Dombivli resident Vilas Panchal (60) was bed-ridden and needed support to walk till six months ago. Today, he can walk without any support thanks to a successful surgery at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, in January.
When Panchal started suffering from neck pain two years ago, he had dismissed it as something casual but the pain became unbearable and he lost sensation of his back in December 2009. By January, he was confined to the bed.
A team of neurosurgeons led by Dr Deepu Banerji diagnosed it as an acute case of cervical spondylosis, which is caused by chronic wearing away of the cervical spine (in the neck region).
“A MRI scan revealed severe compression of cervical spinal cord at three levels which is not usual. Ligaments in front of the spinal cord had also become bony leading to deformity of spinal alignment,” said Dr Banerji.
The doctors performed the surgery from the front of the neck, below the jaw, instead of from behind. They removed three vertebral bodies to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord.
“We put a titanium cage filled with bone in the cervical spine to stabilise and support it. The cage was fixed with a titanium plate,” said Banerji.
Ten days after the surgery Panchal took his first steps with support. “I had not been to work for months and had become completely dependent on my wife. After getting hospitalised, I told my wife I would commit suicide if I did not start walking in 15 days. But that is history now,” said Panchal, who works as a machine operator.
Cervical spondylosis affects 70 per cent women above the age of 60 years and 85 per cent men in the same age group. Of these, only 35 per cent get treatment and only five per cent need surgery.
“People think that cervical spondylosis can be treated through medicines and thus ignore it. But in severe cases, it needs surgery and most people are averse to it because of fear of risk of paralysis,” said Banerji.
Doctors hope that Panchal’s successful surgery will remove this fear from people’s minds.