, but most of all, affordable prices abroad, is what push baby boomers into increasing the number of hip surgeries in foreign countries such as Mexico, Turkey, India, Germany, Italy and many others.
The hip replacement surgery is also a trend among people in their 50s and the age continues to drop. As mentioned before, baby boomers are highly active persons, this means increased pressure on joints, wear and tear of the bones, higher risk of trauma and injuries for people in their 50s and even 40s. but this is not the only reason. Baby boomers are also dealing with obesity. Hectic life styles, stress, unhealthy food, medical conditions and medication leading to weight gain, are all factors leading to obesity and obesity leads to more pressure on the bones.
What pushes Americans into choosing hip replacement abroad?
Hip replacement can be quite an expensive procedure in the US, therefore the main reason for choosing this surgery abroad would be the COST. To make a clear idea, take into consideration that the price for hip replacement in the States ranges between $20,000 and $200,000! Even if the procedure is covered by the insurance (under certain conditions) there will still be substantial out of the pocket expenses.
Prices for hip replacement abroad can be with 60%-70% lower! A leader in orthopedic surgery is India, where a hip replacement costs between $5,000 and $7,500. Mexico is also highly chosen due to its proximity to the US. The prices here vary between $7,000 and $13,500. Other options would be Brazil (~$11,500), Turkey (~$14,000), Italy ($14,000 - $30,000) or Thailand ($7,000 -$11,000).
Another reason will be the shortage in qualified hip surgeons in the home country. With the increasing number of orthopedic surgeries in the US, specialized surgeons have already started to feel the pressure. As many residents choose the spine or sports medicine, finding a qualified hip replacement surgeon might soon become a difficult task.
Some of the surgeons in the US refuse to perform hip replacement surgery in middle aged patients. If not long ago the purpose of hip replacement was to restore mobility and help the patient walk again without feeling excruciating pain, now the situation has changed. Baby boomers want to get back to their active lives and many surgeons do not really know how joint replacements will perform in these situations. It is one thing to watch the game and another to play it after having replacement surgery. That is why many surgeons try to talk their patients out of replacing their joints unless really necessary.
In conclusion, the increasing number of hip surgeries performed by baby boomers, are not necessarily the cause of injury, excessive weight gain, osteoarthritis or other medical conditions, but their desire to live longer, healthier and pain free lives and be able to be active and perform the activities they love for as long as possible.
No matter what the reason for hip surgery might be, the medical tourism industry takes advantage of this wave of people in their 40s and 50s choosing to go abroad to have this procedure done quickly, at low cost and with modern equipment.
For more information about Hip Replacement Surgery or any other orthopedic procedure abroad, do not hesitate to contact us!