Looking to the Future of Orthopaedics in India

By: Dr. Sudhir Warrier and Dr. Ram Chaddha

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Born as a fledgling branch of the Association of Surgeons of India in 1955, the Indian Orthopaedic Association (IOA) has grown over the years to its current strength of more than 11,000 qualified orthopaedic surgeons. Our membership represents about half of the actual number of practicing orthopaedic professionals in the country.

Fellowship and training opportunities to learn new techniques and skills and become familiar with new implants are easily and almost uniformly available. In our large country—where there is one orthopaedic surgeon per 50,000 people and an overall population of 1.3 billion—we are focused on learning the most modern techniques to best serve those who need musculoskeletal care.

Overseas subspecialty training is becoming the norm for almost every student, which has led to vastly improved standards of care. In the last decade, another interesting trend has become apparent: Many surgeons who have trained and served abroad are returning home to practice. It is little wonder, then, that orthopaedics has grown faster in the last decade than ever before. Operating theatres fully equipped for performing high-quality arthroplasty and spine surgery are available in almost every town and city. Almost all the major implant manufacturers have offices in India and are constantly expanding their reach and inventories to match the growing demands.

Research and innovation are on the upswing, due in part to the efforts of our country’s young, competitive professionals. Conferences and meetings have begun to attract faculty from all over the world, which has raised the quality and content of discussions. Institutions as well as individuals are documenting their research and presenting it at the regional, national, and international level.

Indian orthopaedics is at an exciting juncture. The Indian Journal of Orthopaedics, the IOA’s official publication, is an open access, indexed, and peer-reviewed journal that is attracting international authors in increasing numbers. The IOA is actively engaging with other international associations and forging partnerships and reciprocal programs of mutual benefit.

In the near future, we predict a huge outpouring of high-quality contributions in orthopaedics from India. Our large population spurs us to learn more about the management of everything from tuberculosis with osteoarticular manifestations, mangled trauma with late presentations, and complex sequelae of untreated congenital or metabolic bone and joint issues.

In our opinion, the coming decade will see India as a leading force in health care—and, specifically, in orthopaedics—considering the commitment of our colleagues and our thirst for both knowledge and wisdom.

Dr. Sudhir Warrier is an orthopaedic surgeon based in Mumbai, India, who specializes in hand and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Ram Chaddha is chief of spine surgery at Apollo Hospital in Mumbai, India. Drs. Warrier and Chaddha are IOA members.

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