April 28, 2011

INDIA: 93-yr-old undergoes successful knee operation

NEW DELHI / The Times of India /  News / April 28, 2011

At 93, S.N. Bhatt could be the oldest to get back on his feet after undergoing a pathbreaking knee-replacement surgery.

He may not be able to relive his youth when he dazzled with his stickwork on the hockey turf or ride his horse to glory. But he won't be bound to his wheelchair anymore. Bhatt will walk again, thanks to successful replacement of both his knees deformed by osteoarthritis.

He was operated upon at Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, recently and doctors claim SN Bhatt is the oldest patient to undergo knee replacement surgery. Bhatt is in exalted company. Both he and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee have undergone a similar surgery. Not just this, both share the same alma mater - Victoria College, Gwalior.

Dr Raju Vaishya, senior orthopedic consultant at Indraprashta Apollo hospital  (Photograph courtesy: doctorsgallery.com)

"Earlier, my legs would be swollen. I would writhe in pain and be bedridden. Now, it is much better. I can walk on my own. I have regained my lost life," said Bhatt. There was radiance in his eyes and youthful vigour to his voice as he expressed gratitude to his doctors.

Bhatt, who retired as principal of a degree college in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh, said he led an active life before the debilitating knee problem.

"I have played hockey with the legendary Dhyanchand. Former PM Vajpayee was a junior at my college and we often participated in debates. He also suffered from knee arthritis," said Bhatt.

The nonagenarian was diagnosed with severe arthritis of both knees a decade ago and for the last one year, he was bedridden.

His condition worsened, but he did not lose hope. Dr Raju Vaishya, senior orthopedic consultant at Indraprashta Apollo hospital, who conducted the surgery said, "Normally, we don't undertake complicated surgeries on old patients. But he was confident and this helped us.

The surgery took three hours, double the normal time. A part of his leg bone had degenerated and we had to mend it by grafting new bones from his body part.

"We also used special prosthesis to provide a solid foundation," he said.Bhatt can be an inspiration for thousands of senior citizens, who think they cannot undergo a major surgery.

"In India, longevity of people is increasing and we now have more people living beyond 70," Vaishya said. But older patients generally do not agree to such a surgery. This situation needs to change," he added.

Copyright © 2011 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.