The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Enter, mobile artificial knee

Over 220 cases a year, and a total market value of over Rs 3.5 crore.

The demand for knee replacement surgeries — one of the most complicated operations in the world — is steadily rising in the city, which has recorded the highest number of cases in eastern India in the past 12-odd months, second only to Mumbai and New Delhi.

On Saturday, the latest variety of mobile bearing artificial knee in India was launched in Calcutta.

Known as NK2 from Germany, it promises to offer stiff competition to other market leaders, which mostly manufacture static artificial knees.

This latest contraption will make knee-replacement surgery less complicated and more affordable, eliminating the chances of early redo-surgery.

It was demonstrated through a two-hour operation at Peerless Hospital by re-constructive orthopaedic surgeon Med Wolfgang Klauser of Germany. The audience comprised top orthopaedic surgeons of Calcutta. A 60-year-old woman was operated upon.

“We have been very impressed with the demands in Calcutta. So, Calcutta was the perfect place for the launch,” said Klauser, who has himself designed the NK2 variety.

P.K. Banerjee, a leading orthopaedic surgeon, attributes the rising number of cases in Calcutta to a greater awareness among the people after the media highlighted Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s knee replacement surgery.

Apart from Sulzer, which is the newest entrant, Johnson & Johnson is the market leader in Calcutta.

“I have always used the Johnson & Johnson kit. It is very good. I will, however, try out Sulzer now, since it is the latest variety and seems good enough,” said Banerjee.

In most cases, patients, who generally come for knee replacements, are suffering from degenerative bone diseases and often have to undergo re-do surgeries after 10-odd years.

“There is bound to be wear-and-tear, but with the latest mobile variety, we hope to increase life expectancy of the artificial knee by at least another 20 years,” said orthopaedic surgeon of Peerless Hospital and the coordinator in the live demonstration, Joydeep Banerjee Chowdhury.

This latest variety of mobile artificial knee, replacing the static ones, will allow the patient normal mobility of the leg, which is not possible with the insertion of the static ones.

The cost of the NK2 knee will be around Rs 82,000. Besides, a patient will have to cough up another Rs 60,000 for the surgery and hospital stay. The cost of the Johnson and Johnson kit is more or less the same as Sulzer.

“With the latest variety of mobile artificial knee, we hope to grow further and stop the exodus of patients from Calcutta. After eastern India and the neighbouring countries, we are now targeting other parts of the country, where NK2 is not available,” said Sudipta Mitra, assistant medical superintendent of Peerless Hospital.

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