An advanced surgery was performed at TOSH hospital on Saturday to treat a patient with knee arthritis, with the damaged cartilage in the knee regenerated using stem cells.

Prof. A.A. Shetty, director of minimally invasive surgery and stem cell research at Canterbury Christchurch University, UK, who performed the surgery, said all the Indian Council of Medical Research’s guidelines were adhered to while performing the procedure. He was speaking at a press meet on Saturday.

“Under an earlier version of this technique, stem cells harvested in the bone marrow had to be cultured in the lab and then injected into the knee after six weeks. There were several disadvantages with this technique — longer hospital stay, increased chances of infection, lower success rates and increased costs,” he said.

However, under the new technique, the stem cells are harvested and centrifuged within the operation theatre. The stem cell concentrate is then mixed with a special fibrin gel and inserted directly at the site of the damaged cartilage through a keyhole procedure.

“This surgery is less expensive, at around Rs. 75,000, and the patient can go home the next day. Its failure rate is only 10 to 15 per cent and it can also be performed on patients with advanced osteoarthritis,” Prof. Shetty said.

A 49-year-old woman, on whom the surgery has been performed, is currently recovering at the hospital.

Prof. Seok Jung Kim, director of the regenerative medical system, South Korea, and S.H. Jaheer Hussain, orthopaedic and trauma surgeon, TOSH hospital, also participated in the meet.

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