Surgery to help youth avoid total knee replacement

The Sports Injury Centre of Safdarjung Hospital has introduced a new surgery for osteoarthritis of the  knee. The surgery is useful for  younger patients helping them to avoid total knee replacement.

“The life of a joint replacement is not more than 10-15 years. Thus, it is not the best option for people whose age is 50 years or below. In the new surgery we have introduced  at our centre, the leg-bone, tibia, is divided and then realigned. We do not touch the joints at all in this case,” said Dr Deepak Chaudhary, director of the centre.

The surgery is called the high tibial osteotomy (HTO). The centre procured the instruments needed for the surgery a few months ago. On Sunday, Dr Pranjal Kodkani of Shushrusha Hospital, Mumbai demonstrated three live surgeries to an audience of about 25 doctors, largely from Delhi and Chandigarh.

“This marked the beginning of the surgery in the centre. We operate nearly 500 patients a year for knee problems. We expect 40-50 of them to be treated by HTO now,” said Dr Chaudhary. He added the patient has to procure an implant which is a special plate that will be fitted in the leg.

“The Indian variety made of stainless steel costs Rs 4-5 thousand while the good imported ones cost up to Rs 75,000. The patients can purchase according to their pocket,” said Dr Chaudhary. Rest of the costs are borne by the hospital.

Usually, the problem of arthritis develops around the age of 40. The younger population may face similar damage due to ligament break, long standing ligament injury or participation in sports. Though the technique has been around for a while, availability of quality material is relatively recent.

“We get more refined plates. Even the procedure has become well defined. Now we have the exact correction in measurement to the last one degree,” said Dr Chaudhary. This is almost like getting the original leg back.

The operation takes nearly an hour and the patient is admitted in the hospital only for a few days.

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