The Cayman Islands Hospital is now offering total hip and knee replacement surgical procedures for people suffering from severe arthritis and other joint disorders.

The surgeries, which are the most common forms of joint replacement surgeries, involve removing diseased cartilage and bone from the affected joint and replacing it with a prosthetic joint.

Consultant orthopedic and trauma surgeons Dr. Pekko Kuusela and Dr. Toni-Karri Pakarinen said in a Health Services Department press release that total hip replacement and total knee replacement improve patients’ quality of life by reducing pain, increasing mobility and allowing them to return to their normal daily activities.

“Previously patients with destructive joint conditions were referred to other providers, as these surgical procedures were not done at the Cayman Islands Hospital,” the press release states.

Drs. Kuusela and Pakarinen both have more than 10 years’ experience performing joint replacement surgeries, among other orthopedic and trauma procedures and interventions.

“We are offering both primary and revision arthroplasty procedures. The primary procedure means it is the first time a patient is undergoing the joint replacement surgery. The revision procedure occurs when we reoperate on patients whose primary joints have failed for some reason, whether from loosening, infection, wear, dislocation or instability. It involves the removal and replacement of the existing hardware which makes this procedure oftentimes more demanding than the primary procedure,” said Dr. Kuusela.

“However, we at the HSA use advanced techniques and implants which are made out of materials that make them much more durable than their predecessors.”

While there is no age limit for total hip and knee replacement surgeries, Dr. Pakarinen said these procedures are only recommended for patients with very painful and destructive joint conditions. “For joint conditions with mild to moderate pain, we would opt for non-operative treatment methods instead,” he said. The average duration of the procedure is 1.5-2 hours; the patient is under general anesthesia.

After the operation, the usual hospital stay is between two and five days, and mobilization begins the same day of the surgery or a day after, Dr. Kuusela said.

Dr. Kuusela has performed five knee replacement surgeries and two hip replacement surgeries at the Cayman Islands Hospital since it began offering the service in September 2016.

Dr. Kuusela, a Finnish national, underwent his undergraduate and specialist training at the University of Tampere in 1993 to 2005. He completed a fellowship in primary and revision total knee and hip replacement surgery and worked as a joint replacement surgeon in Finland until 2010 when he relocated to Australia to work in a regional hospital in Mackay, Queensland, for four years. In 2015, he moved to Dubai for one year before coming to the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority in September 2016.

Dr. Pakarinen, also a Finnish national, worked as a consultant orthopedic and trauma surgeon at the Tampere University Hospital (Level I Trauma Center) from 2006 to 2017. Dr. Pakarinen was also part of a multidisclpinary orthopedic oncology group and pelvic reconstruction unit at Coxa Joint Replacement Hospital in Finland from 2008 to 2017. Dr. Pakarinen began his tenure at the Health Services Authority in Cayman on May 1.

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