Handicapped for 23 years, a Sudanese war veteran walks again!

14 hours of meticulous surgery followed by 4 months of extensive care by doctors of Thumbay University Hospital, ensures miraculous recovery!

Ajman, UAE: Confined to a wheel chair for 23 years with severe pain, deformity and suffering in his limb, Robert a war veteran from Sudan is now walking again. He underwent an unconventional surgery at Thumbay University Hospital, Dubai wherein his ability to walk was restored. Dr. Faisal Ameer, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon and Dr. Amit Chaturvedi, Specialist Orthopedic surgeon with their expert team performed 14 hours of complex procedure, a combination of wedge osteotomy and micro vascular tissue transfer surgery.

Robert, who is now 58 years old, had suffered heavy artillery blast injury which shattered the bones and tissues of his right lower limb. After being in the hospital in his home country for almost 1 year and undergoing multiple surgeries in his home country, he ended up having a gruesome deformity. The bone infection with multiple pus pouring wounds on the leg did not allow the fracture to heal and his situation worsened every year.He was unable to stand on his two feet that disrupted his day to day activities so much thatat one point he had to crawl to move.He consulted numerous surgeons and specialists in multiple tertiary hospitals in his home country who advised to have the limb amputated below the knee which he and his family could not accept.

Dr. Faisal Ameer, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon, Thumbay University Hospital, said, “When Robert came to us, our biggest task was to provide accurate treatment and confidence to him  as he was not in the best of his mental and physical state. As a result of which he had resorted toheavy smoking. This further complicated the situation because when the patient is a chronic smoker the success rate of micro vascular surgery is less and wound healing becomes difficult”.

At Thumbay University hospital there is an excellent collaboration among physicians and specialists to get each patient exactly the treatment needed as quickly as possible. This inclusive system begins with trauma prevention and transmits through to injury rehabilitation.After doing scans and tests the doctors concluded that salvage of the limb was possible and the deformity could be corrected.

“Dr. Chaturvedi and I took up this challenge, the first step was to remove all infected and dead bone and then correct the deformity which was done by a procedure called wedge osteotomy and was fixed using a modular carbon fiber external fixation device. The next big issue was coverage of wound and exposed bones. This was done by using tissue from the back and shoulder of the patient and transferring by micro vascular surgery. This is a complex, delicate and multistage combination of orthopedic and plastic surgery that requires high level of skill, magnification and specialized instrumentation”, added Dr. Ameer.

Wedge Osteotomy helped the foot get in alignment with the leg to straighten the bone. The modular carbon fiber device was then used externally to fix the leg, though rare this fixation device is light weight but so strong that it can bear patients weight and help him start walking. Micro vascular surgery entails transferring healthy tissue to the affected area which was the leg in this case from the back of the patient and connecting blood vessels of the transferred tissue to the area where tissue is requiredto cover all defects.

Four months later the fixation was removed, the patient underwent extensive physiotherapy and finally stood up and started walking. This was an emotional moment not only for the patient but also for the doctors and staff who took care of him.

“Finally whenI met multispecialty team at Thumbay University Hospital they gave me a hope that I can walk again. Under the guidance of Dr. Ameer, what they have done is nothing short of a miracle and to me it means a lot. I’m surprised at what the team has been able to achieve. It was a tough fight, every day, every hour, but I knew one thing, if I want to walk again, I have to fight for it. With extensive care and physical therapy everything is getting better and better now.”said Robert with a brimming smile on his face.

His wounds have all healed now and the bone is uniting, soon making a full recovery.

Notes to the Editor:

Thumbay University Hospital is the largest private academic hospital in the Middle East region, with 350 beds. It is a state-of-the-art family healthcare destination having a dedicated 100-bed long term care and rehabilitation unit, Centre for Oncology equipped with PET-CT scan, 10 modern surgical suites for all major specialties, Center for Imaging, Cath Lab, ICU/CCU/NICU/PICU, 10-bed dialysis unit, etc. The Hospital has a dedicated floor for the Mother and Child program including 10 Labor & Delivery Rooms, NICU, SCBU and Well Baby Unit. The hospital offers Marhaba Services – personalized fast track services for patients – as well as Presidential Suite Rooms, VIP Rooms, Private Rooms etc. They have a ‘Therapeutic Garden’ for better relaxation and holistic recovery of in-patients.