Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to crippling deformities in joints and unlike osteoarthritis which is seen in elderly population, it can affect us at any age. Rheumatoid arthritis is the second commonest type of arthritis due to which patients require a knee replacement surgery world wide.
Despite many advances in the medical treatment if this disease, severe joint damage can happen in-spite of medications and often such patients have to undergo replacement surgery of multiple joints for pain relief and to regain normal functional life.
We would like to share a story of thirty seven year old courageous school teacher suffering from crippling rheumatoid arthritis, that affected her at the age of seventeen.
The disease was aggressive and inspite of regular medications, she developed painful and stiff joints. She braved her condition with steely determination and a smile on her face. The disease progressed relentlessly, affecting both the knees. Gradually, the knees developed deformities, became very stiff and remained painful even at rest. Both the knees lost all the movement and were fixed in a bent position. She had started walking laboriously with a marked limp. This was affecting her physically as well as emotionally and she had started losing the mental battle against the crippling disease. In her quest to remain mobile, she tried rigorous physiotherapy and even took injections in the knee joints, all without any improvement in her condition. She visited us at Gurgaon Knee and Shoulder Clinic to consult Dr Jayant Arora, where the option of knee replacement surgery was discussed with her as a last resort to restore movements, relieve pain and improve walking. She was explained, that unlike most knee replacements, her surgery was not going to be straightforward and there were several issues that needed to be addressed. Since, she was nearly half the age as compared to a typical patient under going knee replacement, knee replacement made from a special material (Oxynium) was used instead of a standard metal implant. Oxynium implants are preferred in young patients undergoing knee replacement as that are stronger than metal implants and are expected to last longer. Our vastly experienced Surgeon performed the replacement of both knees at Columbia Asia Hospital using a modified surgical technique to account for stiff and tight muscles,deformed and weak bones. The rehabilitation was carefully planned and done under regular supervision, leading to a very quick recovery. Her colleagues were left amazed when she resumed working three months after surgery, able to walk normally, climb stairs and drive, as if there was never anything wrong in her knees. The only thing that didn't change was her infectious smile!