Chennai doctors use telescopic rods to treat brittle bone disease

Doctors of the Institute of Orthopaedics, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH), have fixed Telescopic Rods for a 6-year-old boy with brittle bone disease.

This was the first time that doctors in a government hospital utilised telescopic rods, N. Deen Muhammad Ismail, director and professor of the institute said. “Brittle bone disease or osteogenesis imperfecta is a rare genetic disease. Though the exact incidence in the country is not known, we are seeing one case every six months. In this, the bone-forming cells are weak, while the bone-destruction cells are active. Even the smallest injury could cause fractures,” he explained.

Previously, children born with the disease had never been able to walk due to multiple fractures. They also had completely deformed lower limbs, he said and added, “Now, we have drugs to reduce the bone destruction activity.”

B. Pasupathy, professor of orthopaedics — Unit 4, Institute of Orthopaedics, RGGGH, said parents are advised to be careful while handling babies with this disease. The boy, Saravanan, of Kolathur, Chennai, was born with the congenital disease. In fact, the boy’s father also had the same disease.

“After six months, he was started on injections that would make bones strong. The injections were administered intravenously once in three months under hospital observation. With medications, bone strength improved and bone breaking and bending reduced,” he said.

He slowly regained movement but still had deformity in both legs. To prevent mild malformations, doctors performed a corrective surgery. “We fixed telescopic rods inside the two thigh bones. The rods will expand according to the growth of the bones. The chances of re-fractures and bending are minimal. As the bones become stronger, the boy will be able to walk normally,” he added.

The surgery was covered under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme. R. Jayanthi, dean of RGGGH, was present.

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