The Indian Spinal Injuries Centre (ISIC), New Delhi has set up a spine deformity clinic expecting to bring hope to thousands of patients suffering from acute spine deformities. The new clinic will be under the purview of Dr HS Chhabra, Chief of Spine Services & Medical Director, ISIC.
The deformity clinic is expected to cater to patients with kyphosis, scoliosis and spondylolisthesis. The clinic will be giving comprehensive management as well as the most complex and advanced surgeries of international standards , for these issues.
This welcome news coincides with the 'International Conference on Spinal Deformities' that the ISIC organised recently.
"There is a need to have heightened awareness about spine deformities. When detected early, these can be managed and complicated surgeries be avoided. Through the clinic and international conference we want to spread the above message and address this serious health problem exclusively," Dr Chhabra was quoted.
Other than the obvious cosmetic problems, spinal deformities can result in serious problems like paralysis, heart and lung problems, if not managed. Currently there are only a handful of facilities and surgeons who focus on this difficult problem.
Scoliosis (side-to-side curve of the spine), kyphosis (exaggerated front to back curves) and spondylolisthesis (slippage of one vertebra over the other) account for different kinds of spinal deformities. The severity of the deformities is assessed by measuring the angle of the curve.
Early findings of abnormal spinal curves (scoliosis, kyphosis and spondylolisthesis) by screening programmes is needed to begin brace and exercise treatment, and avoid complications and surgery.
"Slight curves, which are less than 20 degrees, usually require no treatment, but must be watched carefully for worsening during growth. If the curve shows significant worsening or is already greater than 30 degrees, and the child is still growing, the doctor will probably recommend a bracing and muscle strengthening exercise programme," says Dr Chhabra.
Surgery includes a correction of the deformity and a solid fusion (solidification) of the curved part of the spine. "Such surgeries are the most challenging of all spine surgeries. Surgical management in children is all the more challenging because of the difficulty in putting the necessary implants and the delicate size of the vertebrae", Dr Chhabra added.