KARACHI: Radiologists at the Aga Khan University Hospital successfully treated a benign (non-cancerous) bone tumour using a procedure called the radiofrequency ablation (RFA).
This was the first time in Pakistan that radiologists successfully managed to treat a tumour without invasive surgery.
The procedure was performed on Bilal, 24, in May earlier this year, while follow-up tests confirmed that the patient’s symptoms had completely disappeared. Bilal had been diagnosed with osteoid osteoma, a painful bone tumour which mostly affects young people. “As soon as I found out, I researched about it online and also visited several doctors,” he said.
Bilal discovered that the usual mode of treatment for his ailment in Pakistan was open surgery - associated with a high risk of complications and a longer recovery period. In developed countries, however, the method of choice was RFA - a safer, quicker and minimally-invasive procedure which produced better results compared to the surgery.
At the time, however, no hospital in the country offered the RFA procedure for benign tumours. After extensive research, Bilal approached a radiologist at the AKUH, Dr Basit Salam, who agreed to conduct the procedure.
“The procedure was successful and the patient was discharged the same day,” said Dr Salam. Sharing his experience, Bilal said, “I am relieved that I can now move with ease. The pain was unbearable and affecting my quality of life. I had to take medicine along with me wherever I used to go. It was a constant pressure on my mind.”
The RFA facility is available at the AKUH since May 2013 and has replaced surgical procedures in many cases. A similar type of technique is also available for tumours found in the liver, kidney and lungs.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2013.
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