Chandigarh: Successful spinal implant at PGI gives new lease of life to patient

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jan 12, 2015 14:40 IST

Ravi Ranjan, a 39-year-ICICI bank employee, who was confined to wheelchair because of severe pain in both lower limbs for the past eight years, has got a new lease of life — thanks to doctors at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh. The institute recently performed successful spinal-cord stimulation (SCS) implant on him, making it the first such procedure performed in the region.

According to the PGIMER, Ravi was crushed between two cars while crossing the road, and underwent the replacement of both hips in 2006.

After surgery, till around nine months, Ravi was doing reasonably well and was walking, but following that he stared having severe pain in both legs and hips.

Doctors at PGIMER say he started having severe pain that could not even be controlled with any sort of medicine, physiotherapy or injections. This pain was so severe that he was not able to sleep and thus, he was confined to the wheelchair only.

His leg-muscles started twitching even on the slightest movements, and he would drag himself using a walker for doing basic daily activities.

He remained under treatment of Dr Babita Ghai, additional professor, the department of anaesthesia, at the Pain Clinic of the PGIMER, for around past two years.

After trying all possible treatment modalities available, a spinal-cord stimulation (SCS) trial was performed by Babita Ghai in October 2014 on him, which showed successful results and provided nearly 70-80% of relief from pain. Last week, with the help of neurosurgeon Dr Rajesh Chabbra at the PGIMER, his permanent spinal-cord stimulator surgery was done successfully.

This is the first SCS implant placement in this region. After this procedure, Ravi is doing extremely well and is completely relieved from the pain.

The medications for pain, which he was taking for years, have been stopped now. Now he has even started moving his both ankles and knees, and doctors hope he would able to walk once again.

Till now, in paralysed patients, the SCS has only been performed on four patients by doctors of University of Louisville’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Centre, United States.

Spinal-cord stimulation

Spinal cord stimulation delivers mild electrical impulses near the spinal cord that interrupt pain signals to the brain, replacing them with a tingling sensation. In permanent implantation, the leads are placed in targeted site of epidural space near spinal cord surgically, and pulse generator device is placed in buttock or abdominal, wall just below the skin. The stimulation to the spinal cord is delivered using a handheld device that works like a remote control. Stimulation can be adjusted to specific areas and levels of pain, depending on activities and pain levels during the day.

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