A five-year-old Iraqi girl has undergone a bone lengthening surgery in Chennai for both of her upper and lower limbs.
Five-year-old Naba would have grown no higher than three feet eight inches when she reached adulthood. She was diagnosed with achondroplasia, a geneticisorder that causes dwarfness.
Naba was born with a normal trunk size, very short and flabby limbs. But, both her upper and lower limbs were shorter and had growth deficiency.
Naba's parents, following the advice of several doctors in Iraq brought the 84-cm tall girl to Chennai in October 2007 for a treatment that was extremely painful.
After six months of the procedure called Ilizarov at the Soundarapandian Bone and Joint Hospital, Naba is now 12 cm taller.
Doctors treating her feel that she may grow up to five feet, if she undergoesnother surgery between the age of 10 and 15 years.
"We have been able to lengthen her from 84cm that was the height when she came, to a height now of 12 cm more in the legs and about 3.5 cm in the upper limbs. She now appears almost normal and her growth will occur when she is seven years old. We hope to see her again when she is ten-year-old," said Sivamurugan, the doctor who operated on Naba.
Doctors used the routine Illizarov apparatus procedure on one of her upper limbs. A cut was made in the upper arm bone of her hand to create a gap and stainless steel rings were fixed to it using heavy-gauge wires. In a few weeks, the cut bone began to grow together.
While the bone was growing, the frame was adjusted by means of turning the nuts and bolts attached to the rings, thus increasing the space between broken edges.
As the rings are connected to opposite sides of the fracture, this adjustment, done daily, moved the healing fracture apart by about a millimeter a day.
The procedure was repeated on the other arm and later on the thigh bone (femur) and the lower leg bone (fibula) of the right leg.
Hailing from Mosul, Naba's father Ahmad is a grocery shop owner and her mother Seema is a Maths teacher in a school, who were happy with their daughter's progress.
"We hope that our daughter will grow to normal height. Doctors in Iraq advised me to go to India that is why we came here. I have to say thanks to India and thanks to the doctors here," said Ahmed.
Naba would be discharged from the hospital in two to three months' time.