Dwarfish Iraqi girl undergoes bone lengthening surgery

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Chennai, Apr 5 (UNI) A five-year-old dwarf Iraqi girl underwent a bone lengthening surgery in both the upper and lower limbs at a private hospital in the city.

Talking to reporters here today, Soundarapandian Bone and Joint Hospital Director S Sivamurugan, who led a team of specialists in performing the unique surgery for the first time in India, said the upper limbs were lengthened by three cm and the lower limbs by 12 cm.

The girl, Naba was born with a normal trunk size, very short and flabby limbs. But both her upper and lower limbs were shorter and had growth deficiency.

Her dwarfness was caused due to Achondroplasia, which in medical parlance referred to the lack of cartilage growth.

The surgery was done on all the four limbs over a six-month period from October to March through callus distraction procedure.

The bone was cut and external fixators were inserted on all four limbs to enable the bone to grow at one mm per day.

''The girl displayed enormous courage to accept fixators on all four limbs,'' Dr Sivamurugan said and added that her height had already increased from 84 cm to 96 cm.

''If she had not had this surgery, she would not have grown more than three ft eight inches. But now she will have a normal growth and she can grow upto five ft eight inches'.

Hailing from Mosul in southern Iraq, Naba's father Ahamad was a grocery shop owner and her mother Seema a maths teacher in a school.

Considering that admissions for kids would begin only at the age of six, Naba is all set to go to school from next year along with her elder and younger brothers.

She would be discharged in two to three months as her height would grow during the normal growth phase from seven to nine years.

''There will be another growth phase at the age of 12-14 year when she attains puberty. If needed one more lengthening can be done,'' Dr Sivamurugan said adding that it cost about Rs four lakh for the surgery in India.

''It would have cost any where between Rs 25 lakh to Rs 30 lakh in the western countries,'' he added.

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