In some patients with back injury, the disc between the bones of the spine slips or prolapses and presses on a nearby nerve causing acute pain in the lower back or leg (lumbar disc prolapse / slipped disc/herniated disc). Endosopic microdiscectomy (EMD) is a spinal treatment aimed at patients who have sustained such back injury.
Because of the high cost of the surgery in the US, many back injury patients are looking for a top quality hospital abroad and are undergoing endoscopic microdiscectomy surgery in India and other medical tourism hubs.
Endoscopic Microdiscectomy – Overview
Endoscopic microdiscectomy is a less invasive alternative to microsopic lumbar disectomy. In EMD, an endoscope is used to view the nerve root and the prolapsed disc. A small incision is made to introduce the endoscope at the affected disc level. The endoscope illuminates and magnifies the surgical area, allowing the surgeon to view the area on a television screen. The surgeon can perform the entire surgery by looking at the television screen. As a result, there is less muscle dissection. Endoscopic microdiscectomy patients can get up and walk on the same day of the surgery. The hospital stay is very short.
According to a report by Bhavuk Garg and colleagues, Department of Orthopedics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, India, the details of which were published in the April 2011 edition of the Journal of Orthopedics, microendoscopic discectomy is as effective as traditional open discectomy in treating radical pain.
Why Opt for Endoscopic Microdiscectomy Surgery in India?
- The main reasons for patients turning to India for endoscopic microdiscectomy are lower costs and no waiting periods. The endoscopic microdiscectomy costs between $6,000 and $8,000 in India, which is a fraction of the cost of the surgery in USA and UK. In addition, there is no concept of waiting list in India. In contrast, the waiting time for urgent spinal surgery in UK is close to four months. And routine spinal surgery can keep you waiting for as long as one year.
- In addition to the huge cost savings, there are other reasons for India’s popularity as a medical tourism destination for endoscopic micro disectomy. India has leading neurosurgeons and spine surgeons. Some of them have done pioneering research in fields such as craniovertebral anomalies and stereotactic surgery. The surgeons also have expertise in handling high risk patients through use of minimally invasive techniques when performing spinal fusion and cervical disc replacement in India.
- Another reason for favoring spinal surgeries such as endoscopic microdiscectomy and spinal fusion in India is the presence of state-of-the-art hospitals in the country. Indian hospitals are well equipped to handle all phases of spinal problems and provide comprehensive spine care. They use the latest innovations in medical electronics to handle problems ranging from routine spinal problems to disk replacement and treatment of spinal tumors using radiological management. Their technology is world class and they easily meet the global benchmarks for back surgeries. In addition, most Indian hospitals have English speaking staff and surgeons.
Medical Travel in India – Some Pointers
When looking for a top quality hospital for endoscopic micro disectomy abroad, you must verify the credentials of the surgeon and the quality of the hospital you are considering. The surgeon should be a qualified neurosurgeon and should have a master of surgery (MS) degree. The surgeon should have at least 10 years experience in spinal surgery.
You should also do some careful research on the hospital you are considering for endoscopic microdiscectomy. Select a reputed hospital that has a high success rate. The hospital should have well-equipped operation theaters and diagnostic centers. All the equipment necessary for endoscopic micro discectomy and related surgeries, such as endoscopes, HOPKINS II telescope, and video monitoring, should be present in the theaters. In addition, the hospital should have advanced diagnostic equipment, such as EEG, video monitoring, MRI, and CT scan.
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