There was a time when joint pain and fragile bones were chiefly associated with old age. The ground reality today would negate that notion. Today, India has a sizable section of its young population that is gripped by harrowing joint pain. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in six people and one in three families suffers from arthritis in India, which translates roughly to about 15 to 17 per cent of the Indian population. About 30 per cent of our adult population writhes under the influence of chronic pain due to a plethora of reasons.
Most of the ailments related to joint aches can be cured with the help of various surgeries but many hesitate to take that route because of the fear the term ‘operation’ instills in their minds. One such person was a lady called Kadam, 65 years of age, a resident of Pune who had spent seven years bearing the excruciating joint pain. It was only after being cajoled into it by her two sons that she finally gave in and decided to give artificial joint implant surgery a chance. She discovered that the operation was nothing like she imagined it to be! With changing technology, experienced doctors and newer drug treatments, painful surgeries have become a thing of the past.
There have been various advancements in medical science and technology which have made bone and knee replacement surgeries painless, starting from anaesthesia, the injection which completely numbs the lower part of the body only for three hours after which the patient’s limbs regain their strength. The anaesthesia effect also helps in reducing pain for 24 hours after the surgery and the time required to heal the wound decreases too.
Earlier cutting through thigh muscles was a necessity at the time of knee replacement due to which the patient used to feel excessive pain after the operation and it would also result in unpleasant post-surgery exercise sessions. This is now replaced with a new method called Muscle Spring Approach or Subvastus Approach under which the muscle is moved away instead of cutting it. This method makes the surgery relatively less painless, which enables the patient to move on the same day of the operation and also makes way for smoother post-operation exercise sessions.
The other significant advancement in technology is the change in the structure of artificial joint which has increased the durability of the artificial joint (joint implant) up to three times in comparison to its older counterparts.
The changes in the design of the artificial joints have also been beneficial for patients for natural mobility as these joints are placed closer to human knees.
Partial Knee Replacement is another helpful procedure that has helped patients whose knees are not completely damaged. This operation is done by preserving all the ligaments in their places because of which the patient recovers and is completely healed in a short span of time.
There has always been a prominent fear of bleeding and threat to life during operation. The amount of bleeding during and after operation has become negligible due to the changing methods of operation and modern medicines. The new procedure has become completely risk-free because of the pre-operation tests, advance surgery methods and proper care.
It is time the notions surrounding surgeries are broken and this new form of joint replacement surgery is here to do precisely that — offer a painless and hassle-free option that makes the patient’s road to recovery a less bumpy one.
Still scared to get operated to relieve yourself of the persistent discomfort of joint pain? Think again.
-Dr Abhijit Agashe, Joint Replacement Surgeon, Sahyadri Hospitals