Karnataka: Knee Replacement Surgery to be free

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Come April, all govt hospitals will offer free TKR procedure to make the surgery possible for all

The state government has come to the rescue of thousands of orthopaedic patients, who have been waiting for the expensive Total Knee Replacement (TKR) surgeries. Come April, all government hospitals will offer TKR procedures absolutely free of cost.

Giving a tough competition to private hospitals that held patients at ransom in performing TKR, the state government will offer the service free.

Acknowledging that procedures of TKR have turned out to be a big business in private hospitals these days Health and Family Welfare Minister KR Ramesh Kumar said that patients need not rely on these hospitals when the state government will come out with free treatment. “TKR surgery, over the years, has become a big business among private hospitals. The cost for the surgery varies from hospital to hospital and a majority of the patients often get into a debt pool trying to get the surgery done. This move will put an end to such practice,” the minister said.

Sources in the Health Department told Bangalore Mirror that many hospitals advice TKR when they get elderly patients with severe knee pain. “The TKR procedure can cost anywhere between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 5 lakh depending on the age of the patients and implants that are used. About 70 per cent of the population are unable to bear the cost of the surgery and decide to spend their life with severe pain. But the government’s decision will give them a new ray of hope,” a senior officer said.

Currently, the state government is training all its orthopaedic surgeons in various hospitals to perform TKR surgeries. “We have chosen the Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Trauma and Orthopaedic Care (SGITO) as the nodal agency to train our orthopaedics. In various batches, the doctors have been upgrading their skills.

Subsequently, the government will bear the cost of implants and other items used for the surgery so that the entire TKR surgery is performed free of cost,” Ramesh Kumar said.

Though most of the government facilities are targeted towards the families below poverty line, the TKR surgeries would be aimed at all. “There will not be any categorisation and regardless of family background, patients can approach government hospitals and undergo the surgery. By March-end, all our hospitals will be ready to execute TKR surgeries,” the minister said.

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