Determined to find fast, effective treatment for her knee pain, Marina Stock took it in her stride to travel to Lithuania and undergo an innovative, low-cost operation with Fi Clinica

The National Health Service is going through one of the most difficult times in the last decade. Record numbers of patients have to wait years for surgery or treatment. In hopes of getting help sooner, more and more citizens are travelling to Lithuania

The boom in medical tourism started in the summer of 2020 when quarantines delayed a number of UK NHS operations. “In recent years, there has been a marked increase in demand for orthopedic surgery and treatment. The number of such patients has doubled,” says a medical representative one of the largest private clinics in the Baltic States.

Patients with knee problems find walking difficult and are in much pain. They are often forced to look for an alternative to improve their quality of life faster. Medical tourists often choose Lithuania for better cost and quality ratio, compensation options, shorter waiting lists and short flights from all directions.

Marina’s story is one of many

Marina Stock worked for years at a stationary job before suffering an injury. Over time, she began to experience wear in both her knee joints.

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Eventually, the pain in her knees that had been tormenting her for almost ten years became so severe that she could walk longer distances only with the help of her husband.

In 2021, after a visit to a physiotherapist, Marina found out she urgently needed both knees replaced. In her home country, even in severe pain, a surgeon would not have examined her for at least a year. Without waiting, she turned to Lithuanian specialists.

At the Kaunas-based treatment facility Fi Clinica, she had one knee joint replaced and a total knee endoprosthesis just a few months later. Marina exercised three weeks after the operation, and her health improved rapidly.

“Three months later, just before the New Year, I had a video call with a doctor from Lithuania. Doctor Aurimas Širka was very happy with the progress I had made. I found out that I will be able to have my next knee surgery in six months. I booked new flights about two weeks after my return,” says Ms. Stock.

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Back home, Marina faced the painful reality that, like thousands of other NHS patients, she had to wait 150 weeks for her second knee operation back home, almost three years. “I knew that if I waited for the operation in my home country, not only would I be worse off than I was before the operation, but probably because of the irregular walking after the operation, my hip would also start to wear,” she says.

Advanced treatment for younger patients

According to Aurimas Širka, MD PhD Orthopedist-traumatologist at Fi Clinica, orthopedic problems are usually caused by genetics, age or trauma. If left untreated, arthrosis leads to progressive wear and tear of the knee joint, which causes severe pain and restricts movement. Marina was diagnosed with grade 3 arthritis in both knees.

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“We individually assessed the patient’s knee condition and selected the Evolution® Medial-Pivot Knee System, which provides optimal knee flexion stability, anatomic motion and limits wear to a maximum. The innovative prosthesis restores the natural anatomy of the knee joint, creating the conditions for natural movement of the quadriceps and patella, thus allowing freedom of movement,” says the surgeon.

This case is unique, according to the doctor. “Normally, after the first knee replacement, the patient has to wait 2–3 months to restore movement and muscle function. In this case, the implant reduced the pain and allowed the natural function of the knee to be replicated. This allowed Marina to follow the exercise plan faithfully and quickly and easily strengthened her leg muscles. So, we could perform the second knee surgery after just six months,” says the doctor.

“Research has shown that taking care of the knee and exercising before knee replacement gives the best long-term results,” says Aurimas Širka. “First, all the necessary tests are carried out to select the most appropriate treatment for the patient.” The latest treatment techniques can be applied for young and active patients who are coming from abroad in increasing numbers. It shortens the patient's recovery time after surgery, reduces pain and allows them to get back to their preferred activities as soon as possible.

Treatment costs half as much

Each trip costs Marina £8,000. This includes flights, surgery, travel insurance, transport, hotels and a recovery period at the spa. “Several of my friends have had knee and hip surgery in the UK. They spent an awful lot of money but didn't get the care and service they would have received in Lithuania. When they find out how much everything costs me, they are shocked. My whole trip was half the cost of a private operation in the UK,” says Marina Stock.

Many Britons are reluctant or unwilling to leave their country, yet Marina says: “As soon as I landed at the airport, I didn't have to worry about anything else. I was accompanied, looked after and cared for throughout the whole journey, right up until I got back on the plane. That's another reason why I came back here.”

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Knee replacement surgery in Lithuania

In Fi Clinica, the top Lithuanian and internationally acknowledged specialists perform a wide range of orthopedic surgeries designed to keep people of all ages pain-free and active. Arthroplasty surgeries are performed using the Quick Recovery Program. This program is designed to minimize the time spent in the hospital and to restore pain-free movement for the patient in the shortest possible time.

Aurimas Širka is a highly experienced orthopedic surgeon who performs over 400 surgeries annually. The physician specializes in endoscopic knee and hip replacement and employs a blend of modern and unique surgical techniques using the highest quality implants like MicroPort® Orthopedics’ Medial-Pivot Knee. Medial-Pivot implants are designed to recreate the motion of a normal, healthy knee.

Easily schedule an online consultation with MD, PhD orthopedist-traumatologist Aurimas Širka to discuss the best treatment option for you by phone at +370 626 88838 or e-mail at or go to