Apollo Hospitals Muscat launches cartilage reconstruction clinic

Apollo Hospital Muscat has launched a Cartilage Reconstruction Clinic (CRC) at a recently held for CME for doctors entitled, ‘Shoulder Arthroscopy and Cartilage Reconstruction’

“For a nation that loves football, cartilage injury is very common and Apollo Hospital Muscat, which is dedicated to provide quality healthcare and identify the medical needs on a continual basis, decided to launch the CRC,” said V  T Saileswaran, managing director, Apollo Hospital Muscat.

“These extended services are being launched to cater to the country’s growing health requirements,” Saileswaran added.

The CRC will have the facility to replace the cartilage in younger individuals, which will be a boon to many, especially young footballers.

However, it is important to note that this is only applicable for young patients and it is not a treatment for osteoarthritis, senior doctors pointed out.

“For the past 15 years in Apollo Hospital Muscat, I have treated patients from15 to 50 years with ligament and cartilage injuries. I have been able to reconstruct the ligament injuries but we have always seen a coincidence of cartilage damage because of trauma and negligence of ligament injury.  Carrying on with the instability in the knee subsequently destroys the cartilage also,” said Dr Lenin, senior visiting consultant orthopaedic surgeon (arthroscopy and joint replacement) for the past 15 years.

The CRC will have the facility to replace the cartilage in younger individuals. “It is important to note that this is only applicable for young patients and it is not a treatment for osteoarthritis.  This is an exclusive treatment for younger individuals, who have multiple injuries inside the knee. Of these, nearly 30 to 40 percent are cartilage injuries,” Dr Lenin explained.

He also added that if a football injury leads to meniscus tear or an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear the doctors would just reconstruct it. In the earlier days, a cartilage injury would be just cleaned up as limited or rather virtually no options were available then.

The CRC will be headed by Dr Lenin. “He will be supported by our orthopedic team, which includes Dr Raghavan Sivaram, Dr S Saseendar and Dr Vaibhav Gandhi,” noted K. P. Shobha, General Manager, Apollo Hospitals Muscat.

The CRC will use B-MAC, bone marrow aspiration stem cells technology for the treatment where the bone marrow is aspirated and the stem cells are separated.  The stem cells are pluri-potential cells which can shape into cartilage cell and prevent early arthritis.

“We place it in the defect which will produce almost a near normal cartilage for the patient.  This particular procedure will help them to prevent developing osteoarthritis at a young age.  I have seen that patients who were treated for meniscus and ACL injuries have gone back to sports but when they see me now, after 10 to 15 years, they complain about pain when they play. The X-rays would show signs of early osteoarthritis. This is because the cartilage injury could not be addressed in the earlier stages.  Now the B-MAC technology will be able to solve that issue that will help their knees to keep going for a long time,” said Dr Lenin, who is also an experienced shoulder arthroscopy surgeon.

“After the surgery there is a short duration for recovery for the cartilage to heal, that is the time we give the new cartilage to come back to near normal like the surrounding cartilage.  After that period the patient will be able to go back to full sports,” pointed out Dr Saseendar, while speaking at the Apollo Hospital Muscat’s CME on Arthroscopy Surgeries of the Shoulder and Cartilage Reconstruction surgery, accredited by Oman Medical Safety Board. Dr Saseendar is an in-house specialist orthopaedic surgeon at Apollo Hospital, Muscat. Having trained from some of the best institutes in India, US and Singapore, he specialises in arthroscopy of the shoulder and knee.

He pointed out that knee injuries are common, as Omanis, especially the youth, have passion for football.  “What I have noticed is that football players, be it professionals or recreational players, want to go back to playing after the surgery, which is a very good sign.  But this is also where the cartilage reconstruction plays a crucial role.  It is never the ligament tear alone, it would always be a cartilage injury.  So treating the ligament injury alone does not help.”

Regarding shoulder injuries, Dr Saseendar pointed out that most patients with shoulder issues are either present with repeated dislocations of the shoulder and weakness of the shoulder due to ligament tears. “We have been able to bring athletes and players back to their game after arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder.”  “Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that can be used to treat even complex ligament and cartilage problems of the shoulder,” he said.

“I also want to stress on sports injury prevention. Many players disregard warm-up before sports. But the fact is that a simple stretch and warm-up of 10 to15 minutes before a game can prevent many injuries, as it primes the muscles to the higher levels of sports activity. Sports injury prevention training specific to football, basketball and cricket, can also help prevent injuries. This is needed not only for professional players but also recreational players. In Oman, the non-professional players should also be treated at par with professional players as everyone wants to get back to his previous level of physical activity,” he explained.

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