Gymnast’s dislocated cervical vertebra fixed by city doctors

ST Correspondent
Sunday, 20 May 2018

The doctor highlighted a similar case of a 20-year-old wrestler from Kolhapur, who succumbed to a similar injury as it was not treated in time.

Pune: City-based doctors cured a neck injury of a 22-year-old gymnast, who was injured after he fell on his neck during a routine practice session recently. 

As per doctors, the patient had dislocated his 4th cervical vertebra, which had gone unnoticed until the patient started complaining of neck stiffness and pain. Dr Pradyumna Pai Raiturkar, Spine Surgeon at Saishree Hospital, who treated the gymnast, said that the x-rays of the neck region helped diagnose his condition. “Fractures or dislocations around this region of spine are either fatal or can cause partial to complete paralysis of all limbs. Luckily, the patient did not suffer any injury to the spinal cord in such condition,” added Raiturkar.

Speaking on the surgery technique, Raiturkar said that Crutchfield tongs, which consist of two pins, were used to relocate the vertebra. “The pins of the tongs were inserted in the skull bone of the gymanst. The pins are attached to a pulley, and with gradual traction, the vertebra is relocated. The process requires timely monitoring and hence, portable x-rays were used in the process at every 30 minutes, which helped us gradually in the relocation,” added Raiturkar.

The doctor highlighted a similar case of a 20-year-old wrestler from Kolhapur, who succumbed to a similar injury as it was not treated in time. “The wrestler had landed on his neck during a knock-out and had damaged his neck and spinal cord,” added Raiturkar.

Dr Ketan Deshpande, Spine Surgeon, Sai Shree Hospital, said high index of suspicion is necessary in diagnosing such cases. “Lack of knowledge may prompt the patient to opt for a neck massage or manipulation, which could be devastating in such hidden injuries,” said Deshpande. 

Dr Neeraj Adkar, Director and Joint Replacement Surgeon, Saishree Hospital, said that the gymnast was later taken for open surgery, where the dislocated vertebrae were fused together using bone graft, plates and screws. “Prompt diagnosis and treatment helped the patient in successful treatment. The patient was mobilised on the next day and was also discharged immediately,” said Adkar.

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