A revolutionary artificial knee designed to allow people in the Middle East and Asia to kneel down to pray or eat, was unveiled in Dubai yesterday.
The first international conference on advances in total knee replacement opened yesterday at the American Hospital in Dubai.
Surgeons from countries in the Middle East gathered for an exchange of information, case studies, and to learn about an artificial full-flex knee created specially for patients from the region
Dr. Samih Tarabichi, chairman of orthopedics at the hospital said: "This conference launched the full flex knee, which allows the patient to bend his knee 155 degrees.
"Earlier, all knee replacements provided a maximum flexibility of 130 degrees, which was designed for the Western Market. People from the Middle East and Asia have a different lifestyle.
"They kneel on the floor for several reasons, such as to pray and to eat. Also, the sizes were different and did not cater very well to the body size of people in the Middle East.
"So the new knee replacement allows the Middle Eastern patient to lead a normal lifestyle," he said.
"I see about eight patients a month and about 90 percent of them are from the Middle East. I cannot analyse the exact reason for that, it might be due to a backlog of patients because of lack of treatment facilities."
Dr. Tarabichi has been working at the American Hospital for the past three years.
He said it is a major problem and needs to be addressed. An exhaustive study needs to be done to ascertain the source and extent of the problem.
More than 30 surgeons are attending the two-day conference, and Dr. Tarabichi hopes that when they go back to their countries they will tell people about the advancement in Knee replacement surgery.
Dr. Tarabichi said: "This might work towards getting a greater number of people to accept a surgical option, for earlier people were unhappy with the solution."
About two-thirds of people used to refuse surgery, according to a surgeon from Saudi Arabia.
The breakthrough surgery can be performed at the American Hospital as it has been selected as the first Centre of Excellence in the Middle East.
Zimmer Europe, a leading provider of orthopedic joint replacements and orthopedic instruments, nominated the hospital as the centre.
It will now serve as a training centre for physicians and nurses within the Middle East, Africa and Mediterranean regions.
"To ensure that strict standards are met and maintained, the University of Dundee, England, monitors the healthcare provided by all Centres of Excellence including the American Hospital," explained Dr. Tarabichi.
So far, there are three centres in the world - Holland, Spain and England.
Dr. Tarabichi added : "The American Hospital, Dubai Centre of Excellence will host international conferences on joint replacements every three months."