Little did Dr. Narender Kumar Samria know that the sickness troubling him is a rare form of disease. The septuagenarian is a reputed professor and HOD at the Banaras Hindu University is an exceptional active man. Even at this age he has a packed schedule and academic routine that covers most of his time. However a few days back he started to experience persistent nausea. The worst was when he realised that a pus like material was flowing out of his left ear. He had severe weakness and pain in his neck.
Troubled and anxious about his health condition, he consulted few of the reputed ENT doctors. They administered injections in his back and assured him that the oozing pus would subside and he would get relief from the persistent back pain. However he started to experience facial paralysis.
“I couldn’t understand what it was. I could speak properly, neither could I speak nor eat properly. Immediately I correlated that it might be incorrect diagnosis and treatment that I may be following. On consultation with Dr Paul, a dear friend and a senior doctor at the Banaras Hindu University, he recommended that I consult a super specialist in New Delhi. I decided to consult Dr Sahu at Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon. My situation was desperate. Just imagine a man without a smile or a frown,” shares Dr Narender.
Dr Sahu, renowned ENT and Skull Base Surgeon who specializes in all basic ENT surgeries and advanced complex endoscopic skull base surgeries, diagnosed the case as a rare disorder – Skull-base osteomyelitis.
According to Dr Sahu, “Skull-base osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone or bone marrow, typically caused by bacteria or sometimes fungus. These bacteria are responsible for causing damage in the region around the ear and skull base. Skull-base osteomyelitis can be secondary to severe otitis externa (swimmers ear, also associated with exostosis), meaning that the infection begins in the lining of the ear canal and then progresses to the petrous apex. Fractures and trauma can also be a gateway for infectious bacteria to enter the bone or bone marrow. The symptoms that Dr Narender was experiencing are typical to this infection – pain, typically around the ear or eye, conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss secondary to inflammatory invasion of the cochleovestibular nerve, and a draining ear. The most important symptom is the facial paralysis due to inflammation around and compression of the facial nerve which runs through the temporal bone of the petrous apex.”
He adds, “This is an extremely rare type of disease. Patients must seek medical treatment for any change in hearing or balance regardless of whether or not skull-base osteomyelitis is suspected to be the source of the hearing loss. Evaluation for beneficial drug treatment or surgery cannot be established without a comprehensive medical examination and associated testing. Avoiding medical evaluation for skull-base osteomyelitis or any other hearing or balance impairment related condition is not recommended, and can lead to permanent hearing loss, balance disturbance, or even death.”
Post rigorous medical management and monitoring through the latest radiology today Dr Narender is feeling better. He has no neck or back pain, no ear draining is noticed and above all his facial paralysis has improved remarkably. “ As Indians we tend to neglect our health and not give importance to specialised treatment and specialist advice. Had I consulted them earlier, my situation would not have become complicated. The road to recovery is long, however if you have an experienced and dependable driver like Dr Sahu, the journey becomes easy and memorable, “ shares Dr Narender.