Tina Kale (name changed) broke into a smile as she got out of her bed, gingerly walked towards a chair and sat in it. The mundane movements delighted the 17-year-old blood cancer survivor as she was immobile for the last two years.
Kale’s hip joint had been damaged due to cancer treatment. But thanks to a hip replacement surgery performed recently at Bombay Hospital, she can now walk with crutches.
In six weeks, she will not even need them.
Doctors at Bombay Hospital claimed she is the youngest patient to undergo total hip replacement surgery in the city.
Independent experts said it was probably the first case where a teenager’s hip was replaced because of avascular necrosis (deterioration of hip joint) but pointed out that the surgery has been performed on cancer-affected and young adults whose hip joints have been severely damaged due to injury.
In Kale’s case, it was the only option. She had been undergoing treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma since 2003.
Chemotherapy killed the cancer cells but her blood circulation was affected.
“The head of the hip bone had collapsed because it was not getting enough blood,” said orthopaedic surgeon Dr Parag Munshi, who performed the 1.5-hour procedure on August 7.
“Ideally, we don’t advise hip replacement for young patients. But Tina was in constant pain and could not move,” he added.
A metallic hip usually lasts for 15-20 years. Kale will have to get the implant replaced after that. “The second time around it will be more complicated and will be good for just 10 years,” said Dr Munshi.
Kale was aware of the risks but pushed her family for the surgery.
“I had to stop going to school and study at home through Class 10 because of my condition. I just want to be able to walk, go to college and meet my friends,” she said.
Her father Ramesh, who quit his job to look after her, had to fight back tears when he saw Tina walking. “I have not seen her smiling for years,” he said.
Jaslok Hospital’s orthopaedic surgeon Dr Ameet Pispati said hip replacement is rare among young patients but a “fair number of 17-and 18-year-old patients” have undergone the surgery.