Sculpting Athletic Excellence: Dr. Manit Arora's Journey as a Leading Sports Surgeon in North India
Welcome to Docscopy section of MedBound Times.
In this exclusive interview, we delve into the lives and careers of Dr. Manit Arora, who has been a driving force behind the success stories of numerous sports icons.
Dr. Manit Arora completed his MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) from University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, also completed MS Orthopedics from DY Patil University, Mumbai, India. Currently he is Sports Surgeon in Fortis Hospital, Mohali, Punjab, India.
Hello Sir, and welcome to this DocScopy session with MedBound Times. Please tell us something about your professional life.
Dr. Manit Arora: When I was very young, I completed my high school education there. I secured the second position throughout Australia during my high school years. Following that accomplishment, I pursued my MBBS on a scholarship, achieving a gold medal in the process. Subsequently, I pursued and obtained both a master's in general surgery and a Masters in Sports Medicine. Upon returning to Mumbai, I pursued my MS in Orthopedics, where I once again earned a gold medal.
After this, I returned to Australia to undertake several fellowships. In 2017, I joined Fortes Mohali. Notably, the sports surgery department was virtually non-existent at that time. Past five years, we have embarked on an incredible journey, effectively establishing and developing this department from the ground up. After these five years of dedicated efforts, our unit has achieved the highest surgical volume in all of North India. Our surgical expertise has been sought by prominent figures, including the captain of the Indian hockey team, the captain of the Indian basketball team, international cricketers, basketball players, footballers, and even Olympians.
My commitment lies in further enhancing this department by establishing a robust research division. This entails analyzing the outcomes that benefit our patients and incorporating the latest technological advancements to improve their well-being.
What initially inspired your decision to specialize in orthopedics, and how has your passion for this field developed and evolved throughout your years of practice?
Dr. Manit Arora: During my third year of medical school, I found myself contemplating a shift from orthopedics to become an investment banker, a career path I had long aspired to pursue. Struggling with despondency and uncertain about whether to continue my MBBS, fate led me to meet a distinguished orthopedics professor in Sydney, where I was located.
Observing this professor, a leading authority in Australia, proved to be an inspiring turning point. Witnessing his expertise rekindled my passion for medicine and, subsequently, for orthopedics. Reflecting on that pivotal moment, I credit him for guiding me back onto my desired path. His mentorship led me to immerse myself in his department, further nurturing my burgeoning interest in orthopedics.
From there, my fascination with orthopedics flourished. As I pursued this field, I came to realize the rarity of my position—one of the select few orthopedic surgeons among the world's population of over 6 billion. This realization reinforced my sense of fortune at being part of this esteemed group.
Subsequently, my affinity for sports came into play, a passion catalyzed by my own experiences as a skilled cricket player. My abilities were recognized through selection for the New South Wales Juniors team during my time in Australia. Additionally, I actively participated in rugby during my school years. This background seamlessly tied into my growing orthopedic expertise.
My journey, marked by this resurgence of interest in orthopedics and the subsequent development of my sports-related pursuits, has led me to establish strong relationships within these domains. As my orthopedic fascination regained momentum, it was only natural for me to gravitate towards the world of sports.
As the committee chair of the research committee, could you provide an update on the recent research projects that have been underway?
Dr. Manit Arora: At our center, we are heavily invested in conducting research on innovative techniques for ligament surgery, with a particular emphasis on assessing patient outcomes. This involves a comprehensive analysis of our patients' post-surgery progress. This process serves as both an audit of our practices and a means of implementing improvements. For instance, conventional knee ligament surgery has typically involved using a hamstring graft. However, we transitioned to utilizing tendon harvested from the ankle some years ago. Through thorough study and the publication of our technique, we discovered that this shift doesn't adversely affect ankle function and actually accelerates the return to sports activities by approximately one month. This is of significant importance to athletes keen on resuming their sporting pursuits. Our primary focus areas encompass shoulder and knee-related procedures.
As for my role, I serve as the chairperson of the ISIXA (Indian Society of Hip and Knee Arthroscopy) research committee. ISIXA is a regional organization committed to advancing arthroscopy and the field of sports medicine. Within this context, we established a research committee. During the previous ISIXA conference, we introduced a research day. This event welcomed faculty members from across India to assist recent orthopedics post-graduates in mastering the art of writing and submitting research papers. Our aim was to provide insights into what editors and reviewers typically seek in scholarly articles.
The overarching goal of these efforts is to empower the upcoming generation of orthopedic surgeons, enabling them to effectively disseminate their valuable research. Many of these young professionals are producing high-quality work that deserves greater recognition. By facilitating their engagement with the publication process, we are contributing to the enhancement of our country's standing within the scientific community.
Do you have a team of surgeons, physicians, or orthopedicians working with you, or are you operating as a one-person team?
Dr. Manit Arora: Certainly, I have a team in place. This includes an associate consultant who is three years post-MS Orthopedics. Additionally, we administer a fellowship program that consistently accommodates two fellows on six-month fellowships. These fellows are post-graduates who have completed their MS Orthopedics and join us to gain insights into arthroscopy and sports medicine. To facilitate the smooth operation of our team, I have a dedicated personal assistant who manages various administrative aspects.
Our team further comprises two physiotherapists: a head physiotherapist and a junior physiotherapist. They are responsible for addressing the physiotherapy requirements of our patients. It's interesting to learn that you're a physiotherapist, particularly focused on community rehabilitation. While I primarily deal with sports physiotherapy, I appreciate the diverse range of expertise within the field of physiotherapy.
In cases where complex surgeries don't lead to the expected mobility improvements, and physiotherapy intervention becomes necessary, how do you approach and manage these complicated situations?
Dr. Manit Arora: Complicated cases are absolutely manageable; they present a challenge that tests our surgical expertise. What's more, I firmly believe that beyond the surgical procedure itself, the post-operative rehabilitation phase is of paramount importance. A successful surgery can be undermined by inadequate rehabilitation, potentially leading to complications. Conversely, even a less-than-optimal surgery can yield favorable results if followed by effective rehabilitation. On the other hand, a well-executed surgery coupled with subpar rehabilitation can result in ongoing patient dissatisfaction. This perspective is ingrained in our patients.
We emphasize that rehabilitation stands as perhaps the most critical phase of their recovery journey. This observation is consistently reinforced in our clinical practice. Those who diligently commit to rehabilitation invariably experience exceptional outcomes. Conversely, those who neglect or struggle with rehabilitation tend to achieve more modest results. We are strong proponents of physiotherapy, and this partnership begins even before the surgery, through rehabilitation, and extends into the post-operative period.
The role of physiotherapists cannot be overstated; it's a vital element in our approach. Collaborating closely with physiotherapists is essential to optimize patient outcomes. Our collective goal remains unwavering: to facilitate an athlete's return to sport at the pre-injury level. This objective can only be accomplished when all parties work in concert. The synergy between surgeons and physiotherapists is pivotal to achieving this shared aspiration.
Stay tuned for the second part of this interview!