UAE: Unable to walk for months, Emirati back on feet after rare knee surgery

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi - The man went from doctor to doctor seeking a treatment as the pain was affecting his quality of life, and he did not like “relying on pain killers”.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Sun 28 Mar 2021, 10:30 PM

Emirati Majed Abdulla Al Mazrouei, 33 — who suffered a painful, complex knee injury last year and couldn’t walk for months — is now back on his feet, thanks to a surgery performed for the first time in Abu Dhabi at Healthpoint.

Dr Sebastian Orduna, the specialist orthopaedic and arthroscopic surgeon who led the team in carrying out the meniscal allograft surgery, said Al Mazrouei had such severe damage to his meniscus that it had to be removed, which put his knee at risk of future degeneration.

Al Mazrouei, who had previously undergone surgery on the same knee following a football injury in 2019, damaged his lateral meniscus in September 2020 when he fell onto a hard surface.

The man went from doctor to doctor seeking a treatment as the pain was affecting his quality of life, and he did not like “relying on pain killers”. Travelling overseas for treatment was out of question due to Covid-19-related restrictions. Eventually, he was referred to Dr Orduna at Healthpoint.

Dr Orduna explained that each knee has two menisci, and each meniscus is a wedge-shaped disc made of fibrocartilage that, in tandem with its partner, acts as a shock absorber between the shinbone and thighbone. In addition, the menisci serve many key functions such as providing nutrition and lubrication to the knee joint and supporting weight distribution. He pointed out that a meniscus tear is one of the most common knee injuries and can happen to anyone, regardless of age or activity.

Dr Orduna explained that because the meniscus is so important to preserving knee health, he always aims to save as much of it as he can in any surgery to prevent future accelerated articular cartilage damage and degeneration of the knee.

However, he said that it is not always possible to save the meniscus and sometimes, it needs to be removed, which was the case with Al Mazrouei. This presented a problem as removing it would have resulted in a significant increase of pressure in the loading area and could contribute to more pain, cartilage injury and osteoarthritis in the knee for a prolonged time.

“When Al Mazrouei came to see me, he couldn’t perform many normal daily activities because of the knee pain. Due to the severity of the damage, I proposed a meniscal allograft transplantation, which had not previously been available in Abu Dhabi, and which we performed in January this year,” said Dr Orduna.

Al Mazrouei said: “Even though this surgery hadn’t been undertaken in Abu Dhabi before, I was not worried as Dr Orduna explained that in the US, the surgery had been performed since 1984 with excellent results. I also knew I was in good hands as Dr Orduna is very experienced and both he and Healthpoint are internationally accredited.”

Following the successful transplant, Al Mazrouei is recovering well. He is complying with post-op physiotherapy protocols, visiting the physio centre at Healthpoint three times a week and performing prescribed supplementary exercises at home to ensure an excellent result.

Al Mazrouei said: “The pain has already reduced dramatically, I am able to walk with a stick, and should be walking normally in four to six weeks from the operation date. I have even been able to drive. I want to share my story so that anyone who is suffering from this will know it is now possible to have such surgeries performed right here in Abu Dhabi.”

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