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Nigerian girl operated upon for rare disease

A Nigerian girl affected by a not so commonly diagnosed disease underwent a rare surgery at the city’s Bombay Hospital.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
May 22, 2009 3:10:57 am

A Nigerian girl affected by a not so commonly diagnosed disease underwent a rare surgery at the city’s Bombay Hospital. Six-year-old Hilda Okaye was diagnosed with Blount’s disease commonly found in Africa and obese children the world over.

Her parents were unwilling to get her operated in Nigeria and brought her to India as the healthcare facilities are much better.

“Hilda was diagnosed with Blount’s disease in Nigeria. Her father brought her here for correction,” said Dr Atul Bhaskar,pediatric orthopedic surgeon who performed the operation. Blount’s disease affects bone development in toddlers and children. It begins as bow-leggedness which does not show improvement in children between 2-4 years of age.

The two-hour procedure that took place on Friday involved removal of an abnormal growth from the left leg and filling the cavity with bone cement (ceramic cement). “With this her growth will not get affected and therefore she will not end up with shortening of legs,” Dr Bhaskar added. Hilda can now realise her dream of becoming an athlete.

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Blount’s disease is often misdiagnosed as rickets. “If the child continues to have deformity even after two years of age the parents should consult a doctor. However,all bow leggedness cases are not serious and Blount’s disease,” said Dr Bhaskar. In India,it is still rarely seen. World over the incidence is one in a lakh children.

“Angular deformities or bow legs are common under the age of two and the condition is usually improves on its own,” said Dr Bhaskar

“She loves running but could not even walk properly. Now I am glad that she can play with kids her age,” said Sebastian Okaye,Hilda’s father.

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