: Bones sound the alarm bells of age-related arthritis, but now more people choose to have a better quality of life past 60 years as life expectancy has improved, said Chitaranjan S. Ranawat, U.S.-based orthopaedic joint replacement surgeon.

In a chat with mediapersons here on Thursday, Dr. Ranawat said in 2003, only about 5,000 knee surgeries were done in India, but this year we are expecting to do around 60,000 surgeries. In another decade, about 2,00,000 surgeries would be performed in a year. This is because people have become aware of the improvement in quality of functions like walking after the surgery.

The affordability of joint replacement surgeries continues to be hurdle, but compared to the impact of surgery, the surgery becomes cost-effective, said Dr. Ranawat. There are more fracture-related hip replacement surgeries being done in India while in the U.S., the numbers of arthritis-related hip replacement surgeries are more.

The number of men going in for hip-replacement surgery is more than women, perhaps in the ratio of 60:40, which is universal, but there are more women affected by knee arthritis, especially in India, where the ratio of women to men undergoing knee-replacement surgery is 90:10. In the U.S., it is about 60:40 in favour of women, he said.

Younger people are too turning up for replacement surgeries but it is mainly due to injuries. The usual life expectancy of the materials is 10 years, but there are patients who are carrying forth even for 20 years, he said. Young patients going in for replacement surgery would look for a revision, while average elderly man might not need a revision, he added.

He sounded the caution on obesity being a hurdle to both the patient as well as the surgeon. Obese people have more difficulty in recovering and the surgeons have more difficulty in performing the surgery, said Dr. Ranawat, who has to his credit a number of patents for introducing joint replacement systems and designing orthopaedic implants.

Talking about the new trends in joint replacement surgeries, Dr. Ranawat equated it to newer and better models of automobiles that keep changing the vehicle design and engine for better functioning. “We would perhaps be having more custom-designed operations,” he added. Dr. Ranawat had been conducting annual workshops in India at various venues for the last 10 years under the Ranawat Orthopaedic Research Foundation. The three-day workshop here is being attended by about 500 surgeons from all over the country.

On a query whether he would think of coming back to India, he said he did not come back because he never got the right job here and now the thought is nowhere in the horizon.