Surgeon gives Lankan girl new lease of life

2016_3$largeimg15_Tuesday_2016_010454484A rare case of scoliosis (curved spine) was surgically corrected in a 10-hour marathon surgery by a city-based neuro surgeon, Dr Damandeep Singh Makkar, at Arora Neuro Centre Punjab. Dr Makkar claimed the procedure was performed for the first time in the city and where use of a neuro-monitor was concerned, it was the first such surgery in Punjab.

According to Dr Makkar, Kanchana Herath, 14-year-old daughter of Dr Jagath Herath, an orthopaedic surgeon from Candy, Sri Lanka, had been suffering from an abnormal bending and rotating of the spine since the age of four years. “Scoliosis affects about 2-3 per cent of children but only a few of them need surgery. The typical symptoms of scoliosis are abnormal curvature of the spine, unequal shoulders, head not centered directly above the pelvis, appearance of a raised prominent hip, uneven waist, leaning of the entire body to one side and rib prominence on one side.”

He said the condition, if left untreated, can result in unsightly back deformity which is not accepted well in society. While mild cases of scoliosis may not affect daily living, severe cases can cause breathlessness and decreased lung function, which limits normal activity apart from the cosmetic deformity. A timely corrective surgery can be life-changing for a patient.

Kanchana had a thoraco-lumbar scoliosis curve of 60 degrees with multiple congenital vertebra anomalies. These cases are very unique because a spinal curve correction needs high surgical expertise, said Dr Makkar.

“We used neuro-monitoring of the spinal cord function while correcting the spine and used total intravenous anaesthesia which made the case challenging. With the use of neuro-monitoring, the risk of causing any neurological damage to the patient is practically zero, he added.

The recovery of the patient, Dr Makkar said, was remarkable and after the successful surgery, Kanchana was walking on the third day. She is now ready to go back home and would soon be able to do her daily activities all by herself. In other words, she would be able to lead a normal life and would need to visit hospital every six months, till she is 18 years of age for follow-up.

Dr Makkar, having received training from Cincinnati Children Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, to treat such conditions, has published and presented such cases at the prestigious Scoliosis Research Society. He claimed to have successfully performed more than 15 such surgeries. (


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