Twenty-year-old Laxmi of Kumarguda village in Malkangiri district can look forward to leading a normal life.
Grossly deformed due to a giant jaw bone tumour, the girl, hailing from one of the most backward pockets of the State, has undergone complete transformation within a month, thanks to the painstaking microvascular reconstruction surgery done by doctors of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery wing of the Dental College under SCBMCH here.
A rare affliction , jaw bone tumour not only brings about complete deformation in the face but also critically debilitates oral functions, like chewing, eating and speaking.
The girl had a massive tumour growth to the extent of more than 22 cm and was admitted to the department on October 1.
A team of doctors, led by Prof Indubhusan Kar and anaesthesiologist Prof RC Samantray, took more than six hours to complete the reconstruction surgery. A bone from the fibula of the right leg was taken and moulded into shape to fit the lower half of the jaw that was cut away. Laxmi has recovered satisfactorily and was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday.
“Jaw bone tumour is uncommon but such a gigantic growth is rare. The tumour must have grown over the last seven to eight years and the girl and her family have been ignoring it due to poverty as well as lack of knowledge. We will be providing her with dentures in the next three months along with proper training after which she will be able to commence normal oral functions. Her disfigurement gone, she will be able to lead a dignified life”, Prof Kar said.
The case of Laxmi, though, assumes significance for other reasons as it has brought to the fore the plight of poverty-stricken along with the positive changes that the schemes like OSTF have brought in. Laxmi’s father, Mangala Kumar, an impoverished potter by vocation, had been referred to the Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre by the local hospital for her diagnosis and treatment. He had come all the way with only `5,000, which was exhausted in diagnostic tests and his stay prior to Laxmi’s admission to O&M Surgery Department.
Here too, the parents and the girl faced problem due to lack of money but some benevolent persons chipped in with contribution and the doctors urged the SCB authorities for making arrangements for medicines and implants for her surgery, which could then be reimbursed from OSTF.
Though OSTF has come as a boon for needy patients, it would be more beneficial if cashless option was included in the scheme, sources said.