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Indian doctors perform life-saving surgery, save 16-year-old from leg amputation

Think Change India
19th Jan 2018
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A lifesaving surgery was performed on a 16-year-old Iraqi boy diagnosed with an aggressive bone malignancy called osteosarcoma by a team of doctors at the Columbia Asia Hospital, Hebbal, in Bengaluru.

Representational Image. Source: BAUS Official Site

The patient suffering from this rare cancer in the bone was treated through a procedure known as ‘limb salvage’. In this surgery, the doctors remove the tumour from only the arm or leg, including even the bones and tissues around it, rather than the whole limb.

When the 16-year-old was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in the right femur a few months ago, he was provided with only one option — amputation of the entire leg — by most hospitals. At this time, Columbia Asia Hospital stepped in, saving the child’s life.

In a press release shared with YourStory, the consultant at the orthopaedics department in Bengaluru’s Columbia Asia Hospital, Dr Ravichandra Kelkar, said,

The primary challenge before us was that we were unable to comprehend how much of cancer had actually proliferated in the bone on the joint areas of knee, thigh and hip. Initially after a scan, we had opted for a chemotherapy that went futile in shrinking the malignant cells.

Eventually, the doctors decided that they will perform a customised implant as the surgery will be hugely dependent on what they find inside on the operation table. The implants which can be modified are expensive but have an edge over the regular ones due to the flexibility of size.

Ravichandra further said in the press release,

Unlike those regular knee replacements where one can shave off the edges, here one has to actually cut off the bone and the cancer together. Since nothing was left in the legs, except for blood vessels and nerves, they had to be handled tenderly.

In the ‘limb salvage’ process, the part of the arm or leg which is removed is replaced with a prosthetic implant. This process is carried out to save the appearance and use of the affected limb. Also known as the ‘limb-sparing surgery’, it is mainly used to treat cancer of bones or soft tissues.

The surgery was performed at the right time, as the cancer was in its moderate stage. Had they waited any longer, the cancer might have spread to thighs and hips. The surgery performed was successful, and the boy is recovering fast, and is also able to walk now.

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