Canadians Orthopedic

From Waitlists to World-Class Care: How Canadians are Exploring Global Orthopedic Solutions

March 17, 2023

In Canada, orthopedic and neurosurgery are some of the most in-demand medical procedures. Unfortunately, the lengthy wait times for these surgeries can be frustrating and detrimental to patients’ health. As a result, many Canadians are opting to travel abroad for orthopedic procedures. This article will explore the reasons behind this trend, the benefits, and drawbacks of traveling for surgery, and some popular destinations for Canadians seeking orthopedic care.

Why do Canadians travel abroad for orthopedic procedures?

The answer is simple: wait times. The Canadian government’s Healthcare System guarantees universal access to medical services. However, this also means that people must wait their turn. Orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery have some of the longest wait times in the country, with patients waiting up to 49.2 weeks for neurosurgery and 46.1 weeks for hip or knee replacement. Extended wait times can result in damaging medical outcomes, turning potentially reversible illnesses or injuries into chronic, irreversible conditions or disabilities. They also take a mental toll on patients, who may suffer from anxiety and depression while they wait for treatment. This can be seen in patients who can no longer leave the house or spend time with family and friends.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of traveling for orthopedic procedures?

One of the main benefits of traveling abroad for orthopedic procedures is that it allows patients to receive medical care in a more timely and efficient manner. Additionally, traveling for surgery can often be less expensive than waiting for treatment in Canada. However, one disadvantage is the lack of follow-up care that patients receive after returning home. This can lead to complications or a lack of proper care if something goes wrong. Furthermore, traveling for surgery can be stressful and may require significant logistical planning.

What are some popular destinations for Canadians seeking orthopedic care?

Montana, USA, is a popular destination for Canadians seeking orthopedic care due to its proximity to the province of Alberta. Patients can drive over the border to receive care and return home as soon as advisable. In addition, Montana has several world-class orthopedic clinics, including the Orthopedic Surgery Center of Montana in Missoula, which specializes in joint replacement, sports medicine, and spine surgery.

Another popular destination for Canadians seeking orthopedic care is Arizona, particularly the city of Phoenix. Many people from all over Canada drive or fly to Arizona for the winter months, and schedule procedures and recovery time while they’re in the US. Phoenix has orthopedic clinics all over that have some of the most up-to-date surgeries available. The CORE Institute, for example, is a renowned orthopedic center in Phoenix that specializes in joint replacement, spine surgery, and sports medicine.

Certainly, here are some recommendations for Canadians who are traveling abroad for orthopedic procedures:

  1. Research the clinic and surgeon: Before traveling for surgery, it’s important to thoroughly research the clinic and surgeon you plan to use. Look for a reputable clinic with a high success rate and experienced surgeons who specialize in the specific procedure you need. You can read reviews from previous patients, check the clinic’s accreditations, and verify the surgeon’s credentials.
  2. Plan for aftercare: One of the biggest concerns with traveling abroad for surgery is the lack of follow-up care. Make sure to plan for aftercare, such as physical therapy or rehabilitation, and coordinate with your healthcare provider in Canada. You may need to arrange for a local healthcare provider to oversee your care after returning home.
  3. Get medical clearance: Before traveling for surgery, it’s important to get medical clearance from your primary care physician or specialist. They can evaluate your overall health and ensure you are a good candidate for surgery.
  4. Check your insurance coverage: Make sure to check with your insurance provider to understand what medical expenses will be covered while abroad. You may need to purchase additional travel insurance to cover any unexpected costs. Please visit for more information.
  5. Plan for travel and accommodations: When planning for surgery abroad, make sure to factor in travel and accommodations. You may need to arrange for transportation to and from the clinic, as well as lodging during your recovery period. Ask the surgery center or hospital for recommendations as some offer discounts.
  6. Follow pre-operative instructions: Your surgeon will provide you with pre-operative instructions to ensure you are adequately prepared for surgery. It’s important to follow these instructions carefully to minimize the risk of complications and ensure a successful surgery.
  7. Communicate with your healthcare provider: Make sure to communicate with your healthcare provider in Canada throughout the process. They can provide guidance and support, as well as help coordinate aftercare upon your return home.

In summary, traveling abroad for orthopedic procedures can be a viable option for Canadians seeking timely and efficient medical care. However, it’s important to carefully research the clinic and surgeon, plan for aftercare, get medical clearance, check insurance coverage, plan for travel and accommodations, follow pre-operative instructions, and communicate with your healthcare provider throughout the process. By taking these steps, you can ensure a successful and safe surgery abroad.

Canadians are choosing to travel abroad for orthopedic procedures due to long wait times and a desire for more timely and efficient medical care. While traveling for surgery can have benefits such as reduced costs and faster treatment, it is important to consider the drawbacks, including the lack of follow-up care and logistical planning required. Popular destinations for Canadians seeking orthopedic care include Montana and Arizona, which offer world-class orthopedic clinics and proximity to Canada. Ultimately, the decision to travel for medical care is a personal one that requires careful consideration and research.

You might also be interested in: Why do Canadians travel to another country for medical care?

Posted in Canda, Medical Tourism, Procedures.