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Hi-Tech Hinge For Knee

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Total knee replacement surgery helps arthritis patients to regain natural movement, reports Shabina Akhtar

.PAINKILLER: Knee implant makes life easy

.Fifty-year-old Samita Mukherjee Mondal could not bear the pain in her knee any longer, despite the handfuls of anti-inflammatory pills she was consuming. Diagnosed with osteoarthritis, she was advised total knee replacement surgery (TKRS).

“After the operation, my life has changed,” says Mondal, a practising lawyer at the Calcutta High Court. “The knee implant has helped me regain my natural movement.”

TKRS comes as a ray of hope for nearly seven million people in India who suffer from either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. The purpose of this procedure is simple — to eliminate the pain restricting the patient’s routine activities.

Life is all about enjoying unrestricted mobility. If arthritis strikes, the only option available is a knee implant. With TKRS, we try to mimic the natural joint,” says Prof. Hans Peter Scharf, chairman of the department of orthopaedic surgery and traumatology at Klinikum Mannheim, Germany. Scharf has of late been shuttling between Germany and India, operating on patients in Calcutta, Mumbai and Chennai.

Various options are available for TKRS such as fixed platform flexion (or FPF, in which the replacement does not allow for much movement due to its fixed nature), rotating platform flexion (or RPF, in which the artificial joint allows for circular movement of the knee) and low contact stresses prosthesis in which the metal implant is given a high density polyethylene coating. The purpose of the coating is to enable the rotating metallic platform to mimic the natural patella (knee bone) movement.

The new age high flexion RPF, however, goes a step ahead — it accommodates complex knee movements up to 155 degrees with reduced wear. This allows the patient to squat or even sit cross-legged.

“RPF happens to give the best results for Indian patients as we are fond of squatting and sitting cross-legged on the floor,” says Dr P.K. Banerjee, an orthopaedic surgeon at Peerless Hospital, Calcutta. Here, rotational freedom is achieved by increasing the contact area and reducing contact stress. The self-aligning system — and that’s possible with high-density polyethylene coating — facilitates the central patellar tracking (movement of the patella in the knee joint area).

“The advantage of computer assisted surgery or CAS is that operation procedures are reliable,” adds Scharf.

Arthritis has become a common ailment today, thanks to our changing lifestyles and alarming obesity rates. Women are more prone to this disease than are men, the ratio of the sufferers being 3:1, observes Dr Banerjee. Moreover, the percentage of women affected prior to menarche (the first menstrual period) and those after menopause is very high

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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