Patient undergoes four joint replacement surgeries
PUNE: Sixty-year-old Suman Prakash (name changed) had lost all her hopes of standing on her own feet. A patient of the most painful bone disorder called polyarthritis, popularly known as rheumatoid arthritis, Prakash was having severe pain, swelling and stiffness in all the joints for over the past eight years.
The multiple-joints arthritis, she had, aggravated her pain. Prakash had to undergo four joint replacement surgeries one after another that eventually helped her stand on her feet. “Prakash was a unique case of rheumatoid arthritis, in which all or most of the joints in a person’s body stop working. Initially, she ignored the pain attributing it to overwork or stress. But soon the pain became unbearable and she was on medications, popping analgesics and steroid,” said orthopaedic and joint replacement surgeon Nardendra Vaidya, director of Lokmanya Hospital, Nigdi who treated her.
Elaborating, Vaidya said, “Rheumatoid arthritis occurs due to interaction between genetic, environmental and hormonal factors leading to an autoimmune reaction – body’s immune system fails to recognise tissues as its own, considering them as foreign and therefore attacks them. The result is inflammation and eventually destruction and deformity of the joints.” While there are 150 varieties of arthritis affecting almost 150 million people in India, about 10 million suffer from the debilitating rheumatoid arthritis. Studies suggest that every third person above the age of 70 years suffers from arthritis-induced knee pain.
Prakash had initially visited Vaidya with unbearable pain in her left hip and inability to walk, sit and squat. “As prolonged medications over the years had failed to relieve her of pain, left hip replacement surgery to correct the deformity was the only hope. It was done in June, 2006. The aim of the surgery was to relieve the pain and improve the function of the joints,” Vaidya said. However the pain was far from over. Soon, she started having pain in her right knee. Due to progress of the disease pathology in non-operated joints, she was bedridden and could not walk, sit and was unable to climb staircase and perform daily activities. Doctors suggested her to undergo total knee replacement of her right knee.
“After the surgeries on her left hip and right knee, she had a complete pain-free experience in these joints,” said Vaidya. However, soon enough Prakash had problem with her neck pain as there was problem at C1 and C2 vertebra. Doctors did a cervical fusion for the same in November, 2007. Later she started getting pain in her other non-operated joints. Vaidya had to also replaced her right hip in June, 2009 and left knee in January, 2012. “Now, I am able to stand on my own feet, walk without any support, perform daily activities and enjoy a pain free and completely independent life,” beams Prakash. Vaidya points out that in India the awareness of osteoarthritis is dismal and even if people are aware most of them delay surgeries. “People must realise that replacement surgery is very convenient these days, thanks to the easily available and simplified devices and implants,” Vaidya said.
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