World Arthritis Day: Rise in Arthritis Sufferers is Driving Self-Pay Patients
Bespoke hip replacements hailed as a ‘game changer’ in private healthcare sector
It is World Arthritis Day and Total Orthopaedics wants to shed light on why the number of people with arthritis is increasing – which is driving an increase in the number of patients reaching out to private healthcare.
According to research, of the 10 million people that suffer from arthritis in the UK, 8.75 million of these have osteoarthritis – the most common form of the condition. In addition to this, at least of 3 out of 4 osteoarthritis sufferers experience constant pain. A survey also reveals that osteoarthritis looks set to double in Britain to over 17 million by 2030.
Arthritis is caused by wear and tear on joints where the cartilage is worn away. It often affects the hands, spine, foot and ankle, knees or hips and is often painful. Symptoms vary from person to person, with some only experiencing mild pain or tenderness and others experiencing severe pain. Anyone can suffer from arthritis, but it’s mostly elderly people who suffer the most. That being said, even 20 and 30-year-olds are often seen with osteoarthritis at Total Orthopaedics.
Preparing for the Arthritis Epidemic
The government has been urged to prepare for the onset of an epidemic and in addition to this, the arthritis surge has also triggered a significant increase in hip and knee replacements by self-paying patients specifically within orthopaedics. This has been reflected in a recent private healthcare report showing an annual growth of 15% to 25% in the number of patients without healthcare insurance who are using savings or loan finance to fund private operations.
The industry report also reveals that patients are taking more control of their own health by shopping around for price comparisons on treatments as the range of prices provided for some procedures can vary by more than 100%.
Supporting the rise of Orthopaedic self-paying patients, North London based hospital, Highgate Private Hospital has also recorded an increase in hip replacements directly paid for by the patient.
As Arthritis Patients Become Younger, Bespoke Options Give the Best Results
Total Orthopaedics Consultant Surgeon, Mr. Joyti Saksena at Highgate Private Hospital says, “Without medical insurance, some patients are at risk if they wait over the recommended period of 18 weeks for a particular consultant or treatment. So, you can understand that having the choice to turn the surgery around in a much quicker time frame brings peace of mind”.
“There are also huge factors contributing to patient’s decision to pay for surgery and that includes advanced technology. Bespoke or ‘custom’ hip replacements have been hailed as revolutionary and certainly a contributing factor to patients deciding to fund their own surgery”.
Custom-made implants cost at least twice as much as the standard or ‘off-the-peg’ versions. However, where arthritis patients are becoming increasingly younger, there is a leniency towards investing in more modern techniques that provide greater chances of success in the long term.
Mr. Saksena adds, “I am seeing a preponderance of patients below the age of 40 who have maintained very active lifestyles coming in with early onset arthritis. It is useful to see, assess and investigate as quite often there are options available to prevent or delay the need for joint replacement surgery”.
“There are some patients who definitely benefit from custom planned hips and custom made. Patients with hip dysplasia (abnormal anatomy), patients with post-traumatic arthritis and patients who have significant rotational leg length inequality issues. Some patients just like the idea of having a bespoke hip replacement that is perfectly made for them”.
Symptoms of Arthritis
In light of the increase of arthritis, Mr. Joyti Saksena offers a breakdown of some of the signs and symptoms of the condition:
- Pain in the joints is the most common symptom
- Pain at rest and at night often occurs as arthritis progresses
- Stiffness in the joints with reduced range of motion
- You are unable to sit or stand for long periods of time
- Swollen joints, for example, knuckles or feet
- Difficulty with everyday activities such as putting on shoes and socks, getting in and out of a car or bath, stairs