Bend it like Beckham!
Painless knee replacement surgery
PHOTO: RAJEEV BHATT
Cycle to health Cycling keeps joint problems at bay
There was a time when knee replacement surgery was a painful venture for patients. However, advance technology has made the surgery easy and painless now. The recovery is so quick that a patient can be discharged from hospital within three to five days.
But what leads to the surgery? Who is likely to get it? Is it age-related? Experts, giving answers to such common queries, say there can be many reasons for the degeneration of the knee but arthritis is one of the main causes. Arthritis affects the bone joints and weakens them. For a lay person to identify the arthritis of the knee, the symptoms are pain, swelling of the knee area, locking and instability of the knee joint, etc.
Dr. R.K. Sharma, senior consultant, orthopaedics, and a joint replacement surgeon at the Apollo Hospitals in New Delhi, says, “The best treatment of the arthritis of the knee is the knee replacement surgery. Unlike the painful procedure before, there is now a new technique for thesurgery called multi-modal technique. This technique includes local infiltration analgesia (LIA) and minimal invasive surgery (MIS).” Explaining how it makes it a painless venture for the patient, he says, “In this technique, we cut the link of the brain with the pain. There is a principle that the vicious cycle of painless period should not be disrupted at any point of time. And the expert pain management team helps the patient with modern equipments like PCA pumps, epidural analgesia, etc. The surgery takes one to two hours.” Knee joint replacement surgery involves resurfacing the ends of the femur, the tibia and patella with man-made components and its name is prosthesis. Dr. Sharma adds, “Technically, this surgery is not a replacement but a resurfacing operation.”
There is also non-operative treatment available for the arthritis of the knee. Physiotherapy is one of them. But this can be used at a very early stage of the arthritis. Also, a lot of patients take analgesic pills to avoid pain. Dr.Sharma says excessive use of painkillers can cause serious problems in patients like irreparable damage to the kidneys.
Talking on similar lines, Dr. O.N. Nagi of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital cautions, “Many people don’t want to go for the surgery and rely on non-operative treatment for long. By doing that they only deteriorate the condition of the joint. This negligence can cause problem to other parts of the body like the spine. The new surgical technique quickly heals the joint and it is also free from muscle damage.”
However, arthritis can be avoided by leading a healthy lifestyle in one’s younger days. Arthritis is an age-related disease but diabetes, obesity and infections like tuberculosis, can also cause it. Dr. Havind Tandon from Orthonova Hospital underlines, “Almost seven crore people are affected with arthritis in our country. And women are more prone to joint related problems.” He also advocates knee replacement surgery when required but emphasises more on opting for a healthy lifestyle. He says, “Swimming and cycling are the best ways of keeping joints problems away. Every young person should do some exercise. And for older people, level walking is the best way to avoid such problems.”
Allaying fears in many patients suffering from severe arthritis, Dr. Tandon says, “People can do their normal work after the surgery. They can kneel and bend their knee like normal people. They can also offer Namaz.”
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