Before the operation, Quang had to use a cane to swing his body forward to move around. — Photos courtesy of the 108 Military Hospital
HÀ NỘI — Lê Đăng Quang (not his real name) from the northern mountainous province of Lạng Sơn was unable to walk normally since he was four years old because his legs bent outwards.
Thanks to a hip surgery performed by doctors of Hà Nội’s 108 Military Hospital this month, the 20-year-old man now can walk for the first time after 16 years using sticks.
Quang suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic condition in which the spine and other areas of the body become inflamed, causing severe leg deformation.
He found his knees were unable to bend when he was four years old and underwent an operation. However, he found it more difficult to move after the surgery and could no longer ride a bike.
At the age of 15, Quang had another surgery on his right knee joint.
“My legs were unable to move. The pain was more intense when I was in grade nine (15 years old) and I still felt pain after the surgery,” he told VietnamPlus.
“The more pain I felt, the more time I spent lying in bed. I only sat in one place without being able to move around. I was very sad because I could not help my parents with anything.”
Quang needed his parent's help with everyday things like personal hygiene and even had to drop out of school.
A year and a half after the operation, he started to practise walking using sticks but life was still challenging for the young man.
Quang and his parents this month travelled to Hà Nội to have his hip joints replaced, hoping for a miracle.
The 108 Military Hospital had performed a number of hip joint replacement surgeries but doctors said Quang’s case was rare.
“The hospital has treated a lot of ankylosing spondylitis cases but this was the first case of severe deformation. Both legs were bent outwards, one bent 90 degrees and another 80 degrees. Patients normally can still walk or move using sticks but Quang had to use a cane to swing his body forward,” said Dr Nguyễn Quốc Dũng, deputy head of Hip Joint Surgery Department of the 108 Military Hospital.
The doctors decided to make a cut from the front and outside to observe the entire bone and ensure an accurate bone cut, joint fitting and control the soft tissue in the front and outer of the hip joints, said Dr Dũng.
The patient's hip joints had been attached to the spine for a long time while the soft tissue had shrunk. When replacing the joints, doctors had to ensure the replaced hips fitted the body, he said.
Because this was a rare and tough case, doctors had to make careful preparations.
Quang’s legs were open wide so he did not fit in the CT bed. Doctors had to assess his bone structure deformation based on separate X-ray images.
The patient could not lie on his side so the doctors customised the surgery bed to stabilise him in an inclined position. Before the surgery, doctors tried lying on the bed to see how everything would work.
Quang is now able to bend his knees and hip joints forwards. His ankle, knee and hip joints show no signs of nerve damage.
Two days after the surgery, he could stand up and nearly two weeks after that, he started to walk his first steps.
Quang is able to bend his knees and hip joints forwards after the operation.
He continues to be assisted with practising at the hospital.
“I have never been able to walk by myself. Now I can walk on my own feet. I'm very happy. I hope I can walk like a normal person to be able to help my parents,” Quang said. — VNS