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13 year old girl undergoes deformation correction surgery to walk normally for the first time

A six-hour long complex surgery by the doctors at Fortis Hospitals gave Gaganshree a new lease of life and brought her smile back.

The constant appointments at different hospitals, the disheartening results, difficulty in performing basic routine and with no or little ray of hope left in her to be able to walk normal, little Gaganashree was going through a tough time when she visited Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road. A six-hour long complex surgery by the doctors at Fortis Hospitals gave her a new lease of life and brought her smile back. It was a painful reality that the little girl faced day in and day out; it put not just physical but also mental stress on the child. Thirteen-year-old Gaganashree found it difficult to carry out even basic activities and daily personal chores because of the deformity in her lower limbs. She had problems walking normally and was distraught because her windswept (waddling) gait embarrassed her and she often had to face discrimination and ridicule in school and outside. She was hardly able to participate in any sporting activity.

With the hope of getting the deformity treated, Gaganashree and her parents made the rounds of many hospitals and visited specialists in the city, but almost everywhere they were told that the teenager s condition could not be treated because of lack of expertise or she was asked to wait till she grew up and completed her development. Finally, she came to Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road where Orthopaedic specialist performed a specialised deformity correction surgery that helped straighten her lower limbs and ensured that she walked normally.'The child and her parents came to us after visiting quite a few centres, where they were told that she had a genetic disorder that could not be corrected. We did a detailed evaluation and diagnosed her with a condition called Spondylo-epiphyseal dysplasia, wherein her long bones are not growing normally because the growing ends of her bones were malformed. We informed the parents that the disorder would require complex deformity correction surgery, said Dr Mohan Puttaswamy, Consultant Reconstructive Orthopaedic Surgeon at Fortis Hospitals. (Read: Patients aged 70 79 years can undergo successful spine surgeries doctors at Fortis Hospital, Noida)

Spondylo-epiphyseal dysplasia (MED) is a rare, genetic disorder characterised by a malformation of the growing ends of the long bones. The deformity could involve the spine, hips and knees. In Gaganashree, the deformity was seen in the knees, thighbones as well as the leg bones resulting in a windswept gait and difficulty in walking. Such growth deformities also lead to children being shorter than the normally expected height at their age. Stiffness and diminished joint mobility at the knees, elbows, and hips may develop over time. (Read: Bed-ridden woman walks again after rare surgery)

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She used to rarely get out of the house because of her deformity except for going to school. As her legs were not straight and almost crossed, walking was quite difficult and we were worried about the condition, says Gaganashree s elder brother Hemant. After the evaluation, the Orthopaedic team led by Dr Mohan Puttuswamy formulated a surgical plan according to which a single stage multi-level procedure would be performed. He explained that the 13-year-old s condition was worsened because not only was she short in stature, but she also had ligament dysfunction in the knee joints. The surgery was planned in such a way that the growing ends of the bones should be preserved and the ligaments in the knees would be tightened. (Read: New revolutionary technique helps in spine correction of a seven year old girl)

In a highly complex and challenging surgery, which lasted for six hours, Fortis doctors corrected the deformities in her right femur (thigh bone) and left tibia (shin bone) and her bones were straightened. A special technique called as Open-closed wedge technique was employed so that the length of the right thighbone was not decreased. In the left leg too, a similar strategy was used to avoid shortening of the limb and both her legs were straightened. The loose ligaments in the knee joints were tightened to enable her to walk with stability. Three months after her surgery, she has made a steady recovery and today Gaganashree is walking straight and tall. She is happy to be able to walk normally and is waiting to get outdoors and go to school, says Hemant. (Read: Rare minimal access spine surgery performed on an 82 yr old patient in Mumbai)

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