A new technique, called 'Distraction, Compression, Extension and Reduction' (DCER), has been developed by doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences that can help reduce problems in complex spine surgeries.
Conceptualised by P. Sarat Chandra of the department of neurosurgery, the technique will help reduce the deformity through a single surgery performed from the back of the neck involving the craniovertebral junction -- the joint at the upper part of the neck.
"The surgery normally requires two separate procedures. It first involves drilling out the piece of bone compressing the spinal cord, followed by a procedure performed from behind the nape of neck which helps stabilize the head and neck using rod and screws," Chandra explained.
The disease results from the uppermost portion of the neck slipping from its articulation with the base, causing compression of the spinal cord.
If untreated, patients can develop weakness of all limbs, become bed-ridden and also succumb to the disease.
"This procedure reduces the time of surgery by 50 percent, and has also been shown to reduce the rate of complications and hospital stay significantly," Chandra said.
B.S. Sharma, from the department of neurosurgery who was part of the study, shared that the technique currently does not require any special instruments and utilises the existing ones.
"The technique will be of immense use as it does not require any additional costs, reduces hospital stay and also the complication rate. It will thus benefit the patients and the hospital in the long run," Chandra said.