Dr Attia from Emirates Hospital brings back smiles
Seeking the help and exceptional skills of Dr Mohamed Attia, who currently operates out of Emirates Hospital, a 16-year-old female patient named Alia (name changed for confidentiality reasons) sought with angulation (twisting) of the knees in both legs sought treatment. The rare condition, called a bilateral valgus deformity, was causing intense pain and distress for the young patient. Fortunately, Dr Attia brought his expert training, knowledge, and experience to life-changing effect.
Angulation in the patient’s legs prevented her from living a pain-free life. Her inability to walk normally was caused by a disturbed gait, and the strong pain prevented her from carrying out many routine tasks and activities. The teenager was in desperate need of help to correct the deformity when she sought the assistance of Dr Attia and his orthopaedic team.
As a fully-trained orthopaedic surgeon with over twelve years of experience and master’s and PhD degrees from Cairo University School of Medicine, Dr Attia was the perfect doctor to provide a solution for this patient-in-need.
The patient’s condition required specialist surgery, known as a Femoral osteotomy with application of a circular external fixator called a Taylor Spatial Frame to straighten her legs and correct the debilitating defect. The frame is designed to gradually correct the deformity and its application requires full expert training, which Dr Attia carried out at Hull Royal Hospital in the UK and Speising Hospital in Vienna, Austria.
Due to the occurrence of the deformity in both legs, the surgical procedure took four hours to complete. Using the Taylor Spatial Frame, Dr Attia and his team were then able to proceed with the meticulous method of correcting the deformity at a rate of 1°, or 1 millimetre, per day for thirty days. Because it was necessary to break the bones during the process, the patient had to wait three months for those bones to heal, in order to effectively fix the defect. The patient received follow-up treatment once a week in the initial months after the surgery, and once every two weeks while waiting for the bones to heal.
Orthopaedic care of this kind, as provided by Dr Attia and his team, is rare in the United Arab Emirates. “I know of only a few surgeons in UAE capable of performing this type of treatment. During my seven years in Dubai, I have attended many workshops and conferences and I have never seen any other specialists from this particular orthopaedic field in attendance,” Dr Attia commented.
Consequently, the specialist surgeon brings a rare and invaluable orthopaedic skillset to his role in Emirates Hospital. In the last seven years, Dr Attia has treated almost forty-five patients with similar rare joint deformities. “When you treat someone suffering from this kind of joint deformity, you must be aware of not only the physical toll it takes on the patient, but also the emotional and psychological effect it is bound to have. For a person of any age, let alone a girl as young as 16 years of age, living with such a painful leg condition is a huge challenge,” Dr Attia said.
Dr Attia points out the price can vary depending on the procedure, medical insurance can often cover the procedure necessary to apply the frame. If the deformity is non-congenital and has been observed to be idiopathic, most medical insurance policies will cover the patient 100%. In other words, if the patient is not born with the deformity and it develops as he/she grows, medical insurance will cover the treatment.
It is also worth noting that certain types of deformities can be corrected without the frame. “Less severe cases can be fixed acutely in a short space of time, without the need for the frame. The surgery itself is not expensive,” Dr Attia remarked. Unfortunately, as the condition is observed while a person is growing, there are currently no precautions that can be taken during pregnancy to reduce the risk of such a condition.
When referring to his 16-year-old patient’s recovery, Emirates Hospital’s specialist orthopaedic surgeon proudly declared, “Everything is fine. She can now walk normally with a full range of motion.” It is this type of result that originally motivated Dr Attia to specialise in such unique orthopaedic procedures and treatments. He has always been determined to accept and overcome the challenges of extremely difficult and complicated cases. The complex training necessary to handle such cases encouraged the doctor, whose family inspired him to study medicine, even more. Usually, with these types of cases, many doctors wouldn’t have the required knowledge to treat these patients. “For me, the prospect of developing a unique set of orthopaedic skills was an exciting challenge,” Dr Attia stated.
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