Manav (name changed), 14, was born with scoliosis, a deformity in spine where his backbone was bent towards the right with an angular curvature of 65 degrees. It was impossible for him to walk straight; he also faced breathing trouble as his right lung was compressed under the pressure of his crooked backbone.
The deformity was detected when he was 9 years old and he was prescribed physiotherapy and bracing. As he grew, the deformity attained a severe form requiring a surgery. Manav was admitted to the Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Traumaand Orthopaedic (SGITO) and that changed things for the better. All thanks to a procedure that used advanced 3-dimensional printing technology, rarely used in private multi-specialties.
The immediate aim was to prevent further progression of Manav's deformity and correct the curve to as much normal as possible. "Surgery for scoliosis is tricky as it requires screws to be placed through the spinal cord to straighten it. Incorrect placement of screws can be devastating," Dr Venugopal S, neuro-surgeon at SGITO, said.
"Recognition of complex anatomical structures is difficult to attain from simple 2-D radio-graphic views. The 3-D models of patients' anatomy allow doctors to get familiarize with it without even touching them. Getting to know the patient's body before entering the operation theatre allows planning the exact approach, predicting bottlenecks and even testing procedures before-hand," he added.
Post the six-hour-long surgery, Manav is completely fit.
Dr B G Tilak, director at SGITO, said: "Implementing new technologies in healthcare should become more common in government hospitals. More doctors should take up new techniques. Patients reaching government hospitals should not miss innovative ways of treatment."
Placing the screw at the right places on the spinal cord during the surgery was a challenge. A 3-D printed patient-specific guide customized with 3-D printers was used to help doctors. "In complex surgical procedures of severe deformities, it is difficult to find the entry point for the screws to straighten the cord and prevent further bent. The 3-D printing technology is accurate, and time and cost effective," Dr Venugopal said.
While implementation of 3-D printing technology is mostly seen in oral, facio-maxillary and plastic surgeries, treating a spine disorder using the same and that too, in a government hospital was challenging.
Source : TOI , 10th Jan 2017