Doctors perform limb salvage surgery on a 4-yr-old boy

Doctors perform limb salvage surgery on a 4-year-old boy

Yenepoya Oncosurgical team performed complex limb salvage surgery on a four-year-old boy with femoral osteosarcoma.

The surgery was performed by the Department of Surgical Oncology, Yenepoya Cancer Centre, Yenepoya Medical College, Deralakatte, to save the leg of the boy. Dr M Vijayakumar of the department said that he was suffering from high-grade rare bone cancer (osteosarcoma of the femur). 

The child's parents had consulted major cancer centres and specialist hospitals across India and were advised that the amputation of the limb was the only option. Then, they approached Dr Jalaluddin Akbar K C, head of the department, Yenepoya Cancer Center, Deralakatte, for advice. This case was discussed in the hospital tumour board and was taken up as a challenge to save the leg of the boy as parents his refused amputation he said.

Dr Akbar and Dr Vijayakumar, along with the Department of Surgical Oncology, designed a special expandable prosthesis for the child and approached two companies to custom manufacture it. A German company quoted Rs 30 lakh and a Chennai company was willing to do at Rs 1.5 lakh. Accordingly, the prosthesis was manufactured in Chennai. The child underwent a complex surgery for a period of six hours and both the leg and life of the child was saved.

The post-operative period was uneventful.

The challenge, in this case, was that no centre in India had done such surgery in this age group and very few cases are reported across the world as per literature review. The problem in performing limb saving surgery on such a young child is managing the growing bone and maintaining equal limb length on both sides, and unavailability of a prosthesis to do that. Hence, a custom-made expanding prosthesis was designed, said Dr Akbar.