The Chennai based SIMS (SRM Institutes for Medical Science) Hospital, one of the
leading super speciality quaternary care hospitals in Tamil Nadu, put an end to a thirty-
eight year old Tanzanian patient’s pain and misery of 14 years caused by a more than
1 kg weighing Ameloblastoma in the lower jaw. Lack of early medical intervention and
diagnostic facility in his country, made it difficult for him to chew and eat his food,
which in turn affected his overall quality of life significantly. With a defective and
continuously increasing lump in the jawbone, the Tanzanian patient was referred to
SIMS, Vadapalani, Chennai by his Government for a holistic treatment.
Speaking on the medical condition and the technical procedure followed during the
treatment, Dr. K. Sridhar, Head-Craniofacial, Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery, SIMS,
said, “Our first assessment revealed a huge ball sized tumour that was causing severe
pain, swelling and facial deformity for the Tanzanian patient. With initial screenings
though, we diagnosed the lump to be an Ameloblastoma that required complex
surgical correction, given its unusual size. During the initial virtual observation and
assessment we took into consideration and carefully evaluated the key parameters
including the size of tumor, the length of fibular graft needed, and the shape of graft for
precise calculations and further procedure. For, these are the parameters that would
determine the maximal restoration of his oral function and appearance.
It required a reconstruction of the entire mandible including both sides of the jaw. This
necessitated a 4 piece reconstruction having different angulation and dimension. A
complex virtual planning in computer was required to have a final result for a natural
This required a team approach having reconstructive plastic surgeons, maxillofacial
surgeons, specialists in implantology and a computer engineer, apart from a highly
skilled Aneasthesia team.
“Thus began the whole treatment process of transferring a virtual plan to clinical
operation with a holistic approach to help that Tanzanian patient regain his normal life,
to eat well, become more socially acceptable sans the stigma. The meticulous
preparation with the key advanced 3-Dimensional CT techniques of medical image
processing and printing, planning of tumor resection, and fibular resection for graft
harvesting, graft shaping, and fixation, as well as planning, designing and fabrication
of the templates for clinical realization of the plan, all were discussed to the last
details. Such fabricated virtual model significantly improves the quality and efficiency
of the surgery, with less time-consumed at the operation theatre and the patient
satisfaction with both the recovery of oral function and appearance’.
Dr Raju Sivasamy, Vice President of SIMS Hospital, spoke about SIMS
International collaborations that enhanced the overall medical experience of every
foreign patient. He highlighted how the Clinical skills of the surgeons at SIMS are at
par with those of the advanced countries and the dental medical tourism in India is on
the growth path with treatment facilities being much cheaper as compared to the West.
He also elaborated upon the processes to assist the overseas patient, starting from
the first call to the follow up on his return to his homeland, including consultation,
documentation, the proposed treatment and the relevant costs, visa formalities to the
pickup, admission into hospital, follow up right up to discharge, drop at airport and
follow through on the patient returning home.