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Knee & Hip Joints:Dr Ashok Rajgopal, Executive Director & Chairman, Fortis Bone & Joint Institute, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute & Hospital

 

Progress and the price we pay for it!!!

In the same breath we could say Technology and its benefts to mankind…….!!!

While on the one hand we have progressed from walking to cycling and driving cars- steadily moving towards a sedentary lifestyle. We have also progressed from quietly accepting physical pain and disability to wanting a cure for allour health problems.

Recent advances in medical technology have not only helped improve lives but have also aided in early diagnosis of various medical conditions. Arthritis is one such condition that has shown a rise, both in the reported incidences and its treatment options. It is a form of joint disorder that involves swelling and pain of one or more joints. Given the fact that it is a progressive degenerative condition conservative measures may or may not help. Some patients may find their problem gradually progressing over a period of time, with joint pain interfering with normal activities of daily living. In such situations Total Joint Replacement surgery offers a complete cure to the patients’ problems.

According to Dr Ashok Rajgopal, Executive Director and Chairman Fortis Bone & Joint Institue, Joint replacement surgery is by far the treatment of choice for people suffering from arthritis of any joint, particularly the weight bearing joints of the body i.e. the knees and the hips.

Joint degeneration is not restricted by socio economic boundaries not is it an age specific condition- it can affect anyone at any stage of their lives. One can be 16 years old and sufferring from joint degeneration (either hip or knee) or one may be 90 years old and suffer from the same condition. When your quality of life starts getting compromised and you start feeling dependent on others for normal day to day activities you need to seriously consider a joint replacement surgery. The ideal time to undergo this surgery is when you have pain at rest not relieved by medicines and other conventional modalities.

Today the options for joint replacement surgery are so advanced that patients sit on the floor, walk, play golf, swim, drive cars and lead full normal active lives within three months from surgery. Patients used to be reluctant to undergo this surgery because of a fear of the unknown. They did not know what to expect after the surgery and there were so many myths in the market that patients probably felt that they were better off in pain than having restrictions imposed on them after surgery. They would allow the disease process to escalate to such levels that they would end up leading very dependent lives.

The fact that todays patient is getting younger and more aware also leads to the fact that the demand on the replaced joint are far more that what they were 20 years ago- thereby increasing the challenges faced by the orthopaedic surgeons. Not only does he have to think about the quality of life that the patient would like after the durgery but also about the longevity of the impalnt. Todays knee and hip implants are made of highly polished metal alloys which are very strong and well tolerated by the human body. The design of the implants is such that they very closely mimic the natural hip and knee joints. With advances in technology todays joints are almost personalised/ or customised to give a natural feel to the patient. Most patients by the end of a year from surgery forget that they have had a joint replacement surgery.

Furthermore, developments like computer assisted navigation, with systems like iASSIST (Zimmer) and eNdtrac (Stryker) which are surgical guidance systems engineered to improve the accuracy and alignment of the replaced joints, and as mentioned earlier newer designs which closely replicate the normal human anatomy all help in ensuring superior outcomes.

Today joint replacement surgery is no longer a fear of the unknown- it is actually a journey towrads a healthier more productive, independent and dignified life.

 

 

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rajni@medgatetoday.com

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