Nigerian girl undergoes rare limb-salvage surgery

New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Doctors in a city hospital claim to have performed a rare “limb-salvage” surgery to avoid amputating the left leg of a 13-year-old Nigerian girl suffering from bone cancer.

Mariam underwent surgery at the Nova Specialty Surgery Centre in Kailash Colony two weeks ago and her stitches were removed Wednesday.

According to doctors, the teenager was suffering from ‘osteosarcoma’ — the most common type of bone cancer and the sixth most common type of cancer in children.

“She came to us with acute pain and was confined to bed. On diagnosis, a tumour was discovered in the lower part of her thigh,” said Ramneek Mahajan, senior orthopaedic surgeon, who performed the surgery

“Mariam was advised chemotherapy to contain the spread of the tumour. She went through six cycles of chemotherapy. Her biopsy results showed that the tumour had regressed. Now the dilemma was what to do,” he said.

Mahajan said the challenge was whether to go ahead and amputate the leg or look at other options.

“We discussed it with her family and evaluated the various options apart from amputation. We decided to go for a rare surgery called limb-salvage. The objective was to overrule amputation and make her walk pain-free,” he said.

The doctors believe that in two weeks’ time, Mariam can stand and walk independently.

“I miss my friends and school. I thank the doctors of India for saving my leg. I will be able to walk pain-free and play with my friends when I reach home,” said an elated Mariam.

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