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Indian Express
24 May 2010
By Anuradha Mascarenhas

The data published under the WHO’s Community Oriented Programme for Control of Rheumatic Diseases (COPCORD) shows a high prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis among young women
Surgeons in the city are noticing a trend of more younger patients seeking hip replacement surgery. At least 40 per cent of patients undergoing hip replacement surgery are below 50, says Dr Sachin Tapasvi, consultant orthopaedics surgeon, who attributes the trend to auto–immune arthritis, accidents and in some cases arthritis from "steroid abuse".

Dr J B Panse, head, Department of Orthopaedics, at Inlaks and Budhrani Hospital, says while hip replacement surgeries are being regularly performed, there has been a slight increase in number of young patients seeking treatment.

They had either fractured their hips or had taken anabolic steroids to build muscles, leading to femur deformity. Alcohol–related arthritis patients too require hip replacement surgery, says Panse.

Only recently, Tapasvi and Dr Luca Marega operated on a Kolhapur–based patient, 36–year–old Chetan Khade, for a rare leg deformity.

Tapasvi, who operated upon Chetan, said, "While young patients are seeking total hip replacement surgery to get rid of joint pain, we find a mix of patients who seek treatment. They are mainly young people with disabling arthritis and others with injuries from accidents. Young patients need sturdier and flexible implants and high–performance ceramic hip replacements allow them to sit on the floor, squat and even play recreational sport."

Dr Chetan Pradhan, orthopaedics and trauma surgeon at Sancheti Institute of Orthopaedics, says they have been seeing young arthritis patients suffering from pain. However 10 per cent of the patients who require hip replacement surgeries are below 50, he says. While the data on arthritis in India has been inadequate, some data widely published under the WHO’s Community Oriented Programme for Control of Rheumatic Diseases (COPCORD) shows a high prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis among young women.

Dr Arvind Chopra, rheumatologist, says data was collected from a population of 35,000 in Pune, Bhigwan, Jammu, Lucknow and Chennai using the WHO COPCORD model. About 50–55 per cent patients suffered from some form of soft tissue rheumatism (commonly back, knee, neck and shoulder pain) while a high proportion of young women in the age group of 30–44 years from Bhigwan (near Pune) suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis.

According to Chopra, the cost of surgery, over Rs 1 lakh, can be an inhibiting factor.

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