A six-year-old Iraqi boy who could not walk due to a rare congenital disease, called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC), finally found hope to walk again, in India, after exploring all medical options in his native place in Iraq.
Mustafa Rabeea Abdul, underwent a two-month procedure in a Mumbai-based hospital where doctors used non-surgical means to straighten his legs that were bent at 90 degrees each. In March end, the boy was able to take his first ever steps.
AMC is a rare disease, with an incidence of one in 15,000 newborn children globally, that causes muscle weakness and deforms the limbs of the affected child. In Mustafa’s case, he suffered from extreme deformities in the knees that made him bed-ridden since birth. According to his parents, he crawled to reach any where in the house.
“While the deformity in the disease is generally not severe and can be corrected using a minor surgery, in his case, his knees were permanently bent at 90 degrees. Humans have it at 180 degrees to bend or straighten the leg up,” said Dr Sachin Bhosle, orthopedic surgeon at Fortis hospital, Mulund, where Mustafa was treated.
Mustafa had already undergone the minor corrective surgery in Iraq which failed to remove the deformity. Doctors treating him in Mumbai decided against another surgery which could risk cutting his tendons, nerves and ligaments.
“He could have lost a limb,” Bhosle said. The doctor then attached a ring fixator to Mustafa’s thighs, knees, legs and foot. “A ring fixator has screws attached. Everyday, we turned the screw a little 3-4 times to straighten his legs by one degree. In two months, his legs turned 120 degrees,” Bhosle said. The boy’s legs straightened by few millimeters every day. The ring fixator is also used for complex fractures or to increase the length of a limb. The boy, who can now walk with ease, left with his father back to Iraq in early April.