What Your Knee Replacement Implants Are Made Of

Preparing for a total knee replacement can bring lots of questions. One of the them may be about the materials that your new knee will be made of. It is a great question to discuss with your orthopedic surgeon in detail. So that you come to your visit prepared, below is some information about artificial knee joint parts and what they may be made of.

The materials have to be biocompatible, so not to cause a rejection from your body. They have to duplicate the knee structure – able to bear the weight and move smoothly against each other, allowing for flexibility. They also have to last a reasonably long time.

Several manufacturers make knee implants. The choice of implant will depend on several factors such as age, gender, weight, bone dimensions, ligament condition, bone quality, anticipated activity and occupational history.

Although over 150 designs of knee implants exist, there are generally four major parts to an artificial knee joint:

  • femoral component – a contoured implant fit around the end of the femur
  • tibial component – a flat plate and stem implanted in your tibia
  • a spacer in between those two, or a cushion
  • patellar implant on the underside of the knee cap

A combination of metal and plastic is the most common. This type of implant is the least expensive and has the longest track record for safety and implant life span. The femoral component and tibial plate can be made of cobalt-chromium alloys, titanium and titanium alloys, zirconium, and nickel. The spacer and patellar implant are made of high-quality polyethylene plastic.

In rare cases, people can be allergic to metals such as nickel. Then ceramic components can be used. Ceramic parts are the least likely to react with the body. However, in very rare cases ceramic joint prostheses can shatter under heavy pressure and the pieces must be removed by surgery.

Stainless steel is rarely used in knee replacement implants because it is prone to corrosion in the human body.

When meeting with your orthopedic surgeon, you can ask more questions and discuss this topic in greater detail.  The expertise and experience of your surgeon matter the most and ensure a successful outcome.  We suggest these questions to ask your orthopedic surgeon:

  1. How long will my implant last?
  2. Is it a high flex knee implant design that allows safe deep knee bending or is it a cemented model?
  3. Is it a gender specific implant?
  4. How many of the knee replacement surgeries have you performed using current implants?

Health Vantis can connect you to a Board-certified, highly skilled orthopedic surgeons. One of the surgeons we work with offers custom manufactured knee implants. CT or MRI scan is used to determine the exact anatomy of your knee and make a custom implant. To discuss your options further, please call us toll-free 877 344 3544 or email info@healthvantis.com  In our next blog we will be discussing hip joint parts and materials.

Sports After A Knee Replacement

Sports After A Knee Replacement

Anytime there is an injury to a crucial part of your body, it is natural to be cautious even after a surgery to protect it.  It does not need to be the end of your active life by any means though.  Many times people do not realize they can go back to doing a sport after they have been properly rehabilitated.  A knee replacement is a great example of that.

The knees bear the weight of your body.  When there is osteoporosis, injury or too much weight on them, it can cause excruciating pain.  This might prevent you from doing a sport you love.  If a knee replacement is necessary, what happens after you have it?  Can you eventually resume your normal activities?

Most doctors would say yes and support you resuming your sports and activities. There is no reason why someone couldn’t go back to running, playing tennis or biking after the knee has been properly rehabilitated.  This of course needs to be done in a smart manner and always under your doctors supervision.  

Your ability to return to sports after a knee replacement will depend greatly on your general health as well.  The healthier you are, the higher chance you have of going back to playing the sport you did before.  Some low impact sports can be resumed within a 6-week time frame.  More active sports such as running or biking could take 12 weeks to 6 months before you are ready to resume.  The decision to start your sport back up again should always be discussed with your doctor first.

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Can Working Out in the Morning Offer Better Weight Loss Success

Can Working Out in the Morning Offer Better Weight Loss Success?

Working out in general is always going to be beneficial to your health.  But does it really matter when you work out as long as you do it?  A recent study suggests it’s possible that more weight can be lost if your work out is done in the morning.  

The International Journal of Obesity did a study in July of this year.  Subjects were allowed to visit the gym between 7a and 7p each day.  The people who worked out before noon had, on average, lost more weight than the men and women that routinely exercised after 3p.  Why is that?

It was noted that the early exercisers took more steps in total.  They were more active throughout the day than those who waited to exercise in the pm.  The amount of food eaten was on average less too.  Overall, the differences were small, however, they felt that cumulatively, it may have made a difference in how many pounds people lost.

Previous studies also suggest working out in the morning will kickstart your metabolism.  This aids in burning more calories throughout the day versus at night.  Doing your workout prior to eating your breakfast or while fasting will burn the fat stores instead of the carbohydrates you’ve consumed through food. 

While the claims are small, there is no doubt that exercise greatly aids in weight loss when done consistently with a proper diet.

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Medical Traveler’s Concern: Do People Die On The Operating Table?

With Medical Travel, people are often concerned about a possible surgery mishap.  It can be a scary process of going to another country and trusting a doctor you most likely haven’t met to provide you with a successful outcome.  One of the biggest misconceptions and fears is that you could die during the surgery.  Yes, that is certainly a risk, however, very uncommon.  Less than 1% of people will die on the operating table.  Most of the time the risk of death and complications occur after a patient is discharged to go home.

Post Operative Care

Preparing to recover after surgery is not just a mental thing to be ready for.  Probably the most important factor is how your after care is structured.  The 3 most common complications associated with death after a surgery are:  major bleeding, heart damage and infection.

Surgery causes an inflammation reaction in your body.  Immediately after surgery, you are most likely going to be on pain killers or Experal, an extended form of numbing medicine.  These drugs can sometimes mask a significant complication such as coagulation, which can lead to blood clots or heart failure.

Research shows that the postoperative care in a home setting is where the focus needs to be.  It is crucial that you have someone with you after surgery for a minimum of 24 hours. Forty-eight hours is even better to help you identify any signs of complications.  Listening to your body and doing exactly what the doctor has told you in your post op instructions is important.  Trying to do more than you are ready for, even at 5-6 weeks out, can cause a significant set back.

Surgery is a traumatic shock to your body.  It needs time to heal.  You might feel like you are ready to resume normal activities because you are experiencing little pain.  This is greatly in part to the pain killers you are most likely taking.  These mask the pain associated with your recent surgery.  Trying to do more than you are ready to because you ‘feel’ great or have a good day, prior to your incision healing, can cause bleeding and/or even re-injury.   


Sepsis is also a great concern.  Most surgeries are now done on an outpatient basis, which reduces your chance for infection.  However, that still doesn’t mean it can’t happen.  If you are traveling out of the US and Canada, the risk for antibiotic resistant infections is much higher.  To avoid this, verifying the hospital is JCI accredited will provide a piece of mind that their regulations are the same as those in the US and Canada should an infection occur.

Complications coverage is available if you wish to be protected in the event you do have a complication, even after you are back home in Canada.  You can find more information about it here.

Health Vantis





October 2019 Newsletter


Carson MacLeod – Private Hip Replacement

Recent Health Vantis Client

We had the pleasure of meeting and helping a wonderful gentleman named Carson MacLeod from Truro, NS a few months back.  He came to us in need of a timely hip replacement surgery.  

Up until 3 years ago, this healthy and fit 78 year old was still playing hockey and able to do all of his normal day to day things. The pain in his hip got so severe, he could no longer do them.  After a trip to the doctor, it was confirmed he needed to have a hip replacement.  Unfortunately, there was a lengthy wait to have this done.

When he realized he would not be getting his hip replacement in Canada any time soon, he decided the pain was severe enough that he could not wait.  He spent a great deal of time researching his options on having the surgery done privately in the US.  A facility in Boston proved to be challenging to get an actual quote on the cost.  His daughter came across our website site and suggested he call us.  

We had the perfect doctor in mind for him.  He was quickly given a surgery date and his trip accommodations were booked.  He traveled to the US at the end of June 2019 and had his surgery on July 1st.

The most amazing part of Carson’s story is that this hip replacement was done on an out-patient basis and he was up and walking within a couple hours after his surgery.  This would have been unheard of 5 years ago, especially for someone in their 70’s.  Most doctors are still doing joint (or hip) replacements on an in-patient procedure.  While not everyone is a candidate to have a hip replacement on an out patient basis, the benefit is that it allows for a quicker recovery time and less chance of developing an infection while in the hospital.  

Carson had a walker for 2 days, was able to have a cane by the third day and was fit to travel back home only 4 short days after his surgery.  It is remarkable how well he has continued to do since then.  He has reported that he never felt better and has not had any hip pain whatsoever since his surgery.

If you would like the same result, please give Health Vantis a call at 877-344-3544.

Watch Carson speak about his experiences here.


The Value of a Second Opinion

Two years ago I had a L5 S1 spinal back fusion.  After 20+ years of treatment for a herniated disc, my options on pain control were exhausted.  The cortisone injections, facet joint blocks and rhizotomies were no longer working.  The only option I had left was to have a back fusion.  This is a major back surgery and one many doctors avoid at all costs until it is absolutely necessary.  

My Spinal Orthopedic Surgeon gave me a plan on how the surgery would work. I decided to get a second opinion due to the nature of the surgery.  I took my records to a Neurosurgeon.  He reviewed them, did a physical exam and while he did agree I needed the fusion, he offered another approach to doing the surgery.

The original surgery was to include 2 incisions on my back cutting through muscle, 4 screws and an in-patient hospital stay.  My second opinion offered a procedure called an ALIF (Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion), where they went through my belly, did not need to cut through muscle, 2 vs 4 screws and could be done on an out patient basis, making the recovery time so much easier and quicker.  

I can happily report, I went with my second opinion and had an excellent result.  Could I have had the same result with the other suggested technique?  Most likely, however, I would have had 2 additional screws, which were ultimately not needed, 2 incisions and they would have cut through my muscle creating more recovery time.  This would have been on an in-patient basis thus increasing the risk of infection.  

The value of a second opinion is to give you more information so that you can make the most educated decision about your health. It is not to discount the original doctor’s opinion, but instead to consider his recommendation with others that may be available.  In my situation, this was a major surgery.  I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing and that there were no other options available to me.  But there can be numerous other reasons why someone might want to have a second opinion:

  • The doctor says there is nothing else they can do for you
  • You didn’t feel the doctor listened to your concerns
  • You are looking for an alternative treatment or other options
  • You want to confirm the diagnosis and/or treatment plan
  • Peace of mind you are doing the right thing 
  • You want to know if there is newer technology or an advanced, easier or safer method to the approach your surgery has been recommended be done.

If you would like to have a second opinion and are not sure how to go about it, please contact us and we’d be happy to help!  info@healthvantis.com, 877-344-3544



Flying South for the Winter?  Combine Your Trip with Private Surgery

Fall is here and this is the time of the year that the Snowbirds start making their plans to travel south for the winter.  If you’ve considered having a surgery done privately, this would be a great time to start planning it.  

What are the Benefits?:

  • You can recover in the comfort of your own home.  While recovery can be done in a hotel, there is nothing better than your own bed.  Plus, you save the expense of a hotel room!
  • The ability to follow up with the surgeon who did your surgery.  Most people who travel for surgery will stay on average 5-7 days and then return to Canada.  Your doctor in Canada is able to do your follow up visits and the surgeon in the US can continue to follow you via phone, email and/or Skype.  However, being local and having the ability to do your follow ups in person is more optimal.
  • There is less risk since you do not need to fly home right away.  The doctor would not release you to fly home unless he was confident you were fit to do so.  However, flying after surgery does present risk.  If you combine your surgery with an already planned trip to stay for a couple of months, that risk element is removed. 
  • You are already familiar with the area.  Traveling to another country to have surgery can be overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area.  If you have the surgery in your winter destination, chances are you will already know your way around.
  • Avoid the delays and wait times in Canada.  Most facilities in the US can accommodate you within a couple of weeks time.
  • By coming to the US, you may have access to treatment for procedures or surgeries that are not available in Canada.  There are many things unavailable to Canadians that are available in the US.  This would be an optimal time to explore alternative options.
  • There is convenience of already being in the area so you avoid an additional trip and expense.  If you combine your south of the border winter trip with a surgery, you will save money by not making a separate trip to do so.

Contact Health Vantis to connect you to an already vetted, safe and affordable facility in the area you are traveling.  We take the guess work out of finding the appropriate surgeon for your needs.


Drug Shortages and How It Might Affect Snowbirds

The Canadian Snowbirds are making their plans to head south soon. Recent articles in the news talked about the shortage of drugs.  This has forced doctors to change patients’ doses and/or actual medication. So how will drug shortage in Canada affect the Snowbirds?

How Could It Affect Snowbirds?

For months, well-established drugs have been placed on back order for an unknown period of time. The reasons why are unknown. Some of the drugs are used to treat very common ailments such as hypertension, heart failure, diabetes, and heart burn. Having your medication changed to a substitute drug, even if it is in the same family, can cause different side effects and reduce efficacy. 

Most of Snowbirds will take out private travel insurance prior to leaving for their trip. Medical history plays a major part in the ability to get insurance. If you recently had a medication change within the past 3 months, even if it’s for an ailment you’ve had controlled for several years, you run the risk of being declined or having that particular ailment excluded from the insurance. In the eyes of the insurer such a switch can give an impression of medical instability of the person taking the medication.

The loss of insurability presents a problem to a large group of people who have otherwise been stable on a medication for years. What can you do?

What Can You Do?

If you know that you will be traveling soon, talk to your doctor about it.  Discuss your particular medication situation sooner rather than later. Find out if what you are taking will present a risk for being put on another drug as a substitute. If so, see if they can do it now to allow time for you to be on it so you still qualify for travel insurance. Do not wait until a couple of weeks before your planned trip to do this. It might prevent you from being approved.

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