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Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Performed on 82 Year Old Patient Suffering from Ankylosing Spondylitis

For the first time in India, a team of doctors at a city hospital here have successfully performed minimal access spine surgery on a 82-year-old Ankylosing Spondylitis patient.

The surgery was carried out by doctors at the one of the leading Hospitals in  India, is one of the fastest growing chains of tertiary care, multi-super specialty and multi-organ transplant hospitals in India.

Achieving a rare feat in spinal surgery, the team performed the operation by implanting 14 screws in the spinal cord.

Ankylosing Spondylitis, commonly known as Bamboo Spine is a form of rheumatic arthritis which is associated with long-term inflammation of the joints in the spine.

Symptoms include pain and stiffness from the neck down to the lower back. The spine’s bones (vertebrae) may grow or fuse together, resulting in a rigid spine. At times these changes might be severe, and may lead to a stooped-over posture.

The 82 year old patient having Ankylosing Spondylitis had a fall in November 2014. Post the fall he was constantly complaining of excruciating back pain. In February 2015, he became totally bed ridden and was paralysed in the legs.

He came to the Hospitals in first week of March and upon investigations, the team found that he had developed 3 Andersson Leisons (AL), which is a known complication in patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

After carefully examining his case and meticulously weighing all the options, the team led by Consultant – Endoscopic & Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeon at the Hospitals, carried out the complex surgery in second week of March.

The surgery was all the more challenging as the patient had other complications as well. He had fluid in both his lungs commonly known as pleural effusion. He was also found to have very low protein levels which could have resulted in further complications.

Doctors said there was no chance of performing a traditional “open surgery” as the area being operated upon had to be opened with a long incision to allow the surgeon to view and access the anatomy. This would have led to loss of blood and the chance of patient not surviving post the surgery would have been very high.

The team then decided to conduct a minimally invasive spine surgery as it does not involve a long incision. It also avoids significant damage to the muscles surrounding the spine and results in less pain after surgery and a faster recovery.

Doctors revealed, “It was gratifying to see him go home walking as he had come to us on a stretcher and was on bed a month prior to that. He has recovered well and now has started performing all his daily chores by himself. It was a huge risk as there is always a danger of life involved in the surgery, and spine is extremely sensitive area.”

“What boosted our confidence was the fact that we had performed a similar surgery successfully on a liver failure patient who had TB of the spine,” added the team.

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