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In a first, 135-kg woman gets both knees replaced

New Delhi: Doctors at Indian Spinal Injury Centre have performed a rare and probably first of its kind surgery where both the knees of an elderly patient, suffering from osteoarthritis, were replaced using a computer navigation technology. The patient Usha Sharma aged 62 was bedridden for over 2 years and was having severe pain in both her knees due to osteoarthritis. What worsened the case was her weight. Weighing 135 kgs, she was suffering from morbid obesity, with several health issues.
Dr Vivek Mahajan, Joint Replacement and Arthroscopy Surgeon, Indian Spinal Injuries Center, who treated the patient, says "Operating such an overweight patient is very challenging for any orthopedic surgeon. Perhaps this was a contributory factor why she was refused proper treatment from many other healthcare facilities. In obese patients, it is difficult to find the exact bony landmarks to make accurate bone cuts and place implants with accuracy when the surgery is being performed in a conventional manner. Even a little fault in alignment can result in early failure of the implants. In morbidly obese patients, conventional surgery poses high risks of failure. As the patient weighed 135 kg, we performed bilateral knee replacement guided by computer navigation technology."
While overweight people tend to suffer breakdown of joint cartilage faster, obesity also poses problems in conducting joint replacement surgery. However, availability of advanced technology and due expertise in conducting the surgery, made the operation successful.
"This was probably the first of its kind surgery where both knees were replaced at the same time in such an overweight patient using computer navigation. The patient has lost almost 30 kgs in one year following the surgery. Computer navigation helps ensure precision in making accurate bone cuts and placing the implants in absolutely right alignment. With computer assisted technology there is need for smaller incision and much higher chances of good outcome", said Dr. Mahajan.
Less cutting means less blood loss and limited damage to the muscles and ligaments. All these benefits bring early recovery, quicker discharge from the hospital and better knee function, he added.

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