Indian Orthopedic surgeon Tweetcasts live Knee Replacement
In what is seen as a marriage of Information technology and orthopedic surgery India’s first live Twitter cast of a live knee replacement was successfully performed on June 18 2009. A state of the art Oxinium knee replacement was performed by orthopedic surgeon Dr.A.K.Venkatachalam from Chennai at the Chettinad health city hospital. Photos & updates of the surgery were tweeted by his assistants. An informed consent was obtained from the patient to take pictures of the operation. This was also the second time in the world that an orthopedic operation was Twitter cast the first one also being a live replacement from the US.
Dr.Venkatachalam is an orthopedic surgeon at the Chettinad health city (http://www.kneeindia.com)
His interests are Joint Replacements of hip knee & shoulder. He has pioneered many innovations in Joint Replacement in South India. These include the Oxford knee Copeland shoulder resurfacing Gender specific knee Proxima hip replacement Oxinium knee.
Twitter is a free service that allows individuals to keep in touch with people through the exchange of quick frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?
One can post latest updates on Twitter through short passages of 140 characters and photos.
These updates are followed by Followers. Twitpic is another sister platform that allows uploading of photos. Single user uploaded photos also appear in the Twitter account. The account ‘akvenkat” was used to tweet cast this live surgery. Those desirous of following the Tweet feed can search for this user name on Twitter.Com.
The Oxinium knee implant is unique as it is made of Oxidised Zirconium. The advantages of implants made of Oxinium are longevity and tolerance. These implants extend the indication of Joint Replacements as an option in young patients needing one thus improving their quality of life. Additionally many patients are allergic to metal implants which contain Nickel. In such cases of metal allergy Zirconium implants are excellently tolerated. The patient in this instant case was relatively young and suffered from metal allergy.
When asked why he chose to Tweet his surgery Dr.Venkatachalam who is an Assistant professor at the Chettinad medical college in Tamil nadu South India said that it served a dual purpose.
First it gave medical students and prospective patients an opportunity to witness a live surgery. It could facilitate medical students to make a career choice for post graduation
Secondly acceptability of Joint Replacement would increase as patients would shed their inhibitions and fear. Patients planning for a knee replacement also had the chance to get a peek at a live operation and understand what went on. It would thus alleviate their fears about a joint replacement.
Patients can chat with their surgeon during the course of an operation and ask questions about the implant technique pain relief protocols any thing that would remove their anxiety. It is hoped that in comparison to a live video surgery a photographic account of an operation will be better tolerated.