“To thrive in life, you need three bones. A wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.” – Reba McEntire
What an enchantingly delightful thought. Bones and related parts are the pillars of the human body, and if, in case, one of them breaks, it becomes a tragedy as you cannot even function properly. No one deliberately breaks a leg or damage ligaments, but accidents are meant to happen unintentionally.
Thanks to excellent doctors and surgeons of bones, mainly called orthopedic surgeons, who take care of your bone’s health and give you the confidence to function properly. Dr Pranav Agrawal comes at the top in the league of these extraordinary surgeons. He is one of the best and most highly qualified orthopedic surgeons who follow a considerate, compassionate, and empathetic approach while treating his patients.
In an exclusive interview with CIOLOOK India, Dr. Pranav Agrawal has depicted his career journey, challenges, and success stories, as well as hospitals and the impact of technology in the healthcare sector.
Dr Pranav, please enlighten our audience about your background and how you are currently positioned as one of the best orthopedic surgeons in India.
I work at the Lilavati Hospital & Research Center, which is a premier tertiary care multispecialty hospital in Mumbai’s Queen of Suburbs – Bandra. It boasts of 300+ beds, state-of-the-art medical & surgical facilities, power of many fields of super specialty under one roof and highly equipped operation theatres. It is a reputed Center of medical & surgical excellence.
I, along with my team, provide a wide spectrum of surgical and non-surgical treatments for a variety of bone & joint ailments, which include Arthritis, sport-related injuries, fractures and so forth. A feather in our cap is the new member of our team, the Robot. Our robot assists us in knee replacement surgery and helps us achieve highly accurate alignment and superb balance of ligaments. Our patients overcome pain and deformity and return to a better quality of social, work & even sports life. Having trained in robotic surgery abroad nearly a decade ago, I’m proud that we can now help Indian patients with robotic surgery in our hospital.
My clinic is situated in Vile Parle, and we believe in giving time, effort and personal care to all our patients. For us, treatment is not just about good surgery but also about good health before, during and after surgery. We often handhold our patients through various nuances of treatment, irrespective of the line of management.
Tell us more about your treatments and what aspects make you stand out in the fast-changing medical field.?
I cater to patients with a plethora of bone & joint problems. I super specialize in surgery of the knee and hip, which includes arthroscopic ligament reconstructions, fracture fixations, partial joint replacements, Total joint replacements, as well as complex revisions.
The medical field indeed advances fast. I keep abreast with the latest research published in journals of international repute. I not only read but also contribute to medical research through conferences, case publications & teaching programs. I trained in Robotic knee surgery nearly a decade ago in South Korea, and one of my research protocols during those days was to paradoxically make the robot more surgeon dependent. I’m proud that today we offer robot-assisted accuracy to all our patients and help them walk better.
Even though the medical field changes fast and technology improves in leaps & bounds, my team & I know that pain & deformity affect our patients just like they used to decades ago. Therefore, empathy and an all-encompassing approach towards good health still drive my practice.
How was your odyssey since you ventured, and what was the approach that made you excel in the niche?
Well, I ventured into the field of medicine to be an Orthopedic Surgeon. The only time a specialization may have distracted me was when I had spent some time with plastic surgery. They’re magicians. So having achieved my MBBS from the Maharashtra University of health sciences, I secured my master’s degree in Orthopedics from the prestigious Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai.
I super specialized in computer and robot-assisted knee & hip surgery at the Chonnam National University Hospital in South Korea. It prides itself on having the best technology and research in the field of joint replacement surgery internationally. I learnt my craft from Professor Song, who was the president of the Asia Pacific Society of Knee Surgeons then.
I further polished my craft and trained with prominent surgical teams in Mumbai and began practice in the western suburbs of Mumbai, where I practice today.
I stay dedicated to the use of cutting-edge technology in surgery while still maintaining high standards of simple patient care and healing.
I hold membership in various basic and specialty doctors’ associations, including the Bombay Orthopedic Society, Indian Orthopedic Association, Indian Society of Hip & Knee Surgeons, Indian Arthroplasty Association, Indian Medical Association, Local Medical Associations and so forth. It is said that the most thorough way of learning is by teaching. I dedicate a good chunk of time to teaching younger surgeons and helping them hone their skills through the hospital and international teaching programs.
