Sheetal Kotecha (33) was living with severe backache for the last six years. Till she underwent an operation on Saturday.
The technique used in the operation — spine fusion using bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) — is the first such surgery in city. Earlier, two similar surgeries were completed in Delhi and South India.
A resident of UK, Kotecha suffered injuries a due to a fall years ago, following which her normal body movements like standing straight or bending were severely hampered.
She came to the city for the surgery, because she wanted to be treated by Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon Dr Vinod Agrawal of Lilavati Hospital.
“I spoke to him before I decided to make the trip,” said Kotecha. “As a doctor, he inspired confidence in me and I wanted to be treated by him.”
In medical terms, Kotecha suffered from Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), where the discs in the spine are damaged.
In Kotecha’s case one of the discs was badly damaged and a spinal fusion surgery was recommended. In this surgery, bone grafts or bone graft substitutes are used to replace the disc between the bony vertebrae.
In a conventional spinal surgery or autograft, a piece of bone is transplanted from the patient’s body and placed between two vertebrae bones to eliminate the pain caused by the damaged disc.
As a result, two surgeries have to be performed, one to cut the bone from the hips and other to place them in the back. Usually, a bone graft is taken from the pelvic bone of the patient.
However, in this new technique, bone graft substitutes or BMP are used. The new tissue-engineered BMP have drastically curtailed the healing time as well as post-surgery complications.
“The installing of BMP eliminates the need to harvest natural bone, thus avoiding additional surgery and associated costs,” said Dr Agrawal.
While autograft takes around 6 weeks to heal, with BMP, patients are back on their feet about three days after surgery.
He added that in the autograft procedure, the bone graft harvest site is much more painful than the actual surgery site itself, said Agrawal.
However, he added that it costs about Rs 50,000 more.