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Rizzoli Institute: a prosthetic surgery intervention for Delila, a young patient from Sarajevo

28 Maggio 2013
Munumental entry IOR

Monumental entry at the Rizzoli Orthopaedic InstituteShe was ten: a diagnosis of malignant right knee bone tumor, a journey to Bologna from Sarajevo (just come out of a civil war) and the intervention at the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute. It is 1999, Delila heals, but today, after over thirteen years, she needs to substitute some worn out prosthetic components.

With the support of the association Cosmohelp Onlus and of Striker Italia, the intervention is performed at the Rizzoli Institute within the assistential program of the Emilia-Romagna Region, guaranteeing continuative assistance to foreign patients operated in the pediatric age.  

Suffering from an osteosarcoma of the right knee, with suspected metastatic nodules in the lung, Delila was visited for the first time by Italian troopers from a peace mission. At her arrival in Italy, after diagnostic exams, visits and the first chemotherapy cycles, she was operated at the Rizzoli institute by a multi-disciplinary team led by dr. Marco Manfrini, orthopedic surgeon at the 3rd Orthopaedic and Traumatologic-Prevalently Oncologic Clinic, currently directed by Prof. Sandro Giannini.

The osteosarcoma was removed with an intervention at the lower right limb, and the diseased part of the femur was substituted by a special prosthesis. “Delila healed, since 1999 she responded well to the chemotherapeutic treatments and the outcome of the surgical intervention was positive. Thanks to the Emilia-Romagna Region, the volunteering world and to our Office for Financial Performances, which is following all the economic-bureaucratic aspects of the case, at the Rizzoli Institute the patient was accompanied throughout the whole course of the cure. Along the years, Delila returned several times to the Rizzoli Institute, for outpatient visits and therapies. This year, a second surgical intervention was needed to substitute a part of the prosthesis inserted thirteen years ago, and by now worn out and unstable”, explains dr. Marco Manfrini, head of the Specialist Referral Center of Innovative Surgical Therapies for bone tumors of the pediatric age.  “The operation, performed at the beginning of May, also allowed us to intervene on the kneecap, where the damaged cartilage hurt. Thanks to this intervention, perfectly successful, the limb will have greater mobility and the pain should be significantly reduced”.

A complex and articulated network links the subjects who are active in the support program for children and adolescents coming from countries where the access to services for the treatment of severe rare pathologies is difficult, or where structures and specialized medical personnel are lacking.

Since 2004, the support for Delila’s travel and lodging expenses during her cure cycles, and for the obtainment of permits, the management of the relationships with the embassies and the fulfillment of the necessary administrative procedures was provided by the association Cosmohelp Onlus of Faenza (Ravenna, Italy), which follows about 30 new cases every year, in addition to all the returns, with the collaboration of the Institute’s Office for Financial Performances. 70% of the expenses for the cures and hospitalization, on the other hand, are covered by the Emilia-Romagna Region within the assistential program for foreign citizens, while the Rizzoli Institute is in charge of the remaining 30%.

Delila’s intervention has also been supported by the company Stryker Italia Srl, which donated the prosthetic material necessary for the surgical operation and also contributed to the travel expenses.

It is important to follow the oncologic patients throughout their lives, especially when cured in the pediatric age. It is our responsibility to guarantee a continuative assistance to the patient, who will inevitably need maintenance interventions for the implants utilized in the skeleton reconstruction”, underlines dr. Manfrini. “This concern is shared by the associations we are in constant contact with, and is also expressed in terms of funds assigned by the assistential program of the Emilia-Romagna Region. The funding is presently guaranteed also for the treatment of adult foreign subjects cured as children inside our health structures, allowing a quality assistential continuity and attention towards the patients, independently from their country of residence”.

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