UAE: Surgery saves boy's limb from amputation

Ajman - Doctors use 3D printing technology to carry out the complex surgical procedure


Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Mon 25 Jan 2021, 4:41 PM

Last updated: Mon 25 Jan 2021, 5:05 PM

A team of doctors at Thumbay University Hospital has successfully conducted a first-of-its-kind foot reconstruction surgery on a Nigerian boy, 9, which saved his right leg from amputation.

The doctors used the 3D printing technology to carry out the complex surgical procedure.

The boy’s right leg was severely injured because of a gunshot wound back home, and his family members had consulted several doctors in Nigeria and the UAE.

However, all of them had diagnosed that the boy's right leg needed to be amputated.

His parents were traumatised by the diagnosis as the child is not only a good student, but also excels in dance and karate.

Fortunately, his parents got in touch with Dr Faisal Ameer, the head of plastic and reconstructive Surgery at Thumbay University Hospital, Ajman, who assured them of a successful surgery, despite the challenges.

The hospital authorities carried out thorough diagnostic tests and a computed tomography (CT) angiogram of the foot and arrived at the conclusion that a complex surgical procedure and post-operative care is likely to save the limb from amputation.

The laser surgery lasted over 14 hours and was followed by a 3D CT scan. An image of the missing bones, which were destroyed by the gunshot wound in the right limb, was reconstructed by a design team belonging to Dubai, Germany and Belgium.

Dr Hillol Kanti Pal, a neurosurgeon, Dr Mufique Gajdhar, a paediatric surgeon, and Dr Arun Kumar, a radiologist, put together a meshed bone made of titanium, which was implanted in the child’s right foot by using the 3D printing technology.

Titanium was used for strength, inertness and light weight.

“This is the first-of-its-kind surgery to be reported in the field of medical science, which makes it unique, historic and extraordinary. It’s a matter of great pride and accomplishment for Thumbay University Hospital, as we bring glory to the nation. The feat further cements the UAE’s reputation of making records in all walks of life,” said Akbar Moideen Thumbay, Vice-president of Healthcare Division, Thumbay Group.

Dr Faisal said: “More than a third of all unintentional shootings of children take place at the homes of their friends, neighbours, or relatives. Fortunately, these injuries are not commonplace in the UAE because of the strict rules. However, in many countries people can own guns legally and children can get easily hurt causing a significant spike in mortality and morbidity rates.”

The boy’s mother felt indebted to the divine intervention and profusely thanked the hospital authorities, who miraculously saved her child’s right limb and gave him a new lease of life.

"I am so grateful to the doctors and the entire team at the hospital for saving my son's life. With their help, he will now be able to get back to his normal life," the mother said.

The boy is undergoing intensive physiotherapy as part of the post-operative care and is expected to make a full recovery soon.

3D printing is an emerging field in reconstructive surgery allowing restoration of complex body structures, which were not possible five years ago.

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