G. Jayaraman (57), a Mulund resident, travels from his house to his office in Byculla every day. He has no difficulty in negotiating the crowds at the local railway stations or climbing up the stairs of his office.
However, six months ago, Jayaraman couldn’t do such simple activities. The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited general manager suffers from a rare bone disorder called Paget’s disease, which left his right leg deformed and made it an inch and a half shorter than his left leg. The deformity was corrected by a team of orthopaedic surgeons at Fortis Hospital in Mulund last November and Jayraman resumed work three months after the surgery.
“When the symptoms started showing around eight years ago, I thought it was just a minor problem due to some accident and chose to ignore it,” said Jayraman who was diagnosed with the disease in 2006. “However, the pain became unbearable over the previous four years and even started affecting my job,” he added.
“Paget’s disease is caused either by hereditary factors or by a viral infection in certain cases. It occurs in one out of 10 lakh people in India. Mumbai has around a few hundred such patients,” said Dr Sachin Bhonsle, who led the surgical team that operated on Jayaraman. He added that the disease can lead to further complications such as heart failure and cancer.
Doctors straightened Jayaraman’s leg by cutting out wedge-shaped pieces out of the bone and adding a titanium plate to hold the bone in place. The difference in height between the feet was also corrected to within half an inch. Dr Bhonsle said little was known about the cause of the disease, which manifested by disrupting the balance between osteoblasts (those that generate new bone cells) and osteoclasts (those that absorb old bones in the body).
“Though the deformity in his leg has been corrected, he will need to be monitored regularly,” said Bhonsle.