Practice of surgery is a continuous journey. It only gets better with time. The destination is the same. However, it should always look better than what it did yesterday.
What are the immersive benefits of these treatments when amalgamated with your expertise?
I treat my patients with the dictum “Arogyam Sarvadravye Sarvadaa,” which translates as ‘Health in all its forms – Always’ as my guiding philosophy. I often treat patients with Orthopedic problems which present at birth, which present in childhood, in young and mid-adulthood and often problems that could be painful and restrictive on the days when people should rest and spend time on themselves. Quite frequently, I treat all these types in different generations of the same family.
Along with therapeutic treatments, I offer a lot of preventive treatments too. We shouldn’t always wait for a condition to happen and then treat it when it can be prevented in the first place.
I frequently talk about patient awareness and education modules where patients may be aware of healthy habits, red flags and possibilities in the realm of treatment options. Treatment is always aimed at the restoration of previous abilities and also improvement in functional capabilities.
Dr Pranav, being a professional in the orthopedic treatment niche, how emerging trends of technology like robotics and its principles are impacting the modern orthopedic treatments sector? How are you leveraging it to enhance the outcomes of the treatments further?
There was a time when the first automobile was hand-crafted by NJ Cugnot. It had its faults and challenges. Ford’s Model T, which was mass-produced on an assembly line, gave more predictable and reproducible automobiles. It also increased the availability of a vehicle for more people in a short span of time. Let’s compare it with the modern-day MUV, which city dwellers passionately use. How did we get so far? Technology, of course.
Robotics in orthopedics today is representative of the same progress over many years, and it ensures highly accurate results, better healing, better movement and lesser chances of patients requiring revisions. Bone and Joint diseases like arthritis affect our skeleton, and the skeleton’s function is governed by laws of physics & biomechanics, just like a machine. Alignment, balance, weight distribution, lever arms, fulcrums and forces across joints have to be restored for the good functioning of joints and bones.
The Robots arm and its software (It’s AI) help us collect spatial data points during surgery. It then helps us calculate and surgically achieve exact axes and alignments. Results are predictably within one standard deviation of the normal. This gives high accuracy in alignment and the best range of movement.
In terms of injury and fractures, there was a time in the ancient past when a human with a hip fracture was left behind as fodder for wild animals. The reason is that a human with a hip fracture could never walk.
These days thanks to brilliant surgical interventions and metal tribology, we replace broken hips with strong implants, and patients go back to the likes of competitive swimming and football. We take pride in being able to offer cutting-edge technology and advancements in surgical treatments at affordable costs to all our patients while still maintaining our guiding principles.
Looking at the current scenario of orthopedic treatments, what kind of challenges do you face, and what is your approach to overcoming these adversities?
While surgery and treatment of bone & joint pathology is a matter of maintenance of standards and has to be the best, we meter our treatments to patients’ needs and social and financial conditions too. We overcome challenges that may be presented by patients at an individual level while still taking them safely through internationally accepted high-standard treatment protocols.
Some of our senior patients, even today, do not have medical insurance. This may curtail their ability to spend on certain treatments in certain hospitals. We work around this situation and offer quality treatment across various classes in smaller hospitals too. As part of our integrative approach, we often counsel patients to invest in medical insurance if they do not have one already.
Some patients reside on higher floors without the privilege of lifts. It’s difficult for them to climb up or down after surgery. We help them logistically, sometimes through care at home, by decreasing their follow-up visits and making sure they have all the info they need on how to climb up or down till they heal completely.
Patients from abroad who wish to undergo surgery with us get help from us in terms of logistics, planning and detailed explanations of treatment and sometimes even help in getting visas etc., for their medical travel. Overall, we try and make our patient’s experience through treatment and surgery an easy one while still ensuring high standards and not cutting any corners.
What would be your advice to budding professionals who aspire to venture into the orthopedic treatment niche?
Locomotion, which is our ability to move from one place to another, gives us our innate advantage over plants and many other animals. So does the dexterity in fine movements of our fingers. Both of these are the first victims of Orthopedic disease. Restoration of pain-free ambulation is paramount for good & successful treatment, as is a return to fine dexterity, which signifies a return to work and hobbies.
Keep updated with the latest in technology and surgical research, so we may give patients the best in surgical and non-surgical treatment. However, be sure that the foundations and principles of orthopedics & surgery are rock solid.
However good your skills may be, remember that the patient is a human being who is distraught with pain & discomfort. They will look up to you to relieve them of disease. Let compassion & empathy guide your surgical temperament always.
How do you envision scaling your hospital’s operations and offerings in the future?
Vertical and lateral expansions always follow the setting of deep foundations. We look forward to offering our patients a wide spectrum of specialty consults and treatments under one roof. Setting up of satellite clinics where we provide standardized trustworthy care is on the cards as well.
How does society as a whole benefit from your efforts and expertise? Does only one section of the population benefit from your endeavors and advances?
I am an active Rotarian.
Rotary is an international organization dedicated to service to mankind through medical and non-medical initiatives. I regularly conduct outreach programmes, diagnostic and therapeutic camps in rural areas. People who reside in rural and tribal areas may not always be able to access treatment at world-class hospitals, but world-class expertise can be brought to their doorstep through social service initiatives. Year after year, I conduct osteoporosis screening, diagnosis and treatment camps in rural areas, old age homes & even amongst urban population groups to improve their bone strength.
Our elders with osteoporosis may suffer from a major fracture even after a trivial fall in the bathroom and have to undergo lengthy surgery and rehabilitation, which causes a loss of savings and precious time for them. Osteoporosis is treatable through simple oral medications, and many fractures are preventable. All in all, a healthy community leads to a prosperous country.
Please give us a few testimonials of your clients, patients and a list of recognitions that accurately highlight your position in the orthopedic treatment niche.
Clients’ Happy Words
I get appreciation from my patients for my work and services. Some of them are mentioned below:
*Wasim Desai says with gratitude, “In December 2015, my septuagenarian diabetic mother slipped down a stairway and fractured her ankle. By referral of a common friend, I visited Dr Pranav Agrawal. Needless to say, the diagnosis was spot on, and the Surgery thereafter was flawless. It’s been three years now, and there are no signs or even hints of discomfort in my mom’s ankle. The best decision was taken.”
*Kumud Shashikant Mehta thanks the doctor by saying,
“I sincerely thank you and your entire team for treating me. I was in unbearable pain and mentally down, and I thought I would never get up on my feet. Still, you did wonders on me by doing emergency surgery on me on the same day, and now, after seven weeks, I’m walking very freely on my own without the help of walker and stick and started doing some household work too. You are a god sent gift who made it possible. I sincerely thank you and your entire team.
God bless you and thank you once again.”
*Vivek Chinoy also adds words of appreciation, “I wanted to extend my heartfelt congratulations to you for achieving a remarkable milestone by performing robotic knee surgery and relieving your patient from pain. Your dedication to your work and your patients is truly commendable, and I am sure that your patient is grateful for the excellent care and attention they received under your skilled hands.
It takes a special kind of talent and expertise to perform robotic knee surgery, and you have clearly demonstrated that you have both in abundance. Your ability to utilize cutting-edge technology to provide the best possible outcomes for your patients is truly remarkable. Thank you for your commitment to your patients and for your unwavering pursuit of excellence in your field. Your hard work and dedication are an inspiration to us all. Once again, congratulations on your milestone achievement and thank you for your service to the medical profession.”
*Daughter of Anita Hingorani praises,
“This is concerning the surgery that Dr Pranav Agrawal did for my mother, Mrs Anita Shyam Hingorani.
After consulting with Dr Agrawal about Total Knee Replacement surgery for my mother, we were fully confident, and we were ready for the surgery under his guidance.
My mother was suffering from knee pain for a year along with other complications such as Thyroid & most importantly, Parkinson’s Disease.
On 26th July 2018, Dr Pranav Agarwal operated my mother for her Total Knee Replacement (TKR) for her right knee. The way the surgery went through under Dr Agrawal’s leadership & the way he has done the surgery was so smooth that it enabled my mother to walk on her right leg within seven days despite severe Parkinson’s disease.
I have to place on record my appreciation for Dr Agarwal. His dedication and encouragement helped my mother improve her mobility with a quick recovery that enabled her to return to her daily chores. I shall definitely refer my family and friends to you, Dr Agrawal.
My mother and I are grateful to you for the great treatment you gave her pre-and post-surgery. I cannot miss thanking you for the ultimate support and guidance you gave me for my mother’s surgery which couldn’t have been possible by myself.
Kudos to Dr Agarwal; More power to you, Sir!”