First cadaveric meniscus transplant in Kerala performed successfully

(From L to R) Dr Jacob Varughese, senior consultant & HOD, Director of Orthopedics, VPS Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi, Patient Jinu Joseph and Managing Director SK Abdullah. Photo: Special arrangement

Kochi: In a groundbreaking achievement, the Orthopedic Department at VPS Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi, Kerala, has successfully performed the first-ever Cadaveric Meniscus Transplant in the state. This remarkable surgery carried out on a 25-year-old Engineer, Jinu Jospeh, from Thrikkodithanam, Changanassery in Kottayam district, is a pioneering milestone, with only below 15 such procedures conducted throughout India.

Obtaining a human meniscus is an exceedingly difficult endeavour as it must be sourced from human donors, typically cadavers or individuals who have chosen to donate their bodies to science and medicine after their passing. The patient’s family procured it, and the surgery was performed successfully on June 20, 2023 by Dr Jacob Varughese, Senior Consultant & HOD, Director Of Orthopaedics and Department of Joint Replacement & Sports Medicine and his dedicated team.

S.K. Abdulla, the Managing Director of VPS Lakeshore, expressed great pride in performing such a surgery on a 25-year-old young man. He also highlighted the hospital's pioneering role in many advanced treatments and surgeries over the course of Lakeshore's 20-year history.

The success of human meniscus replacement hinges on its ability to faithfully replicate the natural anatomy and function of the original meniscus, enabling patients to regain mobility and lead more active, pain-free lives. Human meniscus replacement offers promising long-term relief for individuals experiencing knee joint issues as medical advancements continue to progress.

The decision to utilize a human meniscus for this young patient was made due to concerns about the longevity of artificial alternatives. Patients with meniscus injuries are at risk of developing cartilage damage, which can progress to knee osteoarthritis, leading to persistent pain and a decline in their daily activities. Meniscus repair is the preferred option to prevent further cartilage damage, but some tears may be irreparable, especially if patients seek treatment late. In such cases, meniscectomy (removing a portion of the meniscus) is often the preferred choice among surgeons.

This innovative medical procedure has transformed the field of orthopaedics by providing a viable solution for individuals grappling with meniscus injuries or degeneration. The primary goal of this surgical technique is to enhance joint stability, reduce friction, and ultimately enhance the overall quality of life for patients by replacing the damaged or missing meniscus with a healthy human one.

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