Bed-ridden Iraqi woman walks again after 15 years

Salih had not stood up independently and walked for over a decade and a half and was riddled with arthritis of the back. Not one to give up hope, her family decided to bring her to Mumbai for treatment

Bed-ridden Iraqi woman walks again after 15 years

For over 15 years, an 81-year-old Iraqi national, Salih was bedridden with no mobility in her legs. Due to obesity which was shrouded by immobility, she was unable to go about her daily activities and thus became dependent on her daughter-in-law. Wanting to explore treatment options in order for her to walk again, her family consulted with doctors in Iran, Egypt, Turkey and Lebanon.

To their dismay, doctors in Iran informed them that nothing could be done to correct her condition due to multiple issues, considering her age, deformity in the knees, hypertension and obesity.

After this the family decided to come to Mumbai, India for further treatment. There visited Fortis Hospital in Mulund where they met with to Dr Kaushal Malhan, a senior knee and hip surgeon.

Post detailed evaluation of her spine, her muscles, and overall ability of her body, Dr Malhan recommend for her to undergo a Total Knee Replacement Surgery (TKR) on both her knees.

Considering her deformity, age and other conditions, Dr Malhan believed that the surgery should be conducted in a single sitting instead of two operations. After consulting with the anaesthetic team at the hospital, it was decided to go ahead with the operation without wasting time.

Using the ‘Tissue preserving technique’ that helps in faster recovery, to stop loss of soft tissue damage and blood loss, Dr Malhan performed the surgery on March 30. The procedure involved inserting large bone grafts to help support the lost bones and metal implants in her knees. With her deformity fully corrected, post-operation, the patient was closely monitored in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Speaking about the successful outcome, Dr Kaushal Malhan said, “The patient was unable to stand even for an X-ray, just four days prior to the operation; this in spite of four people lifting her up. Post-op, she is now on her feet, all set to walk independently. After the operation, physiotherapy and nutrition therapy was initiated. We have advised her to keep her weight in check and follow a certain diet along with regular exercise”.

Speaking on the treatment provided, Mrs Salih, said, “I am unable to express how different I feel as there is a sudden change in my legs. My pain has disappeared and I look forward to finally walking again. I am truly grateful to Dr Malhan and his team for making this possible and giving me my independence back”.

The patient is now discharged and is able to walk with the help of a walker; she has to continue regular physiotherapy. She is all set to go back home and her family is ecstatic.

Speaking on the condition of such patients, Dr Malhan concludes, “Arthritis needs to be tackled before it leads to complete destruction and disability. Regardless of age, the patient should be evaluated on the basis of their overall physical and functional well-being, so as to decide whether they can benefit from reconstructive surgery.”

He added, “In Total Knee Replacement surgeries, results and recovery after surgery improve if soft tissues and bones are preserved. Muscle sparing surgery helps early mobilisation and has a special role in cases like these, with compromised tissues and muscle weakness.”