A neurosurgeon here claims to have developed a device to facilitate keyhole surgery for cervical spondylitis and disk prolapse, in what is being regarded as a breakthrough in spinal treatment.
Ravi Dev, a young associate professor in the department of neurosurgery at King George's Medical University (KGMU), has developed a unique vertebral drill that he says will save patients from the complicated and painful procedures practised so far.
The central commerce ministry has awarded a patent for the instrument, which facilitates a small hole near the neck to correct a prolapsed disk or provide relief to a patient of acute spondylitis.
"In both spondylitis and prolapsed disk, it is the compression of the disk that leads to pressure on nerves or the spinal cord and hence causes pain to the patient. This new technique will help to clear that compression without wide incisions or deep invasion."
The procedure is a major step forward from the Cloward technique developed by German scientist R.B. Cloward in 1957.
"The world over, the same technique has been in use," said Dev. "That is a very cumbersome procedure involving a wide incision of at least 8-10 cm. But the new technique requires only a small, two to three centimetre incision and is also much less invasive as the drilling of a tunnel along the disk is done with greater precision under the eye of a microscope," he points out.
"Earlier, the drilling was followed by the hammering of nails into the vertebra and that too with the naked eye, thereby leaving scope for inaccurate and often extra removal of the osteophyte growth along the disk," he said.
"Under the new microscope monitored surgery, the task is far more precise and close to perfection," he added.
"A cap fitted at the far end of the drill prevents drilling beyond the required measure and therefore minimises the chances of any complications often associated with the conventional Cloward technique," Dev said.