No longer will the Indian patient looking for an artificial joint have to settle for one tailored to his western counterpart's physiology. Chennai-based MIOT Hospitals are launching a design unit to engineer artificial joints, which are quintessentially Indian.
The Global Center for Ideal Joints is expected to help by designing a template of artificial joints that are tailored for Indian patients across various age groups, lifestyles and work routines.
Though the design team at MIOT will draw from international expertise, the bottom line will be to come up with a design that will address the two important issues governing hip replacements in India — the size and shape mismatch between available implants and the typical Indian femur, as well as the exorbitant costs of the devices.
"Importantly, unlike in the West, joint replacement surgeries in India involve a much younger age group that is highly active," MIOT chief P.V.A. Mohandas says.
What this leads to is that younger patients (25-30 years) would require a durable and low-wear material like ceramic-on-ceramic or metal-on-metal.
The global center expects to come up with a prototype within a year before it begins exploring tie-ups with one or more companies for mass manufacture. It aims to develop an end-product that would cost about one-tenth of the Rs.1.50 lakh that an implant now commands.
When the prototype rolls out from the MIOT stable, it will be the first template that accounts for the characteristics of the Indian femur. This is in an industry dominated by American, European and Japanese oriented designs, says Prithvi Mohandas, consultant at MIOT.
Sarah Muirhead-Allwood, chief consultant at The Royal National Orthopedic Hospital in London, who is assisting the global center here, says the priority would be on developing joints that fall in a smaller size range, avoid stress shielding and are affordable. "The MIOT initiative provides the right platform for building an indigenous manufacturing industry," she says.
While each category of patients would require variants of the same implant, the computer-aided design exercise would look at evolving different sets of joints within a common range, gives Barry D' Rosario, director, Center for Joint Replacement Surgery at MIOT.