In the first such surgery at a government hospital in Jammu region, a 23-year-old youth suffering from Avascular Necrosis (AVN) interruption in blood supply to the bone was given a new lease of life through total hip joint replacement surgery. Azhar was diagnosed with AVN a couple of months back as he had severe pain in his left hip and had been facing difficulty in walking for three years. AVN, also called osteonecrosis, aseptic necrosis or ischemic bone necrosis, is a condition that occurs when there is loss of blood to the bone.
Since bone is a living tissue that requires blood, an interruption to the blood supply causes bone to die. If not stopped, this process eventually causes the bone to collapse. Several private hospitals in the country, including at Delhi, were approached but everywhere he was told that total hip joint replacement surgery was the only solution. However, the high cost of the surgery, in the Rs 7-8 lakh bracket, held Azhar back from going for it and he returned disappointed to Udhampur.
It was around a month back that he came to know that a senior orthopedic surgeon from Delhi had started performing advance orthopedic surgeries at low cost in the Udhampur District Hospital. They consulted Dr Balvinder Singh, a former orthopedic faculty at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, who had returned to his home state to do his bit to improve health care in Jammu and Kashmir. After examining Azhar, the doctor advised him to immediately undergo the total hip joint replacement surgery as his condition was deteriorating.
“Usually, district hospitals here do not have infrastructure to perform such complicated advance orthopedic surgeries. But, things were arranged and the surgery was performed on his left hip,” Singh told IANS over phone from Udhampur. The surgery, costing around Rs 7-8 lakh in any private hospital, cost Azhar only Rs 1.6 lakh at the district hospital, which basically included only the implant cost. The surgery has not only given a new life to Azhar, it has also raised hope among thousands like him in the state, as something like this happening in a district hospital was completely unheard of in the region.