When doctors asked Nirdosh Thapar (67), to undergo a total knee replacement surgery to cure her artho-arthritis, the Andheri resident was worried about the long, painful road to recovery including several months of physiotherapy before she could get back on her own feet.
Instead, she was walking without any support within a few hours after the surgery on June 22.
“When I got home from the hospital, a neighbour saw me without a walker or a stick and asked if I had postponed the surgery,” said Thapar.
Her express recovery was possible owing to a new technique in total knee replacement surgery (TKR) called quad sparing, in which the main leg muscles (quadriceps) are moved aside and spared during surgery.
Conventional TKR surgery cuts through muscle tissues, which can take up to three months to regrow and physiotherapy is required to regain control.
“The operation is done through a very small incision in the skin and no muscle is cut. There is little pain and patients can bend and straighten the leg right away, and walk without a stick or walker the same day,” said Dr Arun Mullanji, joint replacement surgeon, who helped developed the technique with his team at the Breach Candy Hospital.
Nirdosh Thapar was the first person in the country to undergo the new procedure, added Mullanji.
“I had arranged for a physiotherapist, hired a cook and had my daughter fly down from the United States for three weeks to help me with the post-surgery recovery. But I can manage nicely on my own,” said Thapar.
The computer-aided technique uses a software to help position artificial knee implants. Physiotherapy is ruled out and patients can go home in a day and perform normal everyday functions including climbing stairs independently.