Youth gains mobility with light-weight prosthesis at Chennai government hospital

The patient (centre) whose right hip was crushed in a road accident was fitted with lower limb prosthesis at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.

The patient (centre) whose right hip was crushed in a road accident was fitted with lower limb prosthesis at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.   | Photo Credit: S. R. Raghunathan


Doctors at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital performed a procedure to implant the device, which weighs only 1.5 kg compared to the conventional 10 kg

A road accident in June this year changed the life of 22-year-old Hemnath. Three months into his first job, he lost his right lower limb in the accident. The amputation followed by weeks of battling an infected stump gave him a hard time. When he thought all was lost, doctors at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) helped him gain mobility by fitting a light-weight endoskeletal prosthesis.

A resident of Uppalam near Ponneri, Mr Hemnath was riding pillion on a two-wheeler when a car rammed into the vehicle on June 2. His right hip was crushed between the car and the road divider. He was taken to a nearby private hospital and referred to RGGGH..

“On examination, doctors found he had a hip bone fracture and the main blood vessels supplying to his right lower limb were damaged. Due to loss of blood supply, his right lower limb had to be amputated,” R. Jayanthi, dean of RGGGH, told reporters on Tuesday.

He was sent to the Department of Plastic Surgery with an infected stump. “Normally, the thigh bone is 45 cm long. But in his case, following amputation, the stump was only 10 cm long. There was continuous leakage of fluid, and we did vacuum suction (negative pressure wound therapy) four times to stop the fluid formation completely. Once the infection was controlled, we covered the stump with local flap cover,” S. Sridevi, professor, Plastic Surgery, explained.

Dr. Jayanthi said the vacuum therapy was expensive, costing ₹10,000 per sitting in the private sector. At RGGGH, it was covered under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (CMCHIS)

After the wound was healed, doctors performed a procedure to implant an endoskeletal prosthesis. “The conventional exoskeletal prosthesis weighs heavy at 10 kg. The patient can gain balance but it does not provide flexibility at the knee level. The patient will have to remove it to sit. But endoskeletal prosthesis weighs only 1.5 kilos. It is light weight and provides flexibility,” she added. The prosthesis cost ₹1.77 lakh and was procured under CMCHIS.

Two months after he received the prosthesis and underwent rehabilitation and training for ambulation, Mr. Hemnath is now able to walk with minimal support. “I was unable to even sit, and thought I will not be able to do anything in future. But doctors encouraged and helped me to sit and walk. With training, I gained mobility slowly. Today, I can do 90% of my work, and I am looking forward to starting work again,” he said.

Usually, endoskeletal prosthesis is provided for patients with below-knee amputations. In this case, it was for the first time provided for a patient with above-knee amputation, doctors said. J. Jaganmohan professor and head, Plastic Surgery, said every year, five to six patients received the prosthesis at RGGGH.

Mr. Hemnath’s parents -- both tailors -- are happy with his improvement. “I came here with a heavy heart but I am going back happy. I want him to work, and help people like him,” his mother, M. Parameswari said.

Velliangiri, professor and head, Institute of Anaesthesia also participated.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 8:02:27 PM |

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