Orthopedic Procedures

Orthopedic medical procedures costa rica

Maintaining optimal orthopedic health is crucial to ensure a patient’s quality of life. Orthopedic doctors deal with matters of mobility and motor functions; two extremely important aspects of human life.

Some of the most expensive surgical procedures in North America and Europe are performed to treat with issues of the spine, limbs, extremities, and joints. As a result of their high cost and complexity, many American patients never get around to having orthopedic surgeries done. Canadian patients in need of orthopedic procedures often have to endure excruciatingly long wait times before they can be operated on.

Orthopedic procedures range from simple arthroscopic surgery to total knee or hip replacement. Most of these procedures are fairly invasive and may involve long recovery periods and adjustment, including the use of prosthetic aids, rehabilitation, and physical therapy.

Costa Rica and the World of Orthopedic Science

Most orthopedic surgeries in Costa Rica were performed by general surgeons until about the 1970s. Recognizing the need for specialists, the public health administration began to send doctors abroad to Europe and the United States to become specialized. Those pioneering surgeons brought their knowledge and skills to the medical schools and secured valuable research partnerships with other countries such as Spain.

The scope of orthopedics in Costa Rica quickly advanced from trauma interventions to rehabilitative treatments. These days, Costa Rica counts with a wide range of orthopedic surgeons and vastly improved surgical equipment. Joint replacement surgery and delicate spinal procedures are now widely performed at public and private health centers, and there is a marked interest in the advancement of minimally invasive procedures.

The current trend in the orthopedics world in Costa Rica is centered on tissue grafting, surgically implanted prosthesis and advanced rehabilitation techniques.

Types of Orthopedic Procedures

There is a wide range of options available to medical tourists seeking orthopedic treatment in Costa Rica. Outpatient procedures such as arthroscopic and Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) repair and reconstruction are highly sought-after due to their effectiveness and affordability. Other procedures, such as hip replacement and rotator cuff repair, require careful planning.

Arthroscopy: The shoulder, wrist, hip, and knee joints are often problematic parts of the human anatomy due to their propensity to become torn, inflamed, overextended, or affected by loose bone or cartilage fragments. Arthroscopic surgery is minimally invasive, and it allows surgeons to obtain an accurate diagnosis and a plan of action. The procedure involves the use of fiber optic instruments, and it is far more effective than diagnoses obtained from radiological imaging. Recovery from an arthroscopy takes anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days.

ACL repair and reconstruction: Persistent keen pain can be caused by traumatic ACL injuries or chronic wear and tear. Of all ligaments that make up the anatomy of the knee, the ACL is the one that usually sustains the most injury, particularly among people who practice high impact sports such as football (both American and continental), basketball, skiing, and others. People who make a living on their feet and bearing heavy loads, such as mail carriers, soldiers and construction workers, are usually prone to ACL injury. There are several advanced surgical choices in Costa Rica for ACL repair, as well as a couple of non-surgical options that are further explained below.

- Total hip replacement: A hip can become thoroughly damaged by severe arthritis or injury. A damaged hip can be one of the most uncomfortable conditions a human can endure. Even the simplest motor activities such as walking and sitting down can become painful due to issues such as avascular necrosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Hip replacement surgery is one of the most successful orthopedic procedures in terms of improving quality of life. There are no age or weight limits to this type of surgery, and its high cost and complexity can be curtailed by having it performed in Costa Rica.

Rotator cuff surgery: Repairing a torn rotator cuff can not only alleviate pain, but also return strength and flexibility to the shoulder and upper body. Partial tears can be repaired by means of debridement, a technique which trims the rotator cuff and tendon. More severe tears may call upon the reattachment of the tendon to the humerous. There are three main options for repair: a traditional open surgery for large tears, an arthroscopic procedure that is often preferred due to its minimal invasive character, and a mini-open repair which is performed with precision surgical instruments and requires a very small incision.

 There are many other procedures not listed above which are routinely performed in Costa Rica. Due to the growth of medical tourism, the orthopedic community is getting more involved in research of advanced techniques and treatments. The common goal is to make the country an international center for the treatment of orthopedic conditions.

Non-surgical Options

Not every orthopedic condition requires surgery; in fact, many doctors urge their patients to look at surgery as the last option. The use of corticosteroids to treat orthopedic conditions has seen its share of criticism in the past due to side effects and misuse. Steroidal treatment can be extremely effective for some conditions such as tennis elbow and runner’s knee, but steroids must be prescribed judiciously and they must be combined with a training regime.

The orthopedic community in Costa Rica fully supports non-surgical treatment options, including the combination of steroidal treatment such as cortisone injections mixed with physical therapy. Many patients who come to Costa Rica for an orthopedic evaluation end up opting for non-invasive treatments that involve medication and lots of physical therapy. There are quite a few medical centers dedicated to rehabilitation and physical therapy in Costa Rica, and they are well-known for their commitment to therapy and their courteous and dedicated staff.

Post-Op Recovery

The success of an orthopedic surgical procedure is largely contingent upon following a methodical recovery and rehabilitation plan. Depending on the condition and the surgery performed, recovery may entail medication, rest and physical therapy. Medical tourists should plan ahead to allow themselves enough time to follow their post-surgical treatment plans in Costa Rica, which is perhaps the most appropriate place on earth to recover from a medical procedure.

4 Responses to “Orthopedic Procedures”

  • donna says:

    I need at the least an arthroscopic surgery to repair or remove the torn portion of the right hip labrum. At the worse, I would need a hip replacement. I am going to costa rice in a weeks’ time and am seriously considering having someone look it. I am Canadian. How much does this cost?

  • rob Wiedeman says:

    I have a patient (I am a consultant in the healthcare alternative care area) that has severe hip degradation and needs a hip replacement. He is 75 years of age and has had a minor heart attack about 10 years ago. He has a pacemaker but is in otherwise excellent health. Our wait list in Alberta Canada is too long so he wishes to try elsewhere. Can you treat him.
    If so would it be near Liberia or in San Jose. I have been to both places but not to the hospital in San Jose. I assume it is the hospital on the way to Playa Cocos is this right.
    I or another agent would accompany the patient.
    What would be the timeline and cost of this procedure.

    • admin says:

      Hello Rob,
      Yes we can treat him right away in Costa Rica at Hospital Clinico San Rafael Arcangel in Liberia. It’s about 30 minutes from Playas del Coco. I have sent you an email with more information and also need some more information from the patient, including x rays.


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