New method helps cancer patient retain natural bone

Doctors at Narayana Health City have helped a patient recover from cancer by freezing her bone to get rid of the cancerous cells.

Rather than the conventional method of cutting the cancer-affected bones at both ends and replacing it with an artificial bone, doctors used the new procedure — Pedicle Cryotherapy — to cut just one end of the affected bone and retain the other end with the limb and surrounding muscles, tendons and soft tissues.

The affected area is dipped in liquid nitrogen at -195 degrees Celsius to kill all the tumor cells. The original bone is fixed back again with a plate once the tumor is destroyed, doctors explained.

Three months after the procedure and chemotherapy sessions, Sayantika Mondal, a domestic maid, is back to work. Sayantika, mother of an 18-month-old, was almost bedridden with Ewing's Sarcoma, a type of cancerous tumour that forms in the bone or soft tissue. Besides curing the cancer in the bone, the procedure has allowed her to retain the natural bone.

Sayantika was initially given chemotherapy, which was not a permanent solution for her condition, and doctors suggested surgical removal of the tumour. Due to her young age, they suggested the advanced procedure.

"Pedicle cryotherapy allows the patient to do virtually any activity,” said Dr Suman Byregowda, Musculo-Skeletal Oncosurgeon, Narayana Health City.

"The traditional surgery inserts an artificial metal bone and the patient is restrained from doing physical activities that put pressure. The new procedure also allows faster recovery since the normal bones and soft tissues are not damaged." Dr Byregowda said the new procedure also obviates the revision surgeries that come with prosthesis.

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