Elderly Somalian patient with metal allergy walks freely again with the help of doctors at Aster RV Hospital

Bangalore, 24 August 2021: A 63-year-old Somalian patient, Zenab Duale, recently received a new lease of life with a revision total knee replacement (TKR) surgery at Aster RV Hospital. Due to a faulty surgery and complications occurring in her left knee from a TKR surgery a year ago in another state, Zenab was unable to walk properly and was in constant pain when she visited the doctors at Aster RV Hospital. In addition to this, she was a diagnosed case of metal allergy which made the revision surgery a challenge as most revision implants are made of metal.

“We found that the old implant in the left knee was maligned, the knee cap was displaced, and there was soft tissue damage which makes it a complex surgery to correct. Additionally, she also had a metal allergy and we had to source the right kind of revision implant, without which it would be impossible to correct the damage. This was a difficult task here as most of the revision implants are chromium cobalt coated, which we cannot use for her,” said Dr. J.V. Srinivas, Lead Consultant – Orthopaedics, Aster RV Hospital.

According to reports, about 1 in 10 patients suffer from some kind of metal allergy, whether it is nickel, chromium or cobalt. This is a condition where one can suffer from a severe reaction even if the metal just touches their skin. The body’s immune system perceives it as a threat and quickly triggers an immune response that can be extremely uncomfortable, or in Zenab’s case, could be life-threatening. While the most common issues with metal allergies are of contact dermatitis, complex surgeries that typically use metal implants such as Total Knee Replacement surgeries, can be difficult to conduct.

“We decided to go with primary oxinum femur which is 20% lighter than cobalt-chrome. A very delicate and methodological surgery was conducted to correct the previous damage. To keep the joint aligned, soft tissue balancing was done and kneecap (patellar) tracking to support her balance width walking,” explained Dr. Srinivas.

“I was really scared about my condition as I have not been able to walk properly due to the pain in my knees for a few years now and had to often take an additional support while walking. After bearing this pain, recovering and standing on my feet without any pain again was a dream for me. I am thankful to the doctors at Aster RV Hospital,” said Zenab.

Zenab has been successfully rehabilitated with a brace, has returned home and is able to walk and climb up stairs freely without any unnecessary pain. Her gait is stable and she is easily able to do her day-to-day activities. Under expert guidance, complications from Total Knee Replacement surgery can be avoided.

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