7 June 2018
Knee replacement is an accepted and highly successful procedure for patients suffering from arthritis of knee joint. Recent advances in implants and surgical technique have increased the acceptability of this surgical procedure and patients are more willing to undergo the surgery these days.
One of the major fears of patients who are planning to undergo surgery is that the process of recovery after surgery can be prolonged and painful. The very fear that they will have to be on rest, or undergo prolonged physiotherapy or their family and social or professional life will get disrupted, is a major reason people postpone their surgery.
With increasing patient life-span, more and more patients above the age of 80yrs are willing to undergo knee replacement these days to enable them maintain an active lifestyle. Also more and more young patients are suffering from arthritis these days, and we are now seeing patients in the age group of 40-50 years who are candidates for knee replacement.
At Advanced Hip and Knee clinic, Chandigarh we have devised a novel technique for knee replacement via which patients can walk upto 1 km within 2 days of surgery without any pain.
While elaborating on this technique, Dr. Vineet Sharma said that with this technique, we have been able to reduce the hospital stay from 5-7 days to 1-3 days. This enables the patient to recover at the comfort of their homes and also includes major cost benefit to the patient. Early discharge also reduces the chances of hospital acquired infections. There have been no increase in complication rate or readmission rate with this technique and patient satisfaction and results are excellent.
This technique comprises of modification in the standard technique for surgery at multiple levels and includes patient education and rehab before surgery, modification in anesthesia and surgical technique and better pain control after surgery. The requirement for formal physiotherapy with this technique is minimal as patients are able to do simple exercises at their own without any difficulty.
Conventional techniques for knee replacement comprised of bed rest for weeks and physiotherapy for months. This prolonged period of rest and physiotherapy was a major mind block for many patients who were considering knee replacement. Patients used to fear this prolonged recovery phase and disruption in family social and professional life.
With our modified technique, patients can go and sit at their office or workplace comfortably within 5-7 days after surgery.
Most of the patients are able to walk with 6-8 hours of surgery and can walk without any support with 5 hours of knee replacement. Patients can climb up and down the stairs within 2 days of surgery and cal drive a car with 5-7 days of surgery.
Dr. Sharma explained that the conventional surgical technique for knee replacement puts a lot of stress on our body, particularly heart, lungs and kidney as a consequence patients feel weakness, loss of appetite and disturbed sleep for months after knee replacement. These effects can hamper the recovery of function after knee replacement surgery. A major advantage of our surgical technique is that the peri-operative period ( the time period before, during and after surgery) is so well monitored and managed that the stress on other body parts especially the heart and lungs is negligible. Thus patients with medical problems like prior angioplasty or cardiac bypass, lung disorders and old age, diabetes can undergo the procedure safely. We have a series of over 300 patients who had a history of cardiac bypass or angioplasty before knee replacement over last 11 years and have got excellent results after surgery
The recovery process has been made so comfortable and pain-free that patients don’t even feel that they have undergone a major surgery, Dr. Vineet elaborated. With most family members working these days the disruption in family and work with this novel technique is minimal. Dr. Vineet Sharma also told the media persons, that lot of patients come from abroad to undergo knee replacement at our centre and they can travel back to their native country via flight within 15 days of surgery.
Dr. Vineet Sharma told the media that he learnt this technique in USA between 2005-2007 and even at that time, we were discharging the patients on the evening of surgery. We have been using this technique in India since 2007 and have been very successful in reducing the hospital stay after surgery to 1-3 days. The patient acceptability of this technique is very good and over time, patients have now started demanding to go home early as they fell more comfortable and relaxed in the familiar environment of home.