The ever-learning ortho surgeon

Dr. Mahendra Suresh Kudchadkar looks forward to bring the contentment of healing people through his remarkable work in the field of orthopaedics

Being born in a family of doctors, where right from my great grandfather, grandfather and paternal uncles were all very successful and popular physicians of their era, it was probably natural to be influenced by this pattern. I had decided at an early age itself that I wanted to be a surgeon.

I have come to believe that no matter what you decide in life, it’s the stroke of destiny which determines where you finally reach. I was an average student in school yet very regular in studies and managed to be in the first five. But soon I was part of several sports activities that disrupted my focus and adversely affected my scholastic performance in college. During the same time, I managed to lose a medical seat by 1 mark and so accepted my fate and joined dentistry. The subsequent year I reapplied and luck was on my side this time. After finishing a year in dentistry, I was in medical school in 1984. For the first three years, I did well but not good enough to be a candidate for any surgical branch.

One had to be among the top 10 in a class of 70 brilliant minds. My desire to get into surgery helped me drive all my focus on academics overnight. Through sheer determination and hard work in the last 2 years of my medical school, I managed to stand 8th in my class and had the liberty to choose what I wanted.

One day, I happened to meet a retired Orthopaedic surgeon at a party who convinced me that my future lied in Orthopaedic surgery. It was a rapidly evolving surgical branch loaded with technology and glamour which convinced me about the branch that I was about to choose.

It was a decision that never disappointed me and also had several accolades lined up for me in the years to come. It began by being the ‘Best Medical Graduate of the Year’ in the final year of Medical School in 1989. My keen interest in the field helped me introduce many new aspects related to Orthopaedic Surgery to Goa. In 1996, I introduced Computerized X-ray guided fracture treatment in private practice followed by knee replacement surgery in 2006 and later shoulder cuff repair using mini open techniques.

I established my private clinic in the year 1996 at the Kamat Centre at Panaji and have not stopped since then. Over the past 20 years, I have also been a visiting consultant to all major hospitals in Goa namely SMRC, Vasco; Manipal Hospital, Dona Paula; Vrundavan Hospital, Mapusa’ and Esperanca Clinic, Miramar. Presently, I am exclusively consulting at the Healthway Hospital in Old Goa where I am the Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery Department. The department is a part of the multi-disciplinary 210 bedded hospital and is equipped to treat all major accidents as well as perform high end surgeries like Joint Replacement Surgery, Sports Injuries and Spinal Trauma.

Since Orthopaedic Surgery is ever evolving due to the rapid change in technology, the pressure to do what is latest always plays on the mind of an evolving surgeon and is a real challenge. New technology comes at a price with a new set of complications so it is prudent to only use what is safe and beneficial to your patients. High cost of treatment is always a barrier to reach out to the poor. The constant need to update one’s knowledge and surgical skills using new tools and technology comes at a huge personal cost, time and effort to travel long distances. Apart from these, to develop a sense of trust and faith in the mind of patients who are willing to lie down on my operating table with total surrender of their physical body and mind in the hope of getting better is a real challenge that I face and so do many in this field.

In a field such as mine, challenges are never over. Every procedure performed could be termed as a challenge depending on its intensity. One of the most complex procedures I’ve done so far was a ‘Polytrauma’ on a young patient who had broken his bones at almost eight places. He was stabilized over a single surgery using combination of plates, rods and external pins. A vascular repair was also performed to save the limb from amputation.

My spectrum of work ranges from complex fracture surgeries, sports injuries and adult reconstructive surgeries. And hence I ensure to keep myself well informed with the happenings and recent updates in the field.

Since I introduced joint replacement surgeries in 2006, there has been fewer exoduses of patients to out of the state. I also receive patients from the US, UK, Africa and Middle East for joint replacement surgeries on a regular basis

From day one of my orthopaedic training till date I have not lost an opportunity to learn from a given prospect. Cadaver dissections, hands on workshops using bone models, computer simulation technology and assisting senior experienced orthopaedic surgeons at national and international level, I have been a part of them all.

Since the last 10 years, the learning process has grown for me as I am a national faculty in Foot and Ankle surgery and Complex Fracture care surgical skills course. As you teach, you get to learn from the bright young surgeons who are willing to share a great idea or experience.

Surgical treatment as an option is more readily accepted today than ever before due to a variety of reasons, some of them are availability of information, comprehensive counselling, good pain management, faster recovery due to early supervised physical therapy, negligible blood transfusion and shorter hospital stay. If you have a satisfied patient then, he is your best ambassador for getting more patients.

Since I introduced joint replacement surgeries in 2006, there has been fewer exoduses of patients to out of the state. I also receive patients from the US, UK, Africa and Middle East for joint replacement surgeries on a regular basis.

The recent lifestyle changes have made people more sedentary and unhealthy. This translates into poor health, especially poor bone and muscle conditions.

I look forward to creating a Centre of Excellence in Arthritis Care and Sports Injuries where I will be able to design joint implants for arthritis patients at a low cost. I also look forward to training young surgeons to help them acquire skills and knowledge in the field. As I fulfill my desires as a doctor, I also wish to someday build a farm; cultivate and grow food to becoming a self-sufficient person. So far in my life, I have been lucky with my academics, career and most importantly with a family that has supported every endeavour of mine.

 

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