JERUSALEM / Palsport Agency/ From the Universities of Frankfurt and Heidelberg in Germany, and on a grant from Makassed Islamic Charitable Hospital, located on the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Dr. Sayf Al-Din Abul Rub was able to solve the intractable problem athletes suffer from, following injuries related to the rupture of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), fractures and sprains, as a result of rough play especially during football and basketball games .
Dr. Abul Rub, who originally was a volleyball player throughout his school days in Tulkarm, worked at Makassed Hospital and with the support and encouragement of skilled and formidable physician Dr. Rustum Nimri he was dispatched to Germany on a grant funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) allowing him to become the first Palestinian doctor specializing in sport medicine and arthroscopic surgery, in addition to his prior specialty in bones and joints surgery, from Germany as well.
Dr. Abul Rub, returning to Palestine with modern German expertise and equipment, expresses his pride that Makassed Hospital is the first Palestinian and Arab hospital to own such modern apparatus and devices and works on developing and advancing its human and technological cadres.
In the past, a great number of athletes in Palestine were forced to travel to Germany or Jordan or other European countries in order to have these surgeries performed on them. However, now and through the efforts of Makassed’s administration and the doctor’s expertise, Dr. Abul Rub has become the first Palestinian specialist in arthroscopic knee surgery and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction operations through the use of autografts, employing tendons or tissue harvested from the patient’s body instead of artificial ones. He notes that during the surgery, two openings are drilled in the knee that do not exceed half a centimeter each, while in the past each opening would reach up to 15 cm. The surgery can also be performed under local or general anesthesia, according to the patient’s desire. It is carried out with the utmost accuracy and with the use of tools that are the size of a small pencil, and lasts between an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half. It is also fully documented and the patient is able to watch it afterwards, while the doctors are able to follow the surgery through screens connected to a special device. This device and all the equipment have been delivered from Germany, funded by USAID, and are valued at nearly three hundred thousand dollars.
In the same department, other orthopedic surgeries are performed related to the tearing of muscles, fractures, the knee and shoulder joints which afflict athletes and non-athletes, as well as cartilage repair operations.
Dr. Abul Rub adds that traditional diagnostic and surgical operations have become outdated, noting that 99% of the telescope operations are for treatment and not for diagnosis as in past. He mentions that today the same procedure can be carried out for ankle and shoulder operations with the help of the same machine.
As for the success rate of these procedures, Dr. Abul Rub indicates that it is very high, thanks to the new devices and equipment, adding that patients with ACL injuries can return to their normal lives or resume sports after six months, after undergoing a period of physiotherap following the surgery.
Dr. Abul Rub states that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. With regards to injuries suffered by athletes, he says that he has performed several ACL surgeries on tens of Palestinian players from the national team and various clubs. But in order to prevent these types of injuries, he urges the players to warm-up and stretch before entering the court or the field, especially football and basketball players. He also emphasizes the importance of having a doctor present who is specialized in field and court injuries or knowledgeable enough to prevent them from getting worse in the event the player decides to continue the game.
Dr. Abul Rub concludes by saying we now have sufficient expertise and equipment of international standards in Palestinian hands and administered by Makassed Hospital, noting that this inveterate Hospital is graduating specialist physicians, and adding that in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery there are 6 new doctors specializing in the field thus spreading expertise all over Palestine.