Timely second opinion ensures 10-year-old boy walks again after beating bone cancer

Sharing their relief and joy, the parents of the 10-year-old said that witnessing their child walk again was nothing short of a miracle.

BySouth First Desk

Published Feb 23, 2024 | 6:19 PMUpdatedFeb 23, 2024 | 6:19 PM

Bone cancer

A 10-year-old child, Akash, who had been diagnosed with osteosarcoma — an aggressive bone cancer is now able to walk again. Post diagnosis of cancer in his right thigh bone, he was advised for amputation.

However, the child’s story took a positive turn as the parents sought a second opinion at the Gleneagles BGS Hospital in Bengaluru.

According to a press release from the hospital, the treatment against osteosarcoma involved a comprehensive strategy, starting with neoadjuvant chemotherapy — a treatment given before surgery to shrink the tumour and then the surgery to remove the tumour.

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Surgery and expandable prosthesis

Next came the crucial phase: limb salvage surgery. In contrast to conventional amputation, this intricate procedure was designed to eliminate the affected part of the femur, while carefully safeguarding adjacent nerves and blood vessels.

In this situation, the excised bone was subsequently replaced with a tailored, expandable mega prosthesis — an incredible feat of contemporary medical technology.

Unlike its stationary counterparts, this prosthesis could adapt and grow along with Akash, guaranteeing that his leg would keep pace with his development into adolescence and adulthood.

The six-hour surgical procedure led by the Oncologist Dr Karthik K Prasad, yielded success. A few days later, the child, surpassing the five percent amputation risk, defied the odds and took his initial steps.

Speaking about the surgery, Dr Karthik said, “The surgery itself presented several challenges.”

He added, “Not only did we have to ensure complete tumour removal, but also meticulously dissect the neurovascular bundle, which supplies vital sensation and movement to the leg. Additionally, achieving precise alignment of the prosthesis was crucial to ensure proper weight distribution and function.”

Further throwing light on the case, Dr Karthik highlighted the importance of early intervention in case of bone cancer and elaborated how early diagnosis and intervention are crucial, allowing doctors to attack the tumour before it spread, leaving options like limb-salvage surgery viable.

“Additionally, access to specialised expertise and advanced technology plays a vital role,” he added, as mentioned in the release.

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Road to recovery

While the patient was able to take his first steps within four days and was discharged in 10 days, the doctors explained that it would take him three to six months to regain his pre-surgery abilities with regular physiotherapy sessions.

Sharing their relief and joy, the parents of the 10-year-old said that witnessing their child walk again was nothing short of a miracle.

As per the release, they said, “Initially devastated when amputation seemed to be the only recourse, the team at Gleneagles BGS Hospital instilled hope in us. They detailed the intricate procedure, the associated risks, and the potential advantages.”

The team of doctors further expressed hope that the future of bone cancer treatment holds promise.

They added, “Progress in tissue engineering opens up the possibility of replicating bones with a patient’s own tissue, resulting in replacements that are lighter, stronger, and more durable.”