With 20,000 neurosurgeries to his name, Dr. Manas Kumar Panigrahi lets his work speak for him

With a hectic schedule and challenging emergencies, destressing is most important. For that, he prefers to watch Bollywood movies

By KANIZA GARARI  Published on  20 July 2022 9:37 AM GMT
With 20,000 neurosurgeries to his name, Dr. Manas Kumar Panigrahi lets his work speak for him

Hyderabad: With 20,000 neurosurgeries to his credit and with more than 22 years of experience, Dr. Manas Kumar Panigrahi, head of the department and senior consultant neurosurgeon at KIMS Hospital, is a sought-after neurosurgeon in Hyderabad. Soft-spoken and a man of few words, Dr. Panigrahi has let his work speak for him.

A journey from seeing death to hope

To do brain surgery in the 1990s was a very tough task. On his first day at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, where he trained for neurosurgery, three patients died. This first day still rings in his mind but now he is happy to state that the patients survive and also lead a quality life. What changed brain surgeries is the advancement in technology. From 1990 to 2000, there are lots of diagnostic, surgical and medical tools available which has improved the outcome of surgeries.

Dr. Panigrahi says, "From our days of practice with limited tools to that of robotic surgeries, there has been an advancement that has helped. Earlier, we required a wider opening of the skull, and more drilling, and it was difficult to maneuver in the region of the brain. But now with microscopes, the drilling and opening of the skull are reduced." Brain surgeries which earlier took 16 to 18 hours are now done in six hours.




Diagnostics have brought neuro diseases to fore

Computed Tomography Scan (CT scan) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) have helped to identify cerebral aneurysms, brain tumors, and neurological disorders like epilepsy, and Parkinson's disease in the population.

· Cerebral aneurysm: It is ballooning of the blood vessel in the brain. If it ruptures, it leads to bleeding inside the brain. In India, the incidence is 6 to 16 per one lakh population. This is now both an elective and emergency surgery. Dr. Manas explains, "When I started my training, there was a research paper which said that aneurysms were only a problem of the Western population. But now with diagnosis, it shows that India is on par with the West."

· Brain tumors: Every day two to three brain tumor surgeries are carried out by his team. The incidence of brain tumors in India is 5 to 10 per 1,00,000 population. Diagnosis of brain tumors is a challenge and it is mostly diagnosed at stage 4. Yet, with robotic surgeries and advancement in technology, the treatment and outcomes have improved both in terms of recovery and quality of life.




· Emergency brain and spine surgeries due to accidents: This category requires a calm and focused approach and Dr. Manas literally had a break from this category during Covid-19. With more travel post-pandemic, it is back to the pre-Covid state with accident rates becoming high.

· Parkinson's disease: It is a brain disorder that causes unintended or uncontrolled movements such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination. The symptoms gradually worsen over time. Dr. Manas has pioneered Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson's disease and performed more than 100 DBS surgeries.

· Epilepsy disorders: It is a disorder of the central nervous system in which the brain activity is abnormal leading to seizures, unusual behavior, and loss of sensation and awareness. He is a key member of comprehensive epilepsy surgery in KIMS Hospital and has performed more than 750 surgeries.

With a hectic schedule and challenging emergencies, destressing is most important. For that, he prefers to watch Bollywood movies. He also believes in taking power naps for 10 to 15 minutes to rejuvenate and improve concentration levels. These simple tricks have kept him going and kept him on his toes.

Back in 1989, when he passed his MBBS from MKCG Medical College in Berhampur, Odisha, he took up specialty of neurosurgery out of interest in the subject. During that time, no one was interested in taking it up as a specialty as most of the cases resulted in disability and death. At present, the specialty attracts a lot of young doctors and advancements in surgical tools have reduced the long hours of surgery.




Hard work is always recognized

People come to him from different states of India as they have searched and researched about him on the internet. The age-old word of mouth carries a lot of weight for doctors and most of the patients and their families spread the good word. With more than 140 publications in national and international journals, he is highly recognized for his works. For his works, he has received several awards and honors, the recent one being Dr. Kakarla Subba Rao, Lifetime Achievement Award 2022.

A rather private person, he prefers to be with his family during his free time. His wife is a practicing gynecologist and their work-life balance has been to take out time for each other during their non-medical hours.

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