January 22, 2010
School of Medicine, Kochi
Amrita’s Dr. Ajit Kumar Varma was awarded the oration medal, a certificate and a plaque at the Dr. S. C. Mishra memorial oration contest conducted by CSM Medical University, previously King George Medical College, Lucknow.
The contest was part of the 55th Foundation Day celebrations of the University. Dr. Varma was invited by the Head of Department of Surgery to take part in the contest. His 30-minute talk was titled Diabetic Foot — An Overview.
Dr. Varma’s talk was widely reported in the press. Reproduced below are some excerpts from the press review of the talk.
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Worldwide, 50% of all leg amputations happen to people living with diabetes. In India, an estimated 50,000 amputations are carried out every year due to diabetes-related foot problems. By employing reconstructive and corrective surgical techniques, to correct the shape of the deformed feet and remove the high pressure points, a large number of such amputations can be prevented. Thus the patient can lead a near-normal life, free from complications.
After training in the US for two years, Dr Varma has been performing different types of foot and ankle corrective surgeries, at Amrita, to normalize the shape and function of grossly deformed diabetic feet. Last year, more than 25 such surgeries were performed. The best, amongst the 8 to 10 types of surgical techniques currently available, is the Triple Arthodesis Surgery, which costs around Rs 30,000. This, according to Dr Varma, is quite reasonable, especially when compared to the exorbitant fees charged in the USA for a similar operation.
Dr Varma and his team have developed a new Amrita Sling Technique for foot stabilization, which is one-of-its-kind in the entire world. This obviates many complications which routinely occur after the reconstructive surgery. The technique, when applied once the reconstruction is done, results in quick normalization of the gait, bio-mechanics and ambulation of the patient. This reduces the long recuperation period, and also minimizes post operative complications. It has been successfully tested on 10 patients at Amrita, who are now leading a normal life.
With India earning the dubious distinction of being the diabetic capital of the world, Dr Varma rightly stressed upon the need for awareness about the complications of the disease in the public, in the patients, and above all, in the primary care physicians, working in rural areas. In his words ‘Pick up the lesion at the earliest,’ so that the problem can be resolved without amputation. In developing countries, as in India, the amputation rate is over 45%, whereas in the US, and also for patients at Amrita, it is a mere 8.5%, thanks to the novel surgical techniques available.