How a spinal surgery enabled a boy to start attending school again

ST Staff
Friday, 12 June 2020

The condition that Akash (name changed) was suffering from did not allow him to walk properly. Due to which, the teenager was unable to face his friends at school.

Akash Pawar (name changed), a 14-year-old son of a farmer, who hailed from Shirur Taluka in Maharashtra, was battling with a severe curve in the spine and was unable to walk. However, doctors at Sancheti Hospital in Pune have treated him for the rare spinal deformity. As a result, Akash now can attend his school regularly.

Akash, who was suffering from a rare spinal condition called kyphoscoliosis, went through a four-hour-long surgery on March 11 this year. This helped him in fixing his severe abnormal posterior and lateral curvature of the spine.

The hunchback had affected Akash's quality of life. He was dependent on his family to do day-to-day tasks. He had an excessive outward curve of the spine, which resulted in an abnormal rounding of the upper back.

Dr Ajay Kothari, Consultant Spine Surgeon and Spine Unit Head at Sancheti Hospital, said, "He had a deformity of around 90 degrees in his upper back. We performed the spinal deformity correction surgery on him. He had this defect since birth. But largely it had developed a lot in the last two years. Post-surgery, he can walk straight now."

Experts mention that lack of screening facilities to catch the disease early is still a challenge in India. "This kind of deformity could have been prevented in Akash's case, had he been screened early in his childhood. In most of the cases, it is detected at a much later stage, when the curvature of the spine is visible and severe. It should, therefore, be incorporated in a school-level screening program," added Kothari.

"Kyphoscoliosis is a rare spinal deformity. The patient suffering from this does not easily come forward for the treatment as there is taboo around this condition. They think that it is a curse of God. They usually come at a later stage because of the stigma attached to it. We need to spread awareness. Advanced medical procedures are treating these patients to live a normal life," Kothari added.

Meanwhile, jubilant Akash said, "My friends used to tease me because of my hunchback. Walking had become difficult for me. I had stopped going to school in the last six months. But now I am doing all my activities on my own. I can stand straight. Once the school reopens, I will start attending my school also."

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