Octogenarian back on his feet after surgery

ST CORRESPONDENT
Saturday, 13 April 2019

Dr Kardile said the disease had destroyed the 12th bone in the patient’s thoracic spine and there was pus collection, which was compressing his spinal cord.

PUNE: An 85-year-old man from the city was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) of the spine. In a surgery, which lasted for seven hours in a city-based hospital, his spinal cord was decompressed to replace the damaged vertebra with an artificial titanium mesh cage.

The old businessman was suffering from back pain for quite a while. He took some medicine, which didn’t help. After a few months, his pain worsened and he was not able to walk or move in bed comfortably. Adding to his misery, he lost strength in his legs and lost urine control. 

He had to be catheterised for bladder control. He was admitted to a city-based hospital and was diagnosed with a spine problem.

Later, he was referred to Dr Mayur Kardile, an orthopaedic spine surgeon at Jehangir Hospital, who on reviewing his condition and MRI images, diagnosed him as having TB of the spine.

Dr Kardile said the disease had destroyed the 12th bone in the patient’s thoracic spine and there was pus collection, which was compressing his spinal cord.

“Together, this was the cause of his weakness and back pain. The patient and relatives were counselled about the need for spine surgery. Naturally, the patient and his family were reluctant to undergo this procedure citing reasons of old age and fear of surgery. After a detailed discussion with us and the positive assurance about the outcome of the surgery, they finally agreed,” said Dr Kardile.

He said the surgery lasted for seven hours to decompress the spinal cord and to replace the damaged vertebra with an artificial titanium mesh cage and was supported with the help of pedicle screws.

The patient was shifted to the ICU for medical management and observation under Dr Kayanoosh Kodapatti and her team. Post-operative recovery was smooth and the patient started making quick recovery. He was in the hospital for four days after the surgery and underwent aggressive physiotherapy and rehabilitation exercises.

The rehabilitation was continued from home and he was treated with anti-TB medication. Doctors said gradually, the patient should start regaining his strength in his lower limbs and regain control over his bladder and bowel. This eventually happened and in a span of two months, he was walking with walker support and his catheter was removed.

Dr Kardile said the success of any treatment depends on accurate and timely diagnosis.

“Today, the science of spine surgery has grown in leaps and bounds and with the advent of modern spine surgical approaches and minimally invasive spine surgical techniques, surgeons are now able to deliver a better outcome and predict faster recovery even in older patients,” he said.

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