I grew up in Indore which is in central part of India in a family of doctors.As a child, I keenly observed my father, treat patients. Thus, becoming a doctor was in the blood. Medicine as a career was the obvious choice. As I grew, my passionfor observation and thus clinicalsigns brought me close to Internal Medicine.
However, destiny had something else written for me. I opted for a surgical branch and that too Orthopedics!
During final months of residency, I happened to listen to a lecture by Late Dr BB Joshi, who was a pioneer in Hand Surgery. The lecture was the turning point in my life .I decided to pursue hand surgery as a career. That was year 1985.
Soon after my residency in orthopedics, In Indore in central India, I joined services of Dr B.B. Joshi in Bombay, now renamed Mumbai. Each day with him, was a learning experience. That was during the period 1985 to 1987.
Several miniature external fixators were designed by me and put successfullyto clinical use. I am blessed, they have become popular in this part of the world as JESS.
With his encouragement and recommendations, I went to France in services of Prof Michon in Nancy, Prof Narakas in Switzerland, Prof. Tubiana, and Prof.Alain Gilbert in Paris to name a few.
Following my great European experience, it was time to cross the Atlantic Ocean. I joined theservices of Dr Swanson in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a gold mine for small joints replacements.
With recommendations from Dr Swanson, Idid a clinical fellowship at Kutz and Kleinert hand surgery in Louisville, KY in the USA.At the end of my clinical fellowship in Louisville I got a travelling fellowship which brought me in touch with Dr Kirk Watson, in Hartford, Connecticut ,and Dr Julio Teleisnik in Los Angeles.
Come 1991, I returned home and started my practice in an industrial city of Pune which is about 100 miles from Bombay.
For the city it was a relatively new superspecialty. Successful reimplantations brought accolades and self-satisfaction .Failures brought humility.Aches and Pains which were considered only muscular pains were found to be compression neuropathy. Similarly arthritic small joints had alleviation of pain through surgery. Past trauma which had left hand presumably permanently disabled were brought back to function through surgery. One patient went on to become a computer engineer and will be found around San Jose'!!!What can be more rewarding?
Hand surgery was not operating room skill alone. Results came through post-surgeryoccupational therapy which was unheardof. Within days of starting the practice I knew the limitations there. Soon a splint workshop came up in the back yard of the house. Hand surgeon by the day and splint fabricator by the night! This would be probably unheard of in the western world.Pretty soon I could make dynamic splints and innovate quite a few of them. That too, at a cost, too low,to be imaginable. The follow up compliance was made successful by providing these highly economical yet highly effective splints absolutely free. Results were encouraging. Contractures and stiffness were scarce. Practice grew. Results were there for everybody to appreciate. Honest and straight forward.
The next focus was updating the knowledge and skills. Conferences and purchasing as many books as possible was closest I could get. I built up a huge personal library at personal expense. Travel was the next thing .This took me to east. Dr. Fu Chan Wei, Dr David Chuang in Taiwan, Singapore, and Dr PC Ho in Hong Kong. Brachial plexus, wrist arthroscopy added to the list of my practice.
Documentation and review of the results helped in constant self-assessmentand critical appraisal to enhance future outcome.
Today, when I look back, I feel destiny played in my favor to make me a hand surgeon. Today, when colleagues, who watch me, operate on intraarticular phalangeal fractures, nerves and artery are awestruck at the ease and finesse with which the tissue is handled. All thank to my teachers and training programme of different countriesand differentcenters.All on the shoulders of the Doyens who molded my carrier.
No other specialty treats so many varied structures asa hand surgeon does. The widescope, the spectrum, the plethora of ever expanding knowledge, the refinement in techniques keeps the spark of life in the super specialty. No two major open injuries are similar. Planning and execution brings rewards which are often in the words but also in the eyes of the patients and their relatives.
I am blessed to be a hand surgeon. Thanks to my teachers .Thank Almighty for molding my destiny.
Surgery of old neglected trauma of hand and foot Surgery of old deformity and contractures of hand and foot Volkmann ischemic contracture Elbow stiffnessBirth defect of hand/Congenital deformities