The Department of Paediatrics and Orthopaedics at King George’s Medical University headed by Dr Ajai Singh incorporated stem cells successfully to treat children with debilitating arthritis called Perthe’s disease.
Perthe’s disease is a very common condition identified in kids between 4-8 years of age, it is very common in India too and affects 3 out 10,000 children in the coastal regions of India.
Perthe’s affects the head of the femur with the growing epiphyseal plate and results in shortening of limbs, making the child affected with it to limp. The pathology that underlies the condition includes gradual cut-off of the blood supply to the head, causing avascular necrosis, softening and breaking down of the bone.
In earlier times the intervention suggested for this condition was surgical trimming of the affected bone and then the joint was fixed in place with metal plates. This intervention though it enabled the kid to walk caused permanent disability of limb length discrepancy and other complications.
So the team at King George’s Medical University opted for the new branch of science which dealt with treating orthopaedic conditions using stem cells called “Orthobiologicals”. Using stem cells the team treated avascular necrosis among elders and this protocol proved to be extremely successful, so they replicated the same efforts on kids with Perthe’s disease.
This process involved extraction of stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow in the iliac bone of the pelvis. Approximately 60 ml of bone marrow was taken and centrifuged to be reduced to a concentrate. A hole was drilled into the affected site and the concentrate prepared was infused into it and sealed. The process took about an hour to complete.
This treatment proved to be amazingly successful and initiated bone growth, thereby preventing shortening of limbs in children enabling them to walk without a limp. Thus, the treatment was a real boon to help affected kids lead a normal life. In several centres in Europe and America, this method is already adopted and has recorded a success rate of 85%.
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