State-owned Orthopaedic Hospital in Wamakko town, Sokoto, Nigeria, for the first time, has successfully performed three total knee replacement surgeries.
A total knee replacement surgery otherwise known as arthroplasty is a major surgery that entails the resurfacing of a knee damaged by arthritis or health other conditions.
During the procedure, the knee is replaced with an artificial joint. In cases of partial knee replacements, metal and plastic materials are used to form knee caps/artificial knee joints.
As documented by WebMD, the corrective surgery takes about 1-2 hours. The doctor attaches the metal prosthesis(alloys of cobalt-chromium and titanium) to the ends of the thigh and calf bones. After that, a wear-resistant plastic spacer is placed between the metal pieces.
Arthroplasty is an option for severe cases of arthritis pain or knee injury.
According to the Chief Medical Director, CMD, of the hospital, Dr. Nuradeen Altine, 2 of the patients who had the surgery were 2 men aged 60 and 65 years. One of the men had both knees replaced.
“Two knees were replaced on both legs of one patient, while one knee was replaced on the leg of second patient. The surgeries were successfully conducted on March 25 by a team of surgeons from the hospital and their colleagues from the Orthopaedic Hospital, Dala, Kano.”
“The surgery is capital intensive because it involves the use of sophisticated equipment and titanium metal which is very expensive and had to be imported.”
“We hope the Sokoto State Government will continue to support the hospital with equipment, logistics, to have more of such operations.”
The Sokoto State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Balarabe Kakale, in a Business Day report said this was a brilliant and cost-effective development.
“The three surgeries cost about N1 million each, whereas the patients would have spent N10 million on each knee in India, Germany or other parts of the world.”
“Patients would no longer need to travel abroad for such operations and this would drastically reduce medical tourism,”
“The state government would continue to support the three-year old hospital to conduct such highly subsidized surgeries and other routine activities.”
The first knee replacement surgery ever was performed in 1968. In the United States, knee replacement surgeries are one of the most common and successful procedures.
Due to certain illnesses, injury or arthritis the knee cartilage can be damaged. This condition gives the patients excruciating pains and prevents them from walking well.
With arthroplasty the pain is reduced and the joint starts moving smoothly. Patients who undergo the surgery are hospitalized for say 3-5 days. The patient then uses the crutch or a walking aid to speed up his movement. In a 4-6 weeks span, major improvements are often recorded.
In some cases, it takes 3 months to a year for the swelling and pain to completely disappear.