The surgery was conducted as Aster Hospital, Mankhool Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A one-and-a-half year-old girl, who underwent a life changing foot correction procedure as soon as she was born and for several months thereafter, is able to walk normally thanks to the surgeons of Aster Hospital Mankhool.

The girl, who was born on July 15, 2019, had a congenital abnormality called ‘Club foot’ from birth. In fact, doctors had detected the anomaly before birth during an ultrasound and counselled the parents regarding the surgery. The newborn underwent the correctional surgery in September when she was two months old and had to undergo splinting of the site and special shoes for one-and-a half years until her left foot and ankle grew normally.

Elaborating on the case, Dr Alexis Jude Dominic Xavier, specialist orthopaedic surgeon at the hospital, who performed the procedure said, “The child suffered from Congenital Talioes Equuino Varus (CTEV) commonly known as club foot. This is a congenital foot deformity in newborn babies. The deformity develops in the uterus at about the third month of pregnancy during which the foot starts to turn inward. It can affect both legs but in this case the deformity was only in the left leg of the baby.”

Dr Xavier explained that in this case, the baby was born with the left foot smaller, turned inward and downward with the heel pointing outwards with tight structures affecting the muscles and tendons around the ankle and foot. “Without treatment, it would have impacted the child when she started walking, causing excruciating pain, limping and difficulty in walking. Our main objective was to correct this deformity right after birth so that she would have no complications with her foot while growing up. The procedure we have used is called the ‘Ponseti Method’ named after its pioneer, Dr Ignacio V Ponseti and involves an in-depth knowledge of the functional anatomy of the foot and responses of muscles, ligaments and bones. Using this method, we were able to perform the corrective surgery,” he explained.

The treatment continued and for over a year. After use of five corrective casts, from toes to thigh, applied once a week, the foot and ankle was assessed thoroughly again. A Tendo Achilles Tenotomy (cutting open a tendon at the back of the heel) was performed to achieve a full correction of the foot. The foot was then plastered for three weeks and then a custom-made splint was prescribed for the child. By the time the child was about nine months old, she began to walk and was given special shoes to prevent the recurrence of the deformity. By the time the child is ready to attend preschool, she will have a perfectly functioning leg, requiring no further treatments other than regular follow-ups.

Dr Sherbaz Bichu, CEO, Aster Hospitals and Clinics, UAE, said:“The parents were kept informed and intimated about the leg deformity of their child at every stage of the pregnancy. Doctors have worked together to ensure that the baby received the corrective procedure right after her birth. The parents have shown immense trust in our doctors and our doctors have been able to perform the correction up to their expectations. The child has begun walking without any complications and that in itself is the reward of our efforts.”