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Woman who lost her knee joint bones to arthritis will walk again

Bhandup resident Vaishali Maykar (38) has spent the last six years bed-ridden. She was unable to move her legs, that remained bent at 90° angles at her knees. The mere act of trying to flex her leg muscles left her writhing in pain. “I developed a knee problem in 2002 as I was suffering from arthritis. But around six years ago, it got to a point where I could not even keep my legs straight, let alone stand,” said Maykar.


Learning to walk again: After successful completion of a complex surgery, Vaishali Maykar will now be able to use her legs again

After approaching doctors at KEM hospital in Parel, Maykar made the shocking discovery that that she no longer had any knee joint bones. It was found that Maykar was at the end stage of a bone fusion in her legs, causing a continuity of bone canals in both her legs, right from thigh bone (femur) to calf bone (fibula). “There was a continuous channel of bone formed in a tube structure from her thigh bone to the rest of her leg. This is one of the worst cases of continuity of the bone canal we have seen — the knee joint bones were missing,” explained Dr Pradeep Bhosale, head of the orthopaedic department at KEM hospital.

Vaishali then underwent a complex surgery in the last week of April, where a small portion of her fused bones was dissected to insert the knee implant in place. “What made this surgery more challenging is that the patient’s knee joints weren’t formed and were bent at 90°. As her nerves and blood vessels were badly stretched we had to relieve the muscles gradually over a period of time to preserve blood supply in the nerves,” added Dr Bhosale.

Maykar is now able to walk with the help of support and will be able to walk independently in the next two or three months, said doctors at the hospital. “I am relieved I will be able to live a normal life in a matter of weeks,” said Vaishali.

Commenting on this case, Dr Sachin Bhonsle, orthopaedic surgeon at Fortis hospital, said, “This condition is unusual among the general population and occurs in patients who have been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for a long time. The knees tend to get bent and fuse together. It is an extremely challenging total knee replacement surgery and requires experience.”  

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