Rajendra Panchal was just one-years-old when he fell on his face while walking, misplacing his jaw and wedging his mouth shut.
His parents couldn’t afford to fix it and over time his jaw fused in place, leaving him unable to open his mouth more than 1.5cm.
For decades he existed on a liquid diet and was taunted for his deformity until December, when he visited the dentist unable to bear the pain from severe toothache.
Surgeon Dr. J B Garde diagnosed him with ankyloses of the temporormandibular joint and released the fused bones, meaning he can now open his mouth 4.5cm wide.
The surgery, carried out for free on December 21, has left Rajendra, from Pune, Maharashtra, India, able to eat and talk properly for the first time in his life.
He: ‘I am now able to eat and talk like any normal person.’
‘Our financial condition was such that we could not afford medical treatment
‘Also, I had to drop out of school after fourth grade due to our poor socio-economic status.’
The man and his medical team after the operation
‘Normally in such cases it is diagnosed and treated without much delay. ‘But, here, the patient has persisted with the condition for 38 years, making it even more extremely rare.
‘The procedure to release the fused skull bone is a complex one and post-operative physiotherapy sessions play a vital role for such patients.
‘There are also high chances of re-ankylosis in patients if they skip the physiotherapy sessions.
‘The surgery lasted more than four hours, during which his fused skull bone was released and we achieved a satisfactory opening in the mouth of 45 millimetres’.
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