Chief orthopedic surgeons emphasize the urgent need for training of emerging surgeons, as cases of joint replacement surgeries are likely to rise. India is expected to be the osteoarthritis capital of the world with over 60 million cases by 2025.
Doctors say that with improvement in medical techniques, patients now have a better acceptance of joint replacement surgeries, but to maintain this, there is a need for better training of the orthopedic surgeons across the country.
"Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis in India, affecting over 15 million adults every year. A large chunk of them have started opting for joint replacements. However, this can't be carried across the country due to the shortage of well trained orthopedic surgeons," said Nishchal Chugh, Director and Head of Centre for Joint Replacement at Saroj Superspecialty Hospital.
Osteoarthritis occurs when there is damage in and around the joints and that the body cannot fully repair. The exact causes are not known but there are several factors thought to increase the risk of developing the condition.
According to doctors, though the current solution for osteoarthritis is surgery involving a transplant, only 10 percent of the Indians undergo it due to fear of late recovery till now.
Surveys have revealed that the reason behind the onset of this endemic is said to be increasing longevity of Indians. By 2020, the number of 65 and above population in India is likely to be about 177 million, whereas India had 100 million people in this age group in 2010.
Doctors said that with improvement in joint replacements, it is now a days being opted by an increasing number of young patients because of the durability, unlike some years ago.
"If a young patient knows that their replaced joint will last anywhere between 30-35 years, they can confidently go for it not worrying about whether they are too young for a joint replacement," said Ajai Singh, orthopedic surgeon with the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital here.
Singh said that proper training of orthopedic surgeons will help the osteoarthritis patients in rural areas, which is expected to have a 60 percent of the disease burden in the coming years.