A hockey player once, SN Bhatt (93) had been suffering from excruciating pain in the knee and deformity in both legs ever since he was diagnosed with severe arthritis 10 years ago. And for the past one year he had been wheelchair bound. On April 14, 2011, Bhatt, a resident of Bhilai in Chattisgarh, was operated upon at New Delhi’s Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, where he had come for consultation a year ago. Dr Raju Vaishya, senior consultant, orthopaedics, performed the complex bilateral (both) knee replacement surgery in a single sitting. Now, the nonagenarian will be able to walk after a hiatus of a decade. “Usually, we don’t recommend knee replacement to such old people because of the complications involved. But in this case, we found the person to be medically fit despite his advanced age. So we decided to go ahead with the surgery,” said Dr Vaishya. Bhatt only had hypertension that was well under control, the doctor said. Due to his old age, a more advanced implant was used than what is used in normal knee replacement surgeries. The surgery cost Bhatt Rs. 4 lakh approximately. It took three hours to replace both his knees and, while operating upon him, surgeons also found defect in the bone of his lower legs, tibia. “We used bone grafts to correct the defect during the surgery,” said Dr Vaishya.
Bhatt started walking four days after the surgery. “The pain is gone. I feel much better now,” he said.