Below is the video and transcript of the interview with Dr Sajan Hegde. Dr Hegde has had training and experience in India and Europe. He is a pioneer in spinal disc replacement surgery in India and also has designed in collaboration with Medtronic Sofamor Danek a comprehensive instrumentation system for interior fixation in a variety of spinal problems.
”I am Dr Sajan Hegde. I have been here [Apollo Hospital] for the last 10 years. And I have been the spine specialist here.
“After my training in India, I did my specialized training through fellowships with really big names in spinal surgery, most of them in Europe, in France in particular, in Germany, and Switzerland. I was trained in the basics and more complex situations in spinal surgery.
“After coming back, I started off in another hospital, where I introduced some of the new techniques that I had picked up during my fellowship training.
“Essentially, what we offer now is the full range of spinal surgical applications, right from the minimally invasive to complex spinal reconstruction, for example, [where there is] deformity, situations where patients have been operated on multiple times.
“The bulk of our surgery is lower back… degenerative, that is, adult. And then the next big segment is deformities in children.
“Ours is the biggest sector in the private sector [in India] dealing with spinal deformities.
“The first fellowship that I did was the Cotrel Spine Fellowship. In fact, I was the first Indian to be selected for the Cotrel-Dubousset Fellowship. It was a much sough-after fellowship then. I did this fellowship with Dr Daniel Chopin at Institut Calot, chief of spinal surgery. The hospital was in a remote village in northern Normandy, France. This hospital was like a lifeline for everyone who had spinal problems… from Africa, from eastern Europe. People used to come from far off places. Lot of people also used to come for training. And I spent a year here with Dr Daniel Chopin.
“Subsequently, my training was with another very very well-known spinal surgeon Dr Jurgen Harms, who heads the spine institute at Karlsbad-Langensteinbach in Germany.
“And, of course, I have been with other expert spinal surgeons… in Japan like Prof Kaneda.
“I have been doing innovations in spinal surgery, developing new implants… particularly for patients with spinal injuries, spinal tumors, or even with infections. These [new] devices give us better ability to fix the spine and reconstruct the spine.
“We were the first to do the lumbar disc replacement in the sub-continent. We are the first institute to use a new type of metal alloy implant, which is called Shape Memory Alloy implant. This has been used in very very few centers in the US and maybe in one center or two in Europe.
“We used this new implant for a very young child of 6-7 years who had severe deformity. The idea of using the Shape Memory Alloy staple is to control the deformity as the child grows up and let her grow more normally.
“We have a steady stream of patients from Europe and North America… Canada. Most of them come here after they have had an index operation in the US which has failed, and the patient has back pain or recurrent leg symptoms. And they have not responded to non-operative treatment. They have not found a doctor to do the revision surgery. They then come here hoping to get their problem solved, which we have been able to do for them.
“We are on par with hospitals in the West. Because, we don’t compromise on the implants that we use. All the implants we use are FDA-approved. None of the implants are locally made.
“We are able to give as good results as any spine center in the US or anywhere else in the world.”
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