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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Rare surgery helps 60-year-old with degenerative spine stand on her feet

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 16, 2013
First Published: 02:04 IST(16/3/2013) | Last Updated: 02:05 IST(16/3/2013)

A spine surgery with minimally-invasive computer guided navigation technique helped a 60-year-old patient with a degenerative spine stand on her feet within a month. The technique has been used for the first time in the country, said doctors.

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Traditionally, spine surgeries are open surgeries where doctors make incisions of about 6-8 centimeters on the back. In a minimally-invasive surgery, a surgeon makes small incisions of about 2cm on the spine without cutting it open and keeps checking the accuracy of the surgery by taking as many as 50 shots of X-rays.

“The X-rays are both harmful to the patient and the surgeon. The new computer-guided navigation technique works like a GPS. The system guides the doctor in making the right surgical moves on the table,” said Dr Vikas Gupte, consultant spine surgeon, Fortis Hospital, Mulund.

In this technique, only three X-ray shots are required to feed the computer with images of the spine.

Dr Gupte said that a surgery without the navigation system could take about four hours. This surgery took just two-and-a-half hours. “I had two surgeries last year, which worsened my condition. With this surgery, I am able to get up and walk around like I used to,” said Sunita Patil, 61, who underwent the surgery on February 21.

“In any minimally-invasive technique, the patient recovery is much faster. The patient can get up and sit up on the bed the next day itself,” said Dr Gupte.

Dr Gupte, however, added that the minimally invasive surgery for spine is more expensive owing to the price of implants (screws) which are smaller and not made in India.

“There are other navigation systems in the market, but the one in Fortis Hospital is exclusively for spine surgeries. These systems reduce the X-ray exposure to the patient and surgeon,” said Dr Vishal Peshettiwar, consulting spine surgeon at Jaslok Hospital and BSES Hospital, Andheri.

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