Get your surgery for free by claiming a refund from your local health board. The clinic helps patients with the documents needed to claim a refund after following the EU directive route for medical treatment abroad. It applies to patients who are insured under the systems of one of the EU countries and may not get the surgery due to long waiting times.
The rehabilitation centre is located at a SPA resort town called Druskininkai. It is equipped with modern facilities. The professionals there have years of experience working with people after various surgeries and injuries.
Rehabilitation in Lithuania – from € 130 / £ 116 per day
Our clinic works with highly professional and educated surgeons. They have 10-20 years of experience in the field of orthopaedic surgery. They each perform 500 surgeries per year. Moreover, our surgeons are members of various prestigious surgical societies both Lithuanian and international. Our joint replacement surgeon S. Tarasevicius is an author of 150 scientific publications in different medical journals. Find more information about our surgeons here.
Our clinic works according to the highest standards set by the European Union. This helps to guarantee the quality of medical service.
During your entire stay in Lithuania you will receive personal care as well as transport to and from the clinic, hotel, and airport. You will not have to worry about a thing. You will be assisted from the moment of plane landing in Vilnius or Kaunas airport till your departure.
We have no waiting line so we can schedule your surgery as soon as you are ready to do so.
Everyone in our clinic speaks English, including nurses, assistants and the surgeon.
2-3 hour regular flights operate from all main airports in the UK & Ireland. Lithuania is closer than you thought. You can find the list of direct flights here. Please note that airlines constantly add new flights and new destinations, therefore feel free to contact us if you need help choosing the flight that suits you best.
Lithuania has been a part of the EU and NATO since 2004. Lithuania has one of the fastest growing economies in the whole region and the second fastest internet speed in the world. Lithuanian medical schools have trained many medical professionals who are highly appreciated and employed by many foreign hospitals, among which hospitals in the UK. Our clinic works according to the highest standards set to the medical institutions by the European Union.
Articular cartilage can be imagined as a lubricated cushion that covers the ends of the joint-forming bones. It reduces friction and provides a smooth surface for the joint as it bends and transmits weight. Articular cartilage is 2 to 4 mm thick and is composed of water, collagen, proteins, and cartilage cells, also known as chondrocytes. Cartilage is not supported by any nerves or blood vessels, and, therefore, has a low capacity to repair itself after damage. Elbows, wrists, ankles, and shoulders can all suffer cartilage damage, however, the knee joint is the one that gets damaged the most.
There are a few surgical techniques used to treat articular cartilage damage. Bear in mind that the best treatment option will be chosen individually after a consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon.
Chondro Gide technique works by activating cartilage regeneration and replacing damaged cartilage with a matrix. A surgeon removes old cartilage, inspects the size of the damaged area and prepares the matrix which will be later placed instead of the old cartilage. A number of holes are then drilled into the damaged area which stimulates the healing process and ensures active supply of the chondrocytes and nutrients needed to form a new cartilage. Further on, the holes are covered with the matrix that allows those new cartilage cells to stick and form new strong cartilage.
Rehabilitation is just as important as the surgery itself, and thus, articular cartilage repair patients have to follow a detailed recovery plan which is designed to help them regain mobility and live an active lifestyle again. Most people are able to return to moderate physical activities after 6 to 8 weeks, however, full recovery should be expected after 3 to 6 months.
The outcome of articular cartilage repair surgery depends on the extent of cartilage damage and on how successful the recovery process is. Approximately 80 % of cartilage repair surgeries are successful. A follow-up care includes close monitoring of new cartilage development through MRI imaging. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a non-invasive means to check on the healing process. MRI is safe and does not emit any radiation because neither X-rays or other radiation is used.
Articular cartilage surgery is the best option for those patients who had cartilage damage as a result of:
Eligible patients should otherwise have good health and wish to remain active. The prospective patients should be determined to undergo surgery and actively participate in their recovery afterwards. The patients who are affected by osteoarthritis (cartilage deterioration due to aging) cannot be treated with articular cartilage surgery and should be consulted for other possible types of treatment (e.g. knee joint replacement).
Preparing for the visit at the clinic is just as important as the surgery or rehabilitation. During the first consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon a patient is informed about the detailed treatment plan. The surgeon examines the patient’s medical history and evaluates certain medical tests, like MRI images (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). The patient should prepare to discuss past injuries and events which might have damaged the cartilage.
When the surgery is scheduled, a patient can focus on preparing for it. It is also recommended to have a list of all the medications taken. There are certain drugs and substances which can impair blood clotting, and thus, should be avoided (aspirin, ibuprofen, CoQ10, glucosamine chondroitin, flaxseed, vitamin E, fish oil, green tea, chia seeds, primrose oil, and garlic).
Patients are strongly advised to refrain from smoking at least one month before and after the surgery. Nicotine, which is found in tobacco, can significantly slow down the recovery by restricting the blood flow in the operated joint.
Pre-conditioning is very important in any knee surgery. Strengthening the muscles around the joint will certainly make rehabilitation easier and faster. A physiotherapist will suggest exercises that are suitable for the patient. Gentle stretching and aerobic exercises help to maintain flexibility, strength, and healthy weight.
A few weeks before the surgery patient can make the necessary arrangements at their homes for post-op recovery and purchase pain medication to use after the surgery. Moving downstairs or arranging furniture in a way that is comfortable to walk with a cane or crutches will make returning back home stress-free. Depending on doctor’s recommendations, a few weeks before the surgery the patient should consider purchasing assistive devices, like crutches or knee brace.
A week before the surgery a patient should undergo all the necessary medical tests. These tests usually include blood work, urine test, ECG (Electrocardiogram), MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), or others.
On the day of the surgery a patient should wear loose comfortable clothes which are easy to put on and take off, and should bring along assistive devices. The patient should not eat for at least 6 hours before the surgery in order to avoid regurgitation during the surgery. The patient should inform the medical team about any bruises, cuts, or rash near the joint, as they can possibly increase infection risk.
There are certain risks which are associated with articular cartilage repair that every prospective patient should get familiar with. Fortunately, complications occur rather seldom as every precaution is taken to provide the best medical care. Articular cartilage repair may include such risks as infection, allergic reaction to anaesthesia, bleeding inside the knee joint, or blood clot formation.
Recovery after articular cartilage repair consist of several stages. Each stage has different goals and eventually leads to full recovery and successful return to active lifestyle and sports.
Phase 1 (0-6 weeks). At this time CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine is used to start the joint moving and increase the range of motion. Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, is used to decrease inflammation and pain. A patient should wear a joint brace and use crutches when walking. The patient might also exercise in a pool after the incisions have fully healed.
Phase 2 (6-12 weeks). Full range of motion should be reached by this time. A patient should further work on increasing muscle strength and progress to full weight-bearing.
Phase 3 (12+ weeks). A patient should continue exercising as in phase 2 and further strengthen the muscles, endurance, and balance. At this time it is possible to return to light physical activities, such as golfing, walking, or biking.
Phase 4 (4-18 months). At this stage a patient can return to activities of higher physical demand. Depending on a particular sport, the patient should progress on doing advanced exercises regularly and successfully participate in active sports again.