SIMS Hospital gives a new lease of life to a 38-year old Tanzanian affected by ameloblastoma

The Chennai based SIMS (SRM Institutes for Medical Science) Hospital, one of the leading super speciality quaternary care hospitals in Tamil Nadu, put an end to a thirty-eight year old Tanzanian patient’s pain and misery of 14 years caused by a  more than 1 kg weighing Ameloblastoma in the lower jaw. Lack of early medical intervention and diagnostic facility in his country, made it difficult for him to chew and eat his food, which in turn affected his overall quality of life significantly. With a defective and continuously increasing lump in the jawbone, the Tanzanian patient was referred to SIMS, Vadapalani, Chennai by his Government for a holistic treatment.

Speaking on the medical condition and the technical procedure followed during the treatment, Dr. K. Sridhar, Head-Craniofacial, Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery, SIMS, said, “Our first assessment revealed a huge ball sized tumour that was causing severe pain, swelling and facial deformity for the Tanzanian patient. With initial screenings though, we diagnosed the lump to be an Ameloblastoma that required complex surgical correction, given its unusual size. During the initial virtual observation and assessment we took into consideration and carefully evaluated the key parameters including the size of tumor, the length of fibular graft needed, and the shape of graft for precise calculations and further procedure. For, these are the parameters that would determine the maximal restoration of his oral function and appearance.

It required a reconstruction of the entire mandible including both sides of the jaw. This necessitated a 4 piece reconstruction having different angulation and dimension. A complex virtual planning in computer was required to have a final result for a natural appearance.

This required a team approach having reconstructive plastic surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, specialists in implantology and a computer engineer, apart from a highly skilled Aneasthesia team.

“Thus began the whole treatment process of transferring a virtual plan to clinical operation with a holistic approach to help that Tanzanian patient regain his normal life, to eat well, become more socially acceptable sans the stigma. The meticulous preparation with the key advanced 3-Dimensional CT techniques of medical image processing and printing, planning of tumor resection, and fibular resection for graft harvesting, graft shaping, and fixation, as well as planning, designing and fabrication of the templates for clinical realization of the plan, all were  discussed to the last details. Such fabricated virtual model significantly improves the quality and efficiency of the surgery, with less time-consumed at the operation theatre and the patient satisfaction with both the recovery of oral function and appearance’.

Dr Raju Sivasamy, Vice President of SIMS Hospital, spoke about SIMS International collaborations that enhanced the overall medical experience of every foreign patient.  He highlighted how the Clinical skills of the surgeons at SIMS are at par with those of the advanced countries and the dental medical tourism in India is on the growth path with treatment facilities being much cheaper as compared to the West.

He also elaborated upon the processes to assist the overseas patient, starting from the first call to the follow up on his return to his homeland, including consultation, documentation, the proposed treatment and the relevant costs, visa formalities to the pickup, admission into hospital, follow up right up to discharge, drop at airport and follow through on the patient returning home. 

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