Brittle bones

Brittle bones


Brittle bones

The bones in your body give it the right structure and frame. Without them, the human body is just a heap of shapeless immobile mush. The nurturing of your bone is a necessity starting from an early age, as a preventive measure to various gradual ailments that might affect the bone.

One of the most common conditions affecting the bone is osteoarthritis – the condition of stiff and painful joints which eventually affects the daily routine and normal life of a person. A knee replacement surgery is mostly considered and performed at this stage to ensure that the patient continues to lead an obstacle-free life.

But what happens after a knee replacement surgery? Not many people are aware that the life of replacement joints (prosthesis) used for the surgery is only 10 to 15 years. Different reasons can cause it to fail even before this time period, such as:
Post surgery infection
Improper positioning of components
Rigorous exercises like running.

When a primary knee replacement surgery fails, then, a procedure called revision knee replacement is done. A revision surgery should not be taken lightly.

Challenges & pre-requisites

This procedure requires experienced surgeons to perform, good hospital infrastructure to conduct the surgery, full armamentarium of implants and good post operative care and most importantly, effective rehabilitation. The surgeons too have to plan diligently, use specialised tools and require greater surgical skill. The hospital has to have a joint replacement theater, good post-operative ICU unit, blood bank facility and experienced people to handle the patient.

The complication rate is twice as seen in primary replacement. The issues would be wound healing problem, infection, stiffness, residual pain. The life span of the replacement joint too is around 10 to 15 years.


The best way to avoid even a primary surgery and its consequences is to meticulously take care of your bones from an early age. Calcium plays a significant part in your bone strength. Include food rich in Vitamin D such as yogurt, cheese, milk, spinach, cereals and eggs. Regular physical exercise is certainly a key to healthy bones. Running, walking, jogging, swimming and other sporting activities keep bones strong.

In case of primary surgery to be done, get it done by an experienced surgeon, with good implants, in good hospitals and having low complication rate. A point to remember – mobility is a significant aspect in our daily life and bones play a major part in our ability to move freely without hassles – ensure to keep them strong!

(The author is director, orthopaedics, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru)

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