Indian doctors successfully replaced the femur (thigh bone) of a 12-year-old Bangladeshi boy who was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a disease that affects only the long bones, in an eight-hour surgery.
The boy was able to walk with assistance just five days after surgery and was released, reports WION. And six weeks later, he was able to walk with a single crutch and climb stairs without assistance.
In general, children born with this disease do not live more than six months, and amputation was previously the only alternative.
However, thanks to new advancements in medicine, chemotherapy is used to shrink the cancerous tumour and the limb is replaced by a prosthetic one.
While a kidney or liver transplant needs an organ from a donor, physicians choose to use a titanium-cobalt-chromium alloy for bone transplants.
Dr R Sankar, an orthopaedic surgeon at Apollo Hospitals, said that limb salvage is a less painful process for young patients and allows limb functionality rather than amputation.
"This child is going to grow and by the time he's an adult, we would have to perform 2-3 surgeries to extend the limb and joint, as what we have done is an artificial joint replacement. We can say that with this artificial limb, he can have a good quality of life for nearly 20-25 years," Dr Sankar told Zee Media when asked about the follow-up treatment